Oh perfection shining bright; how I chase you with all my might.
As I seek you far and wide, I quite forget to look inside.
How is it I never see, the brilliantly perfect, imperfect me…..
Clearly I am no Percy Bysshe Shelley. John Keats can rest easily in his Grecian Urn. Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson will not be disturbed by my bon mots.
What I will claim is a quick turn of phrase when the inspiration hits. And hit it did last week as I ruminated on some trials that a few of my dear ones are facing at the moment. My Leunig-esque verse above is one that tripped lightly into my head a week or so ago and, most likely could have popped straight back out again were it not for the realisation that the perfection virus strikes us all at various times. Perhaps this little ditty may strike a chord.
That bloody perfection virus can be crippling.
When I was a child, I was forever singing. I danced around, hairbrush in hand, in front of the mirror trying to hit those notes. My pitch wasn’t perfect but good god, I had some fun with it. I hit primary school and the bug didn’t leave. I even have a book in my collection which was awarded to me as Best Supporting Actress at the local Warana Festival in Year 7 an awfully long time ago. It is one of my most treasured possessions.
My Oscars speech was well rehearsed and I knew that when the time came, I would deliver it with such depth and gravitas that there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.
At high school I continued in this vein; writing, performing, ripping off Monty Python skits (the parrot sketch was a favourite) for the school talent quest.
It was around this time that I was struck down in my prime by the perfection virus.
Not content with simply performing for the joy of it, I determined that if I couldn’t do it perfectly, I wouldn’t do it at all. Even a brief moment in the spotlight as the lead singer of the infamous Budgee Smugglers couldn’t quite restore the careless delight I had found as a child with that hairbrush. Years of self-doubt, that niggling little voice that said the performance (or you) were not quite good enough, finally smothered the creative spark.
Until I found it again in Italy 2 years ago.
My bella Italia – the land where passion and love and art are bundled together in a jubilant celebration of what it means to live life in all its breathtaking magnitude. Revisiting the “life renaissance” there provided that inner spark and let me rediscover my creative voice, my inner truth.
Stephen Sondheim wrote:
The art of making art, is putting it together, bit by bit, piece by piece.
The creative life will find you if you let it. But to allow it to manifest, you have to kill that dreaded perfection virus.
Art isn’t easy. It is imprecise and messy and confusing and frustrating and delightful and invigorating and absolutely, gobsmackingly terrifying at times.
Much like life really…….
Art is very personal. What inspires one person may be considered folly by another. Where we find that connection will be very different for each of us. If you allow it, you may be delighted to discover a muse and surprised at when they choose to appear for you.
I’ve also discovered that the creative life is very patient and with luck will take you a very long time to master; perhaps even a lifetime.
Purge yourself of that perfection virus and it will find you in whatever shape or form you need.