Working Hard to be Crappier at Writing

Today I am working on being a crappier writer. At this very moment, I am following the command of that pop culture shoe empire and by God, I am Just Doing It.

Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird, says, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” *

Months ago, I made a commitment to write every day. Have I lived up to this? No. And that is ok. There is room for failure here.

Mess and failure fuel the cauldron of creativity and motivation.

Creativity without motivation, motivation without creativity…one without the other doesn’t make much.

So today, I feel motivated to be crappy.

How delightful! How freeing! I am dancing in the sweet, pungent dung of ordinariness!

I have many sparks that fly into my awareness, ideas of every color and timber, titillating, yet vanishing as quickly as they appear, fireworks pummeling a blackened sky. The question I am asking myself right now is, what are the conditions that encourage these sparks to ignite, to burst and sustain into glorious flame? Better yet, I’ll take a mundane flame. A boring flame. An ordinary, everyday, doorknob skim milk pillowcase old shoe wall paint kind of flame. Doesn’t have to stand out from the crowd. Can I let that be enough, enough that it moves from spark to flame at all? And will I cup my hands around it, softly blowing just so, tending that tenuous space between growing and extinguished?

Even a crappy flame gives warmth and light.

Well, here it is today: this naked, awkward, maybe crappy flame I offer to myself, and to anyone who cares to read it. Maybe its warmth will touch the next thing inside that is waiting to be sparked alive.

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