I posted this on a previous blog. It’s come to my mind again in recent weeks.
Sometimes I wonder . . . Did someone ever say to Mozart, “Ya know what, Wolfgang? I think that should be two quarter notes instead of one half note.”
- Have you ever been lost for words in an emotional moment only to think later, “I should have said this . . .”?
- Or perhaps you said the absolutely worst thing possible only to think later, “If only I hadn’t said that!”?
- Or maybe you have thought, “If I could do that over again, I’d do it differently.”?
We don’t get to edit our lives before publication. Everything we do is first draft.
Anne Lamott encourages writers to “Write shitty first drafts.” She knows that getting something—anything—down on the page is key. Writers can’t believe that words are supposed to sprinkle gracefully onto the page in perfect pearly rows. We’d never get anything done, we’d be so frozen with apprehension.
A mediocre mess of an idea out there is better than a perfect pearly idea hidden.
Every day we meet people and choose words to speak to them. Sometimes we choose appropriate, helpful words. But sometimes we choose hurtful ones.
Every day we choose clothes and do our hair. Sometimes our wardrobe and hair could be on the cover of Vogue. But sometimes we manage only sweatpants and a washed face.
Occasionally life kneecaps us with unexpected blows. Sometimes we rise above it with wise, rational choices. But sometimes we solve problems with beer and a whiskey chaser.
We can’t edit our lives before publication, and that means our words and actions won’t sprinkle gracefully in perfect pearly rows. We have to live our delightfully shitty first draft and forgive ourselves for it.
Because one mediocre mess of a life out there is better than a perfect pearly one hidden.