Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Art of Finishing

There are more things in this world that are unfinished than finished. For every novel bound, a hundred thousand more lay in dusty drawers or filed in computer corners. A quilt unpieced. A house un-roofed. A cross-stich half-crossed. A letter unsent. Clean laundry unfolded. With so much unfinished throughout time, everywhere you turn, can any of this incompletion really be called failure? Is starting a project -and stopping at just that- enough to claim success?

Philosophically speaking: I live an incomplete life simply by not being dead yet. As a (still) young woman, I've only just started doing things of interest and consequence. I'd hate to think that because my life isn't finished, it hasn't any worth. Many artists' works are not deemed of notable value until their dead. When the brush bearer can't finish any more works, their worth sky-rockets. I consider myself an artist of relationships: of thought and caring. Does my work also bear less weight while I am living? No, I am more useful unfinished as I'm alive to keep doing. And usefulness, could that determine success? It would if I were a typewriter or a hammer. I will go with yes. I am successful in living, even as I am yet unfinished.

As for my blog, with my month long absence, I think the above proves it useful in its existence alone. In addition, the graduate school applications which I am researching and finding more challenging than I expected- I am successful in this matter by trying to do them at all. The children's book I've been writing for 2 years: a success. No one else has written and illustrated it before me. Today, as I haunted my parent's attic I discovered a pencil drawing my teenage self started of my dead aunt. It captures her sliver smirk and the curl of her hair but I never found the heart to try at her eyes. I believe it is beautiful the way it is. Unfinished, but still attempted.

I understand the value of completing. I love to iron the seams I sew, to nail a work on a wall, to place the last letter in its crossword box. I know that one completion leads to another beginning. When I am done with this work, there will be room for the next. When I have completed my applications, I will learn to become a teacher. Perhaps that's my fear, even as it is my desire. It's like finishing a good book. When you're done- you're done. There is no more and there is no return. Re-reading will never be the same as the first time, just as looking at a painting you've created will never be the same as painting it. Once I finish this task, I will be becoming a teacher. I won't be this Sarah anymore, but another version of myself further down the road to completion. As always, useful and grateful for her successes, and happy, even though unfinished.

1 comment:

  1. It's so good to read this. You'll make a beautiful teacher.

    ReplyDelete

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