Almost didn't publish this

I write a lot things that I don't publish. I am my own worst editor. It's never done, never quite what I wanted to say. Sometimes I think of one clever line and I can't surround it with a suitable supporting cast, so I'll stop writing altogether.

I'll probably read this exact paragraph over and over again, until my eyes bleed. Editing is like an unraveling thread for me, I'll try to fix the sweater, but end up with a heap of yarn in my hands. Life is like that sometimes. I try to do everything right and mess the whole thing up.

 In This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett says this about writing:

"Only a few of us are going to be willing to break our own hearts by trading the living beauty of imagination for the stark disappointment of words. This is why we type a line of two and then hit the delete button or crumble up the page. Certainly that was not what I meant to say! That does not represent what I see. Maybe I should try again another time. Maybe the Muse has stepped out back for a smoke."  

Later in the essay, Patchett acquits writing to plucking a butterfly from her mind and killing it on the page. Looking through all my unpublished blog posts is like looking at my collection of dead butterflies. I'll open one up and run the other way, because I can't deal, so I'll write something else to abandon.

I didn't make any New Years resolutions for 2014, but maybe this year I will get the courage to show you all my dead butterflies. It may not be pretty, but at least it is honest.

Post a Comment