6 Oct 2010
Writing, Persian rugs and the paradox of perfection.
One of the things I found out along the way, is that I'm more of a character-driven than a plot-driven writer.
That didn't surprise me, really. Whenever I read something, observe people or even when I watch TV, I always connect with the characters first. It doesn't matter that much whether I like them or not, as long as I feel I can grasp them, understand where they come from or suspect that they have a good reason for doing what they do.
That, indirectly, lead to me a very important realisation: I suddenly understood that I loved my own characters way too much.
Because of this, I'd been trying to chisel them to such perfection that, if I would run into them in the flesh, I'd really really dislike them.
Even though I'd been aware of this risk before I started writing, and tried to avoid it, I'd still fallen into the trap. And I knew that, until I'd go back to the drawing board to touch them up with a bunch of carefully constructed vices, blemishes and shortcomings, my characters could never be my friends.
Because, let's face it, in reality, perfection is not just boring, it's utterly detestable.
So why do so many of us - myself included - keep striving for it: in what we do, in how we look or even in wanting to become "our perfect self"?
Is perfection something we'd even want to attain?
While thinking this over, I remembered one of my history teachers once telling us about the 'Persian flaw', an imperfection that Persian rug makers deliberately wove into their carpets, because only God is perfect.
That idea has always resonated with me. Regardless of our individual concepts of 'God' or our relationship with Him/Her/They/It, the Persian flaw always makes me wonder: how pointless (and/or conceited?) is it to strive for the full 100% of anything?