Yesterday, two trustworthy people who don’t know each other used the word “perfectionist” when describing me. Neither were trying to offend, and both were offering honest feedback. I was a bit taken aback, but it got my attention. I generally see myself as a bit more easygoing than that, and I always thought of other terms to describe myself. Tenacious? Yes. Tending toward OCD? Definitely. Reluctant to leave a task only partially completed? Absolutely. But perfectionist? Why does that word carry a negative connotation for me? What do you guys think? Am I a perfectionist, and is that okay?
I saw a bumper sticker a couple of days ago that said, “Buy a gun: Piss off a liberal!” I consider myself to be liberal in regard to most things, and frankly, someone buying a gun doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s a Constitutional right; if someone wants to own a gun, that’s his business, and I have no problem with responsible gun ownership.
On the same truck was another sticker that read, “If I had killed you when I wanted to, I’d be out by now.”
Is this person deserving of the right to bear arms?
It’s November, NaNoWriMo month. A number of my friends are twenty or thirty thousand words into their novels, and I think that’s amazing. Personally, I’m not that interested in writing a novel, but every year, November reminds me that I should be writing something. Writers write; poseurs talk about writing. Currently, I am more poseur than writer. I pile so much on my plate that I don’t have time to write, a convenient excuse leaving me drained, depressed, feeling fake.
Soon, middle age will crash in upon me. I fear that I will find no creative solace in the rubble.
Born: June 3, 1936
Died: October 22, 2010
Survived by wife Jane, daughter Maria, and son David.
Also survived by hundreds of creative writing students.
I’m proud to be one.
I leave you with my favorite verse from one of Red’s poems, “Walter Mitty.” It illustrates how profoundly he respected the craft of writing, as well as how important was love in his life.
But in the glare of morning light
I sweat to write one crooked line
Sip my cup of sugared tea
And stretch to touch your hand.
– Leonard Bird, “Walter Mitty”, River of Lost Souls, 1977.
I was always taught that two spaces follow a period. When I got into web design, I was disturbed that HTML only acknowledges one space, but I was able to get past it because it’s a programming language. Two spaces can be ambiguous in code.
Now, a writer friend tells me that the Chicago Manual of Style recommends using only one space after a period. I like to think of myself as an open-minded, transformational grammarian, but some changes–like this one–really stick in my craw.
I wrote this entire post using single spaces, and it almost hurt to do it.