Pottery Analogies and The Enemy of Good.

Okay, gang: I am just going to sit down and write something, just so that I have written something. I've thought about writing a new post pretty much daily since my last post six-ish weeks ago. I have this problem, you see, that I want the things I write to be good and beautiful and engaging and funny and wise, and when I am a mere mortal who is woefully out of practice with this whole writing/blogging thing, that can be a tall order.

Honestly, this is a common theme in my life: I don't like to do things if I can't do them well, so I don't do them at all, and guess what that means? I don't actually do any of the things I want to. Which is kind of a rubbish way to live.

Someone once said that "perfection is the enemy of good", and someone else said that "perfection is the enemy of done", and I have been thinking a lot about the truth of both of those statements. Because what good is always striving for perfection, if it means that your lofty goals are so paralyzing that you don't actually accomplish them, or even anything like them? What good does it do me to aspire to be a person who writes, if I don't actually write anything longer than my own signature?

There are ways to deal with this, I think. I've been taking a pottery class for the past 18 months or so, and I can promise you that exactly nothing I produce is like the flawless ideal I have in my head. I'm getting better as I go, but there is a definite wonk to just about all of my pieces. Sometimes that's difficult for someone like me who struggles with being bad at things, but I enjoy pottery so much that I'm willing to not be good at it, just so I can keep learning. There is so much value in being good at being bad at something, and it's a skill I really want to learn.

Here's the kicker, though: I'm actually not a bad writer. If I may be ever so humble, I would even go as fas as to say that writing might be one of my few natural gifts. I started writing for my own enjoyment more or less as soon as I could write, and I really haven't stopped until just a few years ago, when life knocked my feet out from under me to the point that it has taken me years to find them again. But I am so out of practice now, that it feels like writing is something I'm no longer good at. I suspect that those same principles I'm learning at my pottery class apply to writing as well: just like the wonky pots I produce at the pottery wheel, there are going to be some wonky posts while I relearn how to do this thing.

Hopefully this means that at some point I'll write an actual post, instead of just a series of posts about how I'm going to write a real post "sometime real soon, guys!" I feel as self-conscious about putting this out into the world as I do about showing anyone my pottery (which probably explains why I have given away exactly one bowl to a friend who is as loving and supportive as they come), but I think it has to be done. So consider this post my somewhat wonky offering to you, my loving and supportive friend.


  1. Glad to see you writing again. We have missed your wit and insight. If you ever want to talk more about pottery, I am sure you would find a welcome ear with Jeri. She is an avid ceramist and would probably tell you perfect is boring. The wonk you describe is personality and that is priceless

  2. I am happy to hear from you again. I so often find your words inspiring, today being no exception! Thank you for reminding me not to choke on my goals because the ideal is taunting me—it's better off to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all, right?

    I hope you can find your voice again (I think the "Mine to Tell" course I'm taking right now might be something you'd truly enjoy if there's ever another session, though I wouldn't let it get in the way of your pottery class because your pottery is beautiful as well)! <3

  3. For worrying that you were saying nothing, you said some things that are really important, and you expressed them so beautifully. Thank you. "There is so much value in being good at being bad at something"--wow. The wisdom in that!


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