6 Oct 2010

Writing, Persian rugs and the paradox of perfection.

For the past 1,5 years, I've been writing on my first full-size novel. I hadn't written 'for real' since I was a teenager, and it was a really big step to take.

But so far it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made, with lots of positive consequences that have rippled through to almost every other aspect of my life. It's helped me to stand still and concentrate on the world around me more often, and - through doing that - it's bringing me a lot closer to myself and what I really value.

The process of writing has caused quite a few confrontations with myself; some anticipated and some totally unexpected. Fortunately they all occur in a safe environment: my own fictional world, a realm where lots of things pop up, but where I'm in control. Most of the time. I can more or less decide which issues to deal with first and when, by carefully popping in and out of that world whenever I please.

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?

Instead, wouldn't it make more sense to spend that extra energy on revaluing our unique, individual set of imperfections, and to see how we can turn them into a gift, for ourselves and/or others?

What are your Persian flaws that set you apart from everybody else, and what good can they do?

♥ Bookmark or share this post ♥

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful. Had never heard about the persian flaw... I like the implications.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...