Friday, January 7, 2011

Writing Must Never be about Perfection




If you could, would you change this tree? Would you smooth its skin? Run your hands over the scales of its trunk and make it new? If you saw the hole would you do as I did and marvel at the beauty? At the way it has built itself around its flaw with the twist of roots? Or would you scoop the earth in your hands squishing rocks and mud into the gap? Would you seek to fill it? Or be filled by the wonder of nature to be whole even with its imperfection. 
Especially with its imperfections.

I am this tree.
The hole is mine. And I understand its hollow.
I also understand that I am made by the things I am not, the things that have created the void, the things that have drilled through and scoured my insides. I am made, not by the damage, but by the way I chose to breathe despite the missing pieces. I honor the hole. It reminds me that I have hurt and the battle to grow in spite of this has been hard won.
Especially with my imperfections.

Once I would have told you that I would change the tree. Indeed, I tried. Now I look at myself with wonder. Wonder that I grew around such a massive void. Wonder that I embraced it. Wonder that I thought to grow at all.  And as I chose to write from that place, from out of that hole, from out of the longing and aching inside, I get to share me. In that kind of writing the hole inside reveals itself to me as beautiful. A great work of my life. A raw and honest place I have fought to live with and heal from. Life is not about perfection. Writing also must never be about perfection. It must be about the thunderous reality of living. About people who write with holes and can thus create characters with holes. About people who are whole even with their imperfections. 
Especially with their imperfections.

What about you? Do you have a hole? Does it reveal itself as beautiful? A great work of your life?

(Photo is the trunk of a mangrove tree taken along the Redland Bay foreshore in QLD, Australia. Beautiful hole, hey?)

40 comments:

  1. I have many holes. Some are beautiful some are not. Thank you TB for posting this. Thought provoking. Blessings.

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  2. Tabitha, the "imperfections" in life are often what makes it interesting. Thanks for reminding me that applies to writing too.

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  3. This is an interesting issue, one seems to only look for the perfect things in this world, but there are also things and people who may not have beauty yet also have a wonderful article/poem to write about,

    Yvonne.

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  4. I do have a hole, but I hide it. It makes me very self-conscious, and I am vulnerable with it.

    I wouldn't change the tree, though. Talk about character.

    Hmm. Maybe there's a lesson for me here...

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  5. Each thing I've been through has made me what I am. Hopefully, older, wiser and helpful to others. :O)

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  6. wow !
    very promising post.
    You expressed your gratitude in really novel way towards all the hardships of life that apparently distress us yet polishes our personality.

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  7. Stunning Tabitha...and so exactly right.

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  8. Very thought provoking. We all have holes and excepting it for what it is truly paints the real picture. BTW, love the photo. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  9. I think I have big slashes across me. Scars that have smoothed over. Scars that used to be bleeding gashes.

    I don't know if these scars are beautiful as much as smoother now.

    ~ Wendy

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  10. i am the hole...
    imperfection? i remember that God says he uses the foolish to confound the wise..he makes perfection out of imperfection. One of my fears of heaven..will it be TOO perfect? Will we be afraid to touch anything? No fear...right?
    Here's to all that's Hole-y ...;>
    Hugs & buzz's
    *kare

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  11. i love the tree and wouldn't change a thing. it's much harder to accept my own imperfections and say that i wouldn't change those.

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  12. Beautiful and so profound. How boring the world would be without imperfection.

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  13. Beautiful tree, beautiful hole, beautiful post, beautiful YOU. I am the tree and the hole. There are still holes in me, but I no longer seek to fill them with food or people or mindless stuff. I'm learning to fill them with Spirit. And the ones that don't get filled - ah, well. Like you say, they are part of me. I've learned to love it all.
    Karen

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  14. "The thunderous reality of living." I love that phrase, Tab!

    No, the thing written about must never be prettied up. I know I write best when I dig deep and tell the truth. Be fearless. But the writing itself, SHOULD be perfect. Mark Twain said "the difference between the right word and almost the right word, is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." I love that. I write by that.

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  15. Oh, I have too many holes to mention. I like my holes.

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  16. I never find perfection beautiful whether that's in art, the written word, music or people. Of course perfection doesn't exist and people who strive for it are always slightly disappointed because it's an impossible goal to reach.

    We all have holes, and embracing them is what makes us whole. Pun intended.

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  17. So lovely a post, Tabitha.
    And the tree is gorgeous. I want to crawl inside its hole; a tree fort hidey-hole.

    As for my 'holes', I'm human, therefore hole-ridden.

    Love,
    Lola

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  18. Interesting because I am that tree as well. However, I long to smooth over my imperfections. Even though I've discovered that He loves to keep me desperate, I really feel as though I should strive to be better in this desperation. It's always a struggle for peace. Can I have peace with so many internal holes? I hope so. =)

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  19. I wouldn't change a thing, in fact it makes me wonder how the hole got there. Being smooth and perfect is over rated.

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  20. Tabitha, I liked this one so much, I included it in my Friday Link Love post today!

    Thanks for posting it!

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  21. We all have a hole, sometimes more than one. Do we look bad? Yes, if we carry it like we loathe it.
    But, I am still tempted to fill them and see the final product of my efforts. Its my opinion that would matter after that, but still, I would like to see the change, or moulding as I may put it.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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  22. Oh, yes. And, what a great image you show us with the picture and your words - your honest words. Embrace the holes!

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  23. This is what I love about your blogs. You get me thinking. I think you hit it on the head. Writing for a hole, so we can create characters with holes. That is so true!

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  24. The only imperfections I try to change are mine. Silly huh? I relish everyone elses. I love this hole in the tree...the black-eyed face framed in jet hair!

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  25. This inspired me: I am made, not by the damage, but by the way I chose to breathe despite the missing pieces.

    Because I do have a hole, and I have been trying to fill it with everything and anything I can find.

    How did you get to the place you are now? Is it by sharing your story, your love?

    As a resolution, I'm focusing on love. I'm writing mini love letters and inviting others to contribute. If you'd like to join me, you can find the info on Love Every Day

    ♥ Jenn

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  26. I think we all write from some deep cavern of longing.

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  27. You are a wise woman, and a true artist.

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  28. Yes, Tabitha. Because without a hole, you can never have a well. Thank you.

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  29. Beautiful post.
    Holes are what draw interest... I love that.

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  30. It's a beautiful tree and a wonderful post Tabitha!

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  31. We all have holes. I love how you see yours, and help the rest of us see ours. Your pictures are as wonderful as your writing.

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  32. Tabitha,
    You always dig deep,encouraging us to do so too. I hope the holes I'm made up of come through in a good way as I write.

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  33. Writing is all about expression and if we have expressed ourself then it is bound to be imperfect. The quest for absolutely perfect writing is a quest for sterility of expresseion. Save it for scholarly treatises that most of us can't understand anyway. As long as writing is relatively clear and gets its point across, then it's okay by me. And even if it doesn't, it still has said something about the author that the author apparently felt needed to be said.

    My writing has plenty of flaws. That's what self-editing is all about and what editors are about in the end.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  34. You write so beautifully. I've had this sort of conversation with close friends. Some of us wouldn't be who we are without the holes that bleed like wounds, unseen to the naked eye. And the process of healing is painful. But the scars indicate survival. And the side affect is perspective. Insight. Compassion. Wisdom. Texture.

    See what you brought out of me? Yep. You write beautifully....

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  35. I am learning to live with my holes. One time when i was grieving over a large wound, God showed me a picture of the hole from the inside-out, and how He was painting the charred black with brilliant gold. There will be beauty from our ashes as He transforms our wounds to beautiful badges of honor. Thanks, Tabitha, for sharing so beautifully!

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  36. Fascinating, the eye portrays more beauty, because of it's authentic voice. Holes and all, need to be exposed to see the true essence!
    Wonderful, thought provoking post~xXx

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  37. Um. Loads of scars, holes, quirks.

    Why do we so easily accept "holes" in nature but not in human beings?
    Blessings, dear one...and waiting for a zip into my "IN" one of these days!

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  38. Yeah, I have holes. I stopped trying to conceal them many years ago. Love me or leave me. That's my motto.

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  39. This is so beautiful, Tabitha. I agree wholeheartedly. There is no worth in writing or even living if it has to be perfect. The imperfections make us uniquely beautiful. xxx

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  40. "Life is not about perfection. Writing also must never be about perfection. It must be about the thunderous reality of living." This is beautiful. With your permission, I'll add this to my quote collection.

    I love the photo and I agree with you. Life isn't perfect and if our writing is to reach those in this imperfect world, it must reflect all of life, it's beauty, and it's holes.

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