Monday, August 26, 2013

Life As A Crappy First Draft

So Anne Lamott, among others, is an enthusiast of the Crappy First Draft. She says she writes only those. That all her first drafts are crappy or they are nothing at all. I myself secretly doubt this because I believe she's practically perfect in every way and merely trying to make the rest of us feel encouraged. That is so like her.  I believe that Anne Lamott, kind and generous, wants the best for me. So I accept her CFD admonition as pure truth. I believe it.  I do this for her. Out of devotion.  And, okay, yeah, I do it for me, too.

To be perfectly honest, I derive an enormous amount of encouragement and solace from my crappy first drafts. They are the buffer between me and my inner judge who maintains a work schedule that I would find admirable if she weren't so darned annoying. She is always on the job. I have decided that she's the Anti-AnneLamott--the very devil in the hell of self-immolation.

When I start out all optimistic and some of the stuff sounds just brilliant and most of it has some speck of possibility, and I'm happy?  The Anti-Anne is lurking."Well, that sucks." "Do you have any clue where you're going with this?""You were actually happy with that?" "Real writers suffer. Why are you smiling?"

My spirit sinks.

And then I say the magic words. "Crappy First Draft!" Balm for my soul.  Encouragement for my heart. Guts for the muscles in my typing fingers which is where the words come from.

Typing-Finger Guts. The secret so few writers share.

But this morning I was not writing but pondering getting into the kayak.  We have had the kayak since 2005 and I have never been in it.  Before I got my knees fixed, it was too intimidating. After that I was getting back up to speed.  After that I was probably somewhat scared. On a day in June when I was feeling optimistic and strong, I declared "This is the Summer of the Kayak."

I've been waiting for the perfect morning. The ideal confluence of weather, agility, and kayaking guts.

That moment of perfection may have been a morning sometime back in July.  I believe it was the 15th.  I have pictures.

So today I had a new thought, a corollary to the Anne Lamott Law of First Draft Crappiness:  What if life could be lived as a crappy first draft? No disrespect to Life. And not in the sense of revision or do-over (both not necessarily available in the Life Arena.)

In the sense of "get thee behind me, Inner Judge! Shut. Up."

Clearly this is a day of not smooth enough water, of not warm enough temperature, of not actually brave enough me. But hey.  Let's just do it. Let's give up all hope of optimum perfectibility. Let's just write a crappy first draft of this day, give it the very best we can, grab the oar (and the floating vest).

And take the%^&%#$@ kayak out on the lake.