Good, Better, Best

Could I have used the word “practice” just a few more times in that last post? Still, I’m sticking with the general theory, maybe just need to find a different word for “the practice,” ie. the noun.
One more tiny addition to the theory … with practice, there’s an expectation that you improve. That’s not always the case, though, is it. Sometimes, instead, all you figure out is what does or does not interest you. We’ll all always be better at practicing what interests us. That’s why it’s good to try things out. Because you never know till you do it. Interests change.

Got a kick out of reading Amy Jones’s blog, which she shapes like lists. It totally late-night cracked me up. And made me go … ugh, I’m so damn serious. Lighten up already. Such a light-hearted thing to think, I know. It’s sort of like that voice in your head saying, stop being so self-critical! Um … okay.
Pickle Me This tweeted a link to an absolutely eviscerating review of Yann Martel’s new novel Beatrice and Virgil. I read it and cringed with sympathy for Mr. Martel, though I haven’t read his book, and therefore cannot claim with any authority that it is not exactly as terrible as the reviewer thinks (“Worst Book of the Decade” was his headline, actually). It sounds, from the interviews I’ve read, like Mr. Martel suffered a serious case of writer’s block after the runaway success–critical and popular–of Life of Pi (which I did read, and truly enjoyed). Two years writing an essay on the Holocaust. Grim meeting with international team of editors who tell him to toss everything out and try again. Pots of money at stake. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for easy creation. Sometimes it’s easier to make stuff in the margins. It’s all about expectations–the ones we put on ourselves, and the ones we perceive others want us to live up to. Maybe writers/artists could benefit from whatever sports psychology the Canadian Olympic team used in the lead-up to Vancouver. It’s not just about what to do after achieving success, but about not being afraid to fail while seeking success. Well, and not being afraid to succeed, though that sounds odd. Who wouldn’t want to succeed? Quite a lot of us, I’m guessing. It’s like in Anabaptism, where you choose to get baptized as an adult, and then “go and sin no more.” Uh. Tall order. You could see how it would be nice to believe in a little weekly Catholic confession instead. Or how you might put off baptism till you’re at death’s door, just to be sure. Perfection. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Practice, practice, practice.
This is a little rhyme my mom used to say: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, till the good is the better and the better is the best.” That might be about practice AND perfection. Oh, and about remembering a grammatical point, but I’m always looking out for the metaphor.
I’m rambling. It’s because I have to write two new columns this morning. And now I shall. And now my computer crashed. And now I’m working on a new computer. It’s just one of those mornings. Not sure what I’m practicing but good writing ain’t it.
PS That’s a totally random recent photo of AppleApple’s hair. I took the picture in order to convince her that it did, in fact, require tending. Whenever I mention picking out her hair (we don’t brush those curls, we pick them), she goes into spasms: “Who cares what my hair looks like? I don’t care! Why do you care?” And I say, okay, why do I care? And sometimes we decide that it’s fine as is, and we neither of us will be overly vain or focused on appearances. And other times … well, I resort to desperate measures. Because it turns out that I do care that she not enter the world looking like the neglected homeless child of a crazy woman. And even she had to admit, upon viewing this photo, that something needed to be done.
Photo Day


  1. Unready, Unwilling, Unable

    Oh…I see you covered the “practice makes perefect” thing. Oops. Guess I should read your posts starting with the most recent…

  2. Carrie Snyder

    Actually, I think you commented on the previous post at precisely the same moment that I was writing this one. So you couldn’t have read it first. We were having similar thoughts at the same time. Something about great minds … 🙂

  3. Susan Fish

    Oh, I had one of those neglected children, based on the appearance of her hair. What did the trick was connecting her Intense Desire for Pierced Ears with the idea that pierced ears required care and so, one could demonstrate one’s ability to care for one’s body by tending one’s mane. And it was a miracle.


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