While you eagerly await the virtual launch of SHE TOO, why not entertain yourselves with our book trailer?
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Cross-posted from LiveJournal
Perfectionism's the enemy; I know that. It's what has us beat ourselves up, ignore our achievements, belittle our triumphs, give in to self-doubt. It tells us we're never good enough, no matter how hard we strive. It's mean, horrid and sly. It's what stops us enjoying our lives.
In every area but one I have got rid of perfectionism. Near enough IS good enough. I have taken on board the slogans of my domestic mentor FlyLady: "Progress, not perfection", "Housework imperfectly done still blesses your family". I apply the same attitude to my appearance, my business activities, my projects ... to everything except my writing.
Well, that's OK. It's right and good to be a perfectionist as a poet, to get every poem as good as I can. That's what art's about, isn't it? You know you can't ever get it perfect but you come as close as you damn well can. Yes, I think that's legitimate in a poem — to agonise over the placement of a comma, to pore over the Thesaurus hunting the exact right word.
The trouble is, it extends to publications one produces.
As any of you who are also my friends on facebook must have noticed, any minute now (well, first weekend in September) I and three poet friends are launching a collaborative collection called SHE TOO.
We have done all the work ourselves, and it's a heck of a business collaborating internationally. One night recently I was up until 2.40am to help iron out, across cyberspace, an unexpected last-minute problem. Yesterday morning I left the computer to go get breakfast, only to find when I returned that my colleague in America had been waiting for my further input before she could finally go home from work.
We've done it and we're proud of it. It's available in pdf, Kindle and epub. We have prizes and party favours for people who attend our virtual launch. We've been given wonderful blurb comments from poets of some standing in the online poetic community. We've thrashed out thorny issues without ego getting in the way, and are better friends than ever. And, being great admirers of each other's work, we think the content is wonderful.
We've had to learn and implement those requirements for ebooks which differ from printed books. (Some material we're used to seeing as introductory goes at the end instead of the beginning. There is no back cover; text that would belong there goes in the preliminary pages.) There's been some trial and error about all this, but we finally figured it out.
The book is already available on Amazon and iBooks and is about to be on Google Play.
What an achievement, eh?
And now, all of a sudden, I'm in a blue funk. I think I should have rewritten one of my poems before it went to press — only I didn't spot where I could make a particular improvement until just now. I think we should have kept our longest blurb comment in full instead of judiciously cutting, and used it as a Foreword. Only there's already such a lot of introductory stuff, which is why we decided not to do it that way. I noticed a word left out, too late to put it back in. Of course, it's only the word "a", and it's not in a poem but only in a bit of suff at the end of the book, telling people how to rate it on Amazon.
I rationalise, yet these tiny things loom suddenly as huge imperfections. I am spilling this here so as not to rush to the private facebook group where we four authors/publishers communicate about the book and say it there. My poor collaborators! Imagine how they would feel. I'm the oldest, supposedly the wise crone, and I've acted as the editor for this volume. They think I know my stuff. How demoralising if I were now to go into doubt and angst, now when they are allowing themselves to relax just a little at last. No, we have to keep our spirits high for this launch party. I can't do that.
It's the urge to tinker and tweak and gild the lily, and fix what ain't broke. I know it is. But it's too late; the book is out in the world.
Well actually, there still would be time to call it in, alter it, put it out again ... but it's not me doing that part of the operations. I'm not the geek. The geek has done it twice for me already. She hasn't complained but reassured; all the same, I think I have to let go now and just writhe and gnash quietly over here, out of sight.
I so want it to be perfect! And you know, it never can be. The creation of a book is often likened to birthing a baby. Well, babies aren't perfect. They're unique, with variations that are not flaws but marks of individuality.
Fear of other people's judgment: that's what it is. The awful waiting for people to pronounce upon this creation which contains our life blood and parts of our souls. But there — the others are good. My deficiencies will get lost amongst all that good stuff; will never even be noticed. I tell myself.
I'd like to fix that poem....