Archives for posts with tag: perfectionism
Chess gameboard.

By Levente Fulop from Brno, Czech Republic (The King’s Game) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve always wished
to be expert at chess,
but I overthink
every move and
lose my pawns
and queen in the
oldest, quickest
thrashing in the book.

I have a knack for completely overthinking things. The reference in this short verse reminds me of a line from “Escucha.” During the dance, the poet/narrator “[worries] too much about accurate footwork.”

Both poems propose that striving doesn’t always fare well for the perfectionist. In “Escucha” the dance partner, even though he employs patience, “shares nothing” and departs. In this poem, the opponent beats the player/narrator at speed and without mercy.

Chess also features in an earlier poem, “I told her.”

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

If the sky was perfect
inside the house finch
he would not
beat the red thoughts
around his feathered crown,
nor collapse his brown-grey wings.


This poem, like a few others written during this month, was inspired by a writing prompt provided by Poem A Day October. The prompt provided an online random image generator and suggested choosing a visual. It was a toss up between a pair of wizened hands and this handsome house finch. The finch came with a poem, which isn’t surprising as I have used bird motifs in my writing before. See
Sky and Hope have disappeared,
Nearing the End and
Recycled

I have written drafts in response to all the Poem A Day October’s recommendations. However, not all these attempts have passed the benchmark I set for work worthy of public reading.

Contrary to what some may believe, I do not post any old bunch of lines. Not all the words I have thrown together do I declare poetry. While I do ease up a little on my personal standards (otherwise 80% of the writing on this blog would not be online), I also set high ideals for my writing. For example, I wish my work was more literary. I wish its craft was more dazzling. (Sadly, my attempted poem in iambic pentameter terza rima resulted in a mess of scribbles.) If my poetry was more politically engaged or socially critical, perhaps it might also be more useful to the world.

As a perfectionist who also happens to work as an artist, I spend a long time judging my work as inadequate. The fear that the public and critics will spotlight flaws compounds my panic. (An early poem, “To whom it may concern”, explores this.) Such fear is debilitating. While housebound creativity satisfied me somewhat, it did not wing in the world. How would anything take flight? After years of filling up notebooks I decided that it was time for creation to be shared.

This is why I share my poetry online.

Here are the other poems inspired by Poem A Day October prompts:

Highest Priority
Transition/ Disclosed
Postmarked from a Café
Headlines
A cooking attempt for colleagues
You cooking me


Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012, which includes “To whom it may concern”