That just because we haven’t majored in Accounting or Nuclear Physics (or even if we have, for those of you peeps out there), that all we have to do is sit and write or draw or curl some yarn around a little metal doodad and “art” appears.
There is also this big misconception of creative people that if it’s too easy it’s not Art. Well, fortunately for me, I’m contributing to that second misconception.
I have this wonderfully creative novel I’m editing with the dreamy, non-connected hopes of someday getting published, and/or printing it out for family and friends. I’ve added quotations at the beginning of each chapter which creatively explain what’s going to happen next. (Sorry for all the self-generated affirmations…it’s getting me through this…)
Well, imagine my reaction when, after REALLY REALLY editing the hell out of the first 13 chapters, I find NO quotes and little red stars with comments interjected on the page?
I have been editing the wrong copy all this time.
I even marked this one “EDIT THIS ONE” in the title of the file which sits on my desktop. I do have older versions, but they’re clearly marked with dates so I DON’T DO SOMETHING STUPID LIKE THIS.
I knew I had quotes for every chapter; I just couldn’t find the right copy. Later, rather than sooner, I did find this obscure file that said “Updated Chapters.” Like I would have known what that meant. So, throwing a little temper tantrum, I shut everything off with the intention of working it “later”.
But isn’t that stupid?
Isn’t that a waste of valuable creative time?
I have to believe that everyone goes through these things, or else I will start to believe that I am senile, demented, forgetful, and/or sloppy.
But back to what set off this little tirade.
I hate being stupid. I hate doing things twice. I hate forgetting. And I hate cleaning up my own messes.
I try and be organized; I try to slow down. I try not to jam 10 lbs. into a 5 lb. bag anymore. I try and stop and smell the lilacs and get some sun on my face and play with my grandkids.
So what this has to be, then, is not paying attention. That’s the same reason that people get hit by cars or text themselves off the road or burn themselves on the hot stove.
I know — these are small potatoes. That everything can be fixed. But it’s not just that. It’s rewriting and not clearly marking the differences or downloading images you’ve already downloaded or transposing numbers in a deadline. It’s the little things that eventually mess up the big things.
I am thinking my integrity is so fragile and my ego so bumpy and my fear of becoming senile so great that any little screw up is like looking through a magnifying glass. I don’t know if it’s getting older or never having confidence from grade school on that has made me judge every little thing I do.
The sad truth is, I know I’m not as flighty as I make myself out to be. In this case, I can compare documents, take the first half of one and set it atop the second half of the second. And the world will never know.
It’s the process that’s flawed, not me. And I’m going to stick to that.