I cringe at things I wrote 2 years ago, things I wrote 2 days ago! I hear from other writers that this is normal.
How easy it is to place our work beside something more beautiful and laugh at and ridicule it. And then want to give up, because of that wide, intimidating gap between what we create and what is “good”.
But I won’t give up.
I refuse to.
Even if what I wrote 2 years ago, or 2 days ago, sounds awkward, has too many adjectives or not enough, needs more storyline, I wholly accept the place I was in. I accept the place I am in.
In reference to a poem he attempted to write as a boy, but did not finish, C.S. Lewis wrote “But it was not a waste of time, and I can still see just what it did for me and where it began to do it…I had learned what writing means.”
If who we are and what we create comes from a place of honesty, of truth, of love, then we shouldn’t criticize our attempts or criticize ourselves. Each bad draft, each scar, each wrinkle, each stretch mark, tells a story. This we should celebrate.
Author and teacher Marion Roach Smith has a friend who refers to the first attempt as the “vomit first draft” because “it will both stink and be pretty much everything you’ve got inside you”. It sounds a lot like our humanity. We are good people capable of terrible things. There is beauty in us, and in our ideas, amidst the mess. The mess is our challenge to change and grow.
Thomas Edison tried 1000 prototypes of the lightbulb before finding the one that worked. When asked how it felt to fail so many times he responded by saying something like “I didn’t fail. The lightbulb was an invention that took 1000 steps.”
There are things about myself I try to hide, try to cover up or erase. There are other things that shine. I wholly accept it all, because it’s all I have. Cellulite and bra size included. All I can do is take another step, write another word, whisper another prayer. Choose love over anger one. more. time.
Just maybe we could find the faith to believe that we, too, are someone’s careful design. And like any work of art, are being lovingly transformed every day.