The Practice of Imperfection

“What we make matters, and doesn’t matter at all.” –Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.

February’s IWSG question goes like this:

Besides writing, what are your other creative outlets?

I’m a single-thread creative. I write fiction. Period. I used to paint, but not anymore. I used to play an instrument, but not anymore. I find it difficult to apply myself casually. Hobbies become pursuits. Pursuits become careers.

I can’t deny my nature, so I circumvent the personality flaw trait by practicing deliberate imperfection. The results show up in my doodles and photoshop mashups. When I indulge in those pastimes, I allow myself to be awful, and I relish the cheesy outcomes.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

January’s IWSG book club selection was Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. As the title suggests, Gilbert describes what she calls the ‘magic’ in creativity. Early in the book, she puts a mystical spin on the act of creating, but then hauls us back to Earth with bootstrap advice. It’s obvious that Gilbert lives both a spiritual and practical existence. She somehow manages to weave both perspectives into a style of advice that is almost a brand for her. You won’t regret listening to the audio version of the book. Gilbert narrates the material, and she has a knack for making you feel like she’s talking directly to you. Perhaps she is. There is magic here, after all.

Inspired by Big Magic, I’ve unearthed a permission slip to create with imperfection:

The Fool's Permission Slip for Imperfection

How would you fill in your permission slip?

Hey, how about an imperfect Doodle …

Unlike the Magic 8-Ball, the Magic 4-Ball is accurate only half the time.
Unlike the Magic 8-Ball, the Magic 4-Ball promises to be accurate only half the time.
(My kind of odds.)

Don’t go away yet!

Be sure to visit my IWSG Blog Hop co-hosts, Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, and Michelle Wallace, and the amazing, everywhere-all-the-time Alex J. Cavanaugh.

And, finally …

Have I mentioned my novelette?

Overnight, users of the popular social networking site, Know-Me, acquire a duplicate, but dissimilar, identity. Though he claims to be shocked by the doubles’ debut, Know-Me’s CEO, Jason Vrabek, has impressed even himself with this latest testament to his genius. He swears his company has not launched a massive social experiment, something Know-Me has been accused of in the past. While experts investigate the phenomenon, the doubles engage with their counterparts, and Vrabek collects the data.

Alice Merkanowsky, an ordinary office worker, is enthralled with her duplicate self, the glamorous wife of a celebrity chef. Her thrill soon turns into an obsession which strains her marriage, and threatens her grip on reality.

Alice isn’t the only Know-Me casualty. Hoax, or not, the phenomenon triggers consequences that are frighteningly real, even for Vrabek who soon finds himself outmatched by his own genius double.

A science fiction short story. Buy KNOW ME here.

 Thanks for reading to the end!

Images in this post…

57 thoughts on “The Practice of Imperfection

  1. LOL! I know what you mean about one-track creativity. Being ADD/OCD, I get pulled in both directions. Big Magic is now on my list (and so is your novelette which sounds intriguing!). Thanks for being co-host this month!

  2. I’m with you on the one track creativity train. If I’m reading, then I’m reading. If I’m writing, then nothing else gets in the way! There really isn’t time for other things if you’re a serious writer. Thanks for co-hosting today!

  3. Love your permission slip! And I just got this book. I didn’t know it was IWSG’s January choice. I’m looking forward to reading, only my husband – bless his heart for trying – ordered me the book. But he order a copy with print so small I can’t read it. LOL I like your suggestion about listening to the audio book. I think I might do that instead.

  4. That’s hilarious, because I want to paint but have yet to with the supplies I bought months ago, and I have a piano but rarely touch it anymore. I’ll get to both eventually. They’re cathartic hobbies.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

  5. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    I too allow myself to be awful when drawing and painting, though I’m tougher on myself when it comes to baking. I like your “Fool’s permission slip.”
    I picked up Know Me but haven’t read it yet. I’m very excited to dive in.

  6. I used to do a lot more, too, like painting and drawing. Yet there is only so much time to do things! Thanks for co-hosting today. 🙂

  7. Thanks for co-hosting 🙂

    I admire your single-mindedness. I could do with a touch of that. I always fear that attempting to switch-up my passions (currently hobbies) into something that needs to earn its keep will remove the joy they currently bring me. Maybe one day, I’ll feel the fear and do it anyway.

  8. I’m copying your permission slip and posting it on the board over my desk where I keep all my vital information: emergency numbers, encouraging mottoes, and good reviews. Great job co-hosting today, and I’ll take a look at that novelette.

  9. Thanks for co-hosting. Like you, I have many creative hobbies that I don’t do anymore. Writing won’t let me. LOL Best wishes.

  10. Hi, I’m Toi’s mascot, but I have my own blog. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I think it’s cool that you allow yourself to do creative things without seeking perfection. I like to take pictures, but just for fun. Toi bakes really well. It’s hard for a bookworm like me not to gain weight when all I do is eat and read. 😉

  11. I like this idea of giving yourself permission to create, no matter if it’s perfect. We’re often so hard on ourselves! Thank you for this, and for co-hosting today.

  12. Heh, you know, I think I’ve signed so many of those permission slips for myself over the years, the sheer quantity of them is bursting their container at the seams!

  13. I’m with you on having difficulty applying one’s self casually. Well put. I used to paint in oils, but that’s a season that passed. I still write bad haiku. I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of doing that, because it makes me laugh!

    1. There’s something about the haiku format that lend itself to ridiculousness. But then I’ll read a real haiku that’s sublime and carefully crafted and I’ll feel like a sh*t for writing:
      My pen runs dry and
      I am forced to drive to Sta-
      ples for more Uni-balls.

  14. Love your permission slip. I want to make a similar one for myself (not the haiku thought) and display it on my website. Great idea! Let’s be imperfect.
    Your novella sounds interesting – and I absolutely adore your cover. Did you make it yourself?

    1. Yes, I made the cover, Olga. Of course, like everything, was more difficult and time consuming than I expected.

  15. I love your bouncy writer’s voice – coolness! You need no other hobbies, especially when inperfection is not only allowed, but is prized!

    I hereby give myself permission not to allow the wrinkles of aging to overwhelm me… after all my very human brain has lots of wrinkles, crevices, and landmines! And it’s speech-language centers foster Writing!!

  16. Yeah, I’ve kind of given up all my creative outlets except for writing. Free time is too precious to waste on anything else. (although I have been known to play Candy Crush on occasion)

    Thanks for co-hosting this month’s IWSG post.

  17. Well, I had already posted but was just checking to make sure and I am not there. It shows I like the blog but not my comment. I don’t remember all I said before but I did say I really liked the permission slip and meme. Happy IWSG!

    1. You too, Doreen. I’d visit your site, but I don’t know how to find you. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. How do people have time for more than one creative outlet? When I see how many hours a day I dedicate to writing (whatever it is), I’m amazed there is time for anything else at all. 🙂 You sure are overflowing with creativity and based on the blurb of your novella, you are good at what you’re doing, single-track or not! Thanks for co-hosting this month, and for putting some humor in my evening.

  19. Big Magic was such a refreshing read – it inspired me anew! I have a paperback copy.

    I love that permission slip. It’s a reality check saying that we need to acknowledge and embrace our imperfections.
    From one co-host to another – have a great February! 🙂

  20. Being awful on purpose? Interesting idea. I just might try it. Though I try not to, I sometimes I get hanged up on getting it perfectly the first time around and forget it’s okay for the first draft to be crap.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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