Posted by Tania Kindersley.
This week I have:
Had a cold.
Written 7870 words of book.
Felt happy, sad, enraged, despairing, determined, defiant, panicked, fretful, confused, inspired, manic, weak, galvanised, and focused.
Suffered such mad insomnia that last night I found myself wide awake at five in the morning, mind racing, so that I quite gave up on sleep, went and got my computer, and wrote a thousand words in my bed, whilst the dogs slumbered by my side. Might as well not waste all the wakefulness, I thought, and in the end it was not wasted.
Read and read.
Laughed more than I thought I might, considering everything.
Walked in the air.
Felt slight shame at my lack of domestic organisation.
Blogged the blog.
Bought two trees.
Ruthlessly avoided all social contact, except for the occasional morning walk with The Brother, and shut off the telephone. (For which I should publicly apologise to the dear Mother and Stepfather, who left fruitless messages.)
Drank too much coffee.
Had almost no idea what was in the news.
And that was about it.
As I sat down to write this, on a silent Sunday afternoon, I had a haunting sense that I had not achieved nearly enough in the last seven days. Because I am up against my deadline, and have set myself a stupidly excessive work schedule, a sense of failure was almost inevitable. But now I have written down what I did, it doesn’t look so bad.
The almost eight thousand words are certainly not timeless epiphanies, which should be carved in stone and set to music. Many of them will end up being cut. Eight thousand in a week is generally much too much. But at least the scratches on the page exist, where before there was only vacancy. They are no longer jostling about in the amorphous spaces of my mind, but sit, real and present, in the vaults of my computer. One day, some of them will be in print.
The battle against perfectionism wages and rages on. The good rational mind says: it’s quite fine to be a flawed human being. It’s quite right and proper to have frailties and failings, because that is what everyone does have. The insistent irrational mind says: pah, such ordinary ambition is for the birds. It says, rigid with impatience: hurl yourself to the mountaintop or die trying.
The rational mind remembers the greatest thing that Samuel Beckett ever said. It is so great and so important to me now that I am going to put it, shamelessly, in capital letters.
EVER TRIED? EVER FAILED? NO MATTER. TRY AGAIN. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER.
And now for your pictures.
Interestingly, as if in tune with the theme of the day, the first photographs I took were rather blurred and out of focus. They are the very emblem of imperfection, so, instead of hiding them away, or sending them to the trash, I am going to show them to you. They are flawed, but I rather love them:
One of my enduringly beloved views, over my stone wall, across the wild part of the garden, and to the hill beyond. Even on a rainy day, it still holds a majestic beauty:
The first berries of autumn, with the raindrops clinging to them:
Sedum, just starting to flower. It stays pale green all summer, and then bursts into colour just as the autumn arrives and everything else is thinking of fading:
Hydrangea, getting bluer by the day:
Ah, ah, the violas:
Cyclamen, with raindrops:
The signs of the season – fallen pine needles and branches which have come down in the wind:
The Brother, walking off through the rain in his special hat. As I look at this photograph, I sing in my head: Yes, we’ll walk down the avenue, and we’ll walk down the avenue, oh we’ll walk down the avenue till we’re there:
The dog of the Older Niece and the Man in the Hat, looking reproachful because I am not THROWING THE BALL:
And: I know that we must fight perfection with our every last revolutionary breath. I know that it exists only in the realms of Plato. I know that it is not a consummation devoutly to be wished. But, despite all this, there are some things in the world which are as near perfect as dammit, and THIS is one of them, I don’t care what anyone says:
(Can you tell by now that I really have not had enough sleep?)
And the hill, rather stately on a flat, drear day:
Oh, and since I am talking of this week, which has not been the easiest of my entire wide life, may I just add one more thing that happened?
The Dear Readers brought me joy.
Yes, you damn well did.