It’s been a while. Here I am, ashamed and guilty. I have been editing, examining and doing odd jobs like voice-overs – as well as opening algebraic mysteries to the unwilling, unenlightened and sometimes uneducable. Senior students have flown the coop – as ready as I can make them. I worry they’re not ready enough; insouciance, youth and optimism make uncomfortable bedfellows sometimes.
It takes its toll. Imagination, even here, looks plane-flat, dun-coloured, wan.
Perfectionism is a curse beyond endurance since for the last considerable time it has slyly looked over its eyes at me and told me that whatever I write won’t be good enough, witty enough, funny enough.
Of course it won’t and I’m beginning not to mind. The comedic is for the others for now
and clowns are the saddest creatures on earth. Not everything can be just so, just as one might wish, special and unique, words unrolling like liquid gold across a virgin page.
I read a lot of bloggers’ work, some of which is inspirational, much of the rest is tepid, almost like practice, flexing muscle, rehearsal without dress.
It seems strange to think so, but I am almost – but not quite – sorry for big bucks authors who have to squeeze new plots out of their familiar characters every six months, otherwise their publishers wave breach of contract suits over their heads. And, it shows. People’s early, unfettered work has a breath of bravado and risk about it and as they have been ground down by the cockchafer of publishing deadlines, their original spark takes more and more tries to ignite against the sweat-dampened tinderbox of their imagination.
And yet, we do. Perhaps because we must. Like Maya Angelou’s caged bird, sing we must – clipped wings or not, standing on the grave of dreams.
And then; there’s this…
…but words came halting forth, wanting invention’s stay;
Invention, Nature’s child, fled Stepdame Study’s blows;
And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite;
“Fool,” said my muse to me, “look in thy heart and write.”
Astrophil to Stella, Sonnet 1
Sir Philip Sidney