Monday, December 11, 2006


I think my writing has become pedantic. Observation, memory, guilt, sorry. Over and over.

I just read Mary Paddock’s blog on writing and it has got me thinking. Sometimes I don’t like writing. I used to think that I was a pretty good writer, I had aspirations, even, although I never really put the effort into it. I had always intended to give it a try though. But if a man is what he does, that is, what he produces, then I have to say that this blog has been an eye opener. And I am disappointed.

If a builder builds a crappy house, then he’s a crappy builder, right? But what if the builder builds crappy houses not because he’s a crappy builder, but because he has ten families waiting to move into their new houses? And it’s raining? What then? Is there a special dispensation for building crappy houses quickly, as opposed to building quality houses slowly, if it puts a roof over ten family’s heads before winter?

I suppose the issue is one of efficiency, which I have come to define as the trade off between time and perfection. Writing does not come easy to me. It takes time, a lot of time even, if I am to satisfy myself that what I write is the best I can do. But this is the real world, and between 12 and 14 hour work days, chow, and PT, there really isn’t that much left for writing. I get frustrated, don’t write well when I am tired, and I don’t tend to do so well when I feel I’m under pressure either.

Oh, I can craft a sentence, and when I take my time I know my writing is certainly passable; consistent, well organized, occasionally even entertaining… but more often than not, I don’t have time. Heck, I haven’t even found the time to go and pick up my laundry this past week. But that’s a purely practical matter – I am not invested in my laundry they way I am my writing. And so I feel bad when I read something and I know that I could have done better. I have even sent Kraig revisions of pieces already published, and asked him to swap them out (sometimes several times!- he is very understanding).

So where am I going with this? The funny thing is, I am not sure. I am not sure if I am making some type of excuse, or apologizing to someone, or maybe just indulging in a personal pity-fest, rationalizing why my writing is not better. It’s something I was always proud of, and I suppose I am embarrassed with some of the entries. I tell myself that I’ll go back after I get home and clean this whole thing up. Maybe print it out and save it for when Jack gets older and asks “What did you do in the war, Daddy?” But I have been saying the same thing about half of the essays I did as an undergrad at U.of M. for over a decade now. How time flies. (by the way, Lisanne and Kelly, I still appreciate you typing those essays for me).

Okay, there’s the thing, the big summation where I make some brilliant generalization. Don’t expect excellence here. I write fast, sometimes just to get something out to let everyone know that I’m okay, sometimes because I’m tired, and sometimes because I have no choice. I know the writing itself is rough, and but maybe the topics themselves are interesting enough to carry the piece. Sometimes. I’m not advertising the Great American Novel here. But in the end, it is what it is. Sorry.

(See? I told you it was getting pedantic)


Blogger pbinkowski7142 said...

Major, Major--

You are one of the best writers I know and when you admit you are not even trying you best, that makes you an even better writer.
When you were in high school I always wonderedhow much better you could do on writing assignments if you would ever leave yourself the time to do you best.
Your blogs are interesting, (at times a little too technical for me ),funny , inspirational, sad sometimes, but always a joy to read.

Love Yo Yo

December 11, 2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger pbinkowski7142 said...

Don't be dissapointed because your writing is good. We all enjoy stories, not just because they are from you, but because they are well written.

Love Dad

December 11, 2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger kbinkowski35 said...

I look at my carvings sometimes and wonder what was I thinking? Maybe everyone does that sometimes (or, for some, most of the time). When will they be good enough, though? Kelly brought my newest carving (Factory at dusk) into work to enter it in a an exhibition and the assistant just fell over herself praising it, Kelly says. She talked on and on about how she appreciated the historical aspects I incorporated and the deep rich hues I chose (well, Kraig chose), and who knows what else. I still see that spot near the base of the third chimney, though, where the damn blade slipped...
Your writing's like my
carving: You work hard and everyone seems captivated by it (including me) but you still see that spot near the third chimney, where the damn blade slipped...

December 12, 2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger KAB said...

I think the writing is great and most of all real. Authentic. More time and different sentence stucture or just the right word might clean it up or expand your ideas a bit, but I don't think it would make it more real for the reader. And I know it is hard to create something with thoughtful craft, that is sincere and honest.

December 13, 2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger teamlutz said...

I must agree - we are truly our own worst critic. Allow yourself to be raw and real, please do not edit, revise or perfect your writing. There is something powerful and human and deep and touching in the knowledge that it is coming from a fatigued, homesick Major and not a man in the luxury of his own home with a fire burning and a glass of merlot at his side.

To tell you the truth I am so impressed by your effort, and yes, your writing. Just give yourself a little break and don't even think aout revising in the future - please.

December 16, 2006 11:53 PM  

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