Thursday, August 25, 2011


I have this compulsion to make things perfect. Here's an example: the other day, I bought a box of Legos for CrazyKid (4) at a yard sale. In the box were a few random cards from a game apparently called Gulp. Because BookBoy (6) is obsessed with a) anything that has words on it and b) anything that involves fish, he immediately snatched up the cards and began playing a weeks-long elaborate game with the cards and his cooking books. (He is also obsessed with cooking books and word and number games.)

He's happy. He loves the cards. He's learning. That should be good enough.

But nooooo . . . . every time I see him carrying around that quarter-stack of raggedy cards, I have this overwhelming compulsion to scour Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, anywhere to find him the actual game, complete with 52 crisp, shiny new Gulp cards. I haven't been able to find them anywhere. That's probably good for me.

The perfectionism is good when it makes me obsess over making my classes, projects, lectures, or decorating better, but it's bad when it paralyzes me or makes me fixate on something to the point that I waste hours on something that doesn't really matter. It's what stopped me from trying to write for years.

Tonight I wrote a little more than a thousand words. They were far from perfect. Even the word count was far from perfect. (My goal was 2400 words.) But it's late, and the baby has been waking us up a lot, and I'm so tired, so tonight I'm going to set my perfectionism aside and say that even though the writing wasn't perfect, at least it was.

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