I’ve wrestled with this forever and still can’t decide which is the more distasteful option: publishing a half-assed piece or none at all. Those are my choices and I don’t know which one is harder to live with. I want a third choice.
Well, maybe it’s all relative, depending on how half-assed. If the piece is the usual yattering nonsense, meh, I can deal with that. But if it’s a stinking, steaming pile of lousy, the alternative, that’s regrettable. And a shade worse than none at all.
The problem is you can’t tell the difference; you can only trust your instincts and I don’t. My intuition is on the blink. It’s never really worked right and constantly plays tricks with my mind. See, by the time I’ve finished writing and revising, I’m a little in love with the thing — misshapen and unlovely though it may be — I’ve lost all perspective.
Writing is a crapshoot, that much I know. Sometimes it’s the little piffling ideas that burst into life like fireworks, while big, exciting ones crumple into dust, fizzling and wheezing. It’s impossible to predict their course; every idea is perfect at first blush. They’re like kids that way, filled with possibility and destiny until you start messing around with them. Guiding them, nurturing them, screwing them up.
They can turn ugly in a flash or blossom into breathtaking loveliness. Either way, they’re yours and you have to love them, it’s in the rulebook. But it’s not always easy — ideas are harsh, demanding creatures. You sacrifice for them, protect them, mold them, love them, and then they punch you in the heart. Thoughtless ingrates, that’s what they are, but welcome nonetheless.
Seems like a lot trouble and effort to invest in what might be a nonstarter, doesn’t it? But that’s what we do. We write. Come Hell or high water or misguided idea. We scribble on.
So here’s to the stink bombs. May they live long and prosper.
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