Friday, July 13, 2007

Pursuing Excellence

It should come as no surprise to anyone who creates stuff that there are times when it just comes out better than others. The means of measurement is subjective to be sure and often the perception of quality or aesthetics or benefit, etc. changes over time and circumstance, but the artist, I think, still has an idea when he or she has just nailed it. I know it is true for me and more often than not the feeling of having created something special is validated externally. It doesn’t have to be, but it has been my experience that there are some universal, albeit intangible, standards of quality.

In many ways it’s easier to recognize in the work of others. In the blogosphere, I run across the little gems often. Sometimes it is from someone who is so profoundly moved that the expression of whatever it is comes though so clearly I feel I am there too. Other times it might be an identification of a feeling - perhaps an identification that is universal yet never clearly identified before. I have read a great many accomplished authors and although my writing is usually pretty good, compared to some of these greats I always feel inadequate.

Well, almost always. I have written some stuff that is right up there and I know it. True, not as much and not as recognized, but there have been moments of brilliance - I know this. I know it not only of my own application of my craft, but I have seen it in countless others’ application of theirs. I don’t have to know how to make a movie to appreciate a classic - even a modern one. I don’t have to be a painter to know a masterpiece. And I don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to recognize great writing.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t come to this perspective in reflection of my own writing. True, I do have some pieces (not many compared to how much I have written) that I still enjoy reading. I produced a post recently I happen to be very happy with. However, while reading some of my favorite blogs - sites where I can expect quality on a regular basis - I was blown away by a particular piece that just left me dumbstruck. Thumper Thinks Out Loud is a blog from writer K.A. Thompson. She has a mishmash of anecdotes and musings and often reflects on the creative process involved in writing a book. This particular post is observational brilliance. As my comment there said - “I could not have said it better myself, and now I don’t have to."


mckay said...

sam, sometimes i just like hanging out and 'being' in your space..kinda like riding in a car in silence and it feels okay.

on your word, i'll go check out thumper.

'you know who' sent me.


utenzi said...

Michele, of all people, sent me over to see you, Mike.

I go over to see K on a regular basis. I read that post a few days ago, and oddly enough, was the person to comment immediately after you. I was my usual caustic self though and left this comment:

Having sweet people like that would certainly change your novel, K. Don't let them slow the plot down too much though. They might be sweet but they don't move very fast.

Your comment was far nicer, Mike.

Pat said...

Hi Mike ! Michele asked me to visit you as the person above me was playing silly beggars and was deleted. It's always a pleasure. Now I shall pop over to Thumper's. Just a day ago I read an article I had written in '91 and I wasn't blown away but felt pleased with it.

Linda said...

Mike, I'm here via Michele's, though I seem to find my way here often. I wish I had the eloquence to write as you and Thumper do. My creativity is more often expressed in other ways, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Nice. It reminds me of the movie I saw last night "Stranger Than Fiction," a story within a story about a fiction author and her obsessive compulsive main character who actually exists.

Hey Mike, did you wait for your answer on the upside down writing. The generator link is in number 13 on my Thirteen Thursday this week.

Thumper said...

Wow, thank you... =sniff= I feel like I just won an Emmy. Or the blogging equivalent thereof...

Anonymous said...

Here on my own.

I agree with you regarding creativity. It is an interesting question whether external validation is "necessary" for one to truly appreciate one's own work.

That question should inspire a lot of posts, I think.


Tiffany said...

Here Via Michele. Your write so well! I enjoy coming here on the weekends!

Anonymous said...

Here from Michele's too.... but I've been here before on my own. :)

Just recently, I spent some time reading through the posts on my blog clear back from when I started it. Some posts, I think I could read a hundred times and still not tire of them. Others... well, let's just say I was having a blogging block.

I recently entered one of my posts in a writing contest (I'd actually written it for a writing class I took). Still waiting to hear how I did...


Anonymous said...

Now, I'm here from Michele's.

God, I need a life.

Or my wife and kids to come home.



Anonymous said...

You know who sent me..:)

Some of my writings are very good. So good that I am amazed but at times I write trash too.

I can't excel all the time. And mediocrity sucks.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for your visit Mike, and for the Heads Up about Thumpers post.....It is truly truly wonderful, in every way.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your long hair, I think you should read my post on hair on my other blog, rooted.

I think thats the reason Michele sent me here again so that I direct you to
Long and Straight of it!

BreadBox said...

Michele sent me to tell you how lucky you are to have discovered your ability and passion! It is a rare gift, to know something well and to do it well, and to love doing it and be able to make it your life!