I saw a great quote yesterday, from an 80 year old cellist who was asked why he still practised playing the cello, his reply ‘I think I’m making progress.’
I’ve always been aware that learning is a life long thing, that sometimes we have to make the same mistake over and over again before it teaches us what we need to know.
I know that if I could learn to take my own advice, if I could walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk, life would be much better. Recovery for me, means learning about myself, my mental states, my illness, my coping mechanisms, my strengths, my weaknesses.
It also made me think about how critical we are of our own achievements, our triumphs, no matter how pleased we are at the time, we go on to downplay them, we de-construct them and work out how we can do better ‘next time’.
Yes, that is how progress is made but it’s also how we miss the point, we forget to enjoy the moment, we dismiss the things that make us great, all too readily, because we are so focussed on the end goal, instead of enjoying the process.
So if something I’ve written has helped me today, it doesn’t really matter much if it doesn’t hold up a week later. I just have to learn to go with the flow.
Sometimes I look back at stuff I’ve written, years, months, or even weeks before and I cringe when reading it or I pick at it, tear it apart piece by piece, or belittle it. It’s like I’m a giant red teachers biro just crashing through my heart and soul and mind, scoring great big lines through the stuff that isn’t ‘right’, that is over the top, or clichéd or stupid. I am the red paint thrower activist at my own fur fashion show.
‘You’re a terrible person, take that!’ ‘Sploosh!’
Maybe that is why all of the best writers get big and stay huge long after they are dead, because other people praise their work and they aren’t there to argue back with them, to scrunch it up and start again.
I’d love to be a writer, but perhaps I’d make a better critic.
But to do either you’d have to learn what makes a really great read, what makes for a terrible one.
I might be depressed but I’m not miserable enough to be a critic!
Imagine sitting around judging other people’s work all day?
Nope, I’m far too busy obsessing over my own!