I’m going to start posting first drafts more often here as I’m developing pieces, so get used to that I guess. I’ll preface them with something like this to let you know. Expect to see more bits from stories and other things I’m working on.
I’m a bit embarrassed about my earlier attempts at writing, and a similar feeling will likely overtake an older, wiser me as he looks back at this piece. I recall once taking a poem into the Potter’s House, a Christian coffee shop just east of the college campus where I used to live, and ask if I could post it there. It was a theologically inspired piece, something about struggling to do the right thing and fighting against the evil inside us, and it wasn’t all that good. I knew at the time that it was amateurish at best, but I had something I needed to say and that was the best I could do.
Too often we are afraid to speak for fear of our inadequacy. We’re afraid we won’t sound eloquent enough, or that we can’t do the story justice, or that people will either make fun of or ignore us. We don’t want to waste our stories on our poor skills, so we remain silent, hoping for a time when we can communicate adequately.
But there is no shame in our offerings, be they ever childish.
My freshman year of college it was recommended that I read The Art of Writing by William Strunk Jr. Not being a particularly good student, I only skimmed the book, but one line leapt out at me and remains lodged in the fore of my brain. “Never compound ignorance with inaudibility,” Strunk wrote, and I don’t mean to. I will offer the best I can at this time, and hope that it’s enough. I’ll keep writing, and what I have to offer in ten years will be better, the best I can at that time, but it still won’t be as good as I will be in twenty years.
We only have so much time on this earth to speak and share with others. I am not inadequate if my communication fails to meet my standards of eloquence and clarity. Inadequacy in this case stems only from silence. As long as I am writing, I am winning.