Guest Post: Art and Perfection

Anyone who’s failed to read the comments my good friend and former English student, Tom Donaghy, leaves on the various of my posts has missed some thought-provoking responses. He had this to say about my recent post, “Frustrated Perfectionist.” (I omitted his compliment. *G*). Take it away, Tom…

As for me, art and perfection are galaxies away from each other. Art is an objective pursuit, Art defies being classified as perfect or imperfect. Art: music, literature, painting, sculpting and other expressions of our soul are not easily fitted into a box to be given an exact score or number. Children’s art is an example. As crude as it may seem to adults, it is certainly beautiful and satisfying to the children who did it and the parents of those kids.

I find it hard to revisit a work after I have finished it. The moment something comes to me, with all its grammatical errors, obscurities and conundrums of thought, I rush to push it out. I work with it and wiggle the words around, the thoughts, and when it seems finished – that is it. I go back to stuff I’ve written years ago and try to twiddle with it and it is basically a complete rewrite, a completely different work. Best left alone.

I don’t get down on myself if the thing I wrote doesn’t seem to measure up to my opinion of good. There are great moments and others not so outstanding. Some of the things I have felt most strongly about others have sniffed at. I think this is because beauty is in the eye of the decider. This is why art is objective. I really do not think the Mona Lisa is the greatest painting of all time. Lots of other people more educated than I think it is.

In the past, I was very jealous of my work and guarded my writings from most eyes for fear of being misunderstood. It hurt to hear someone say in a blasé tone that a poem I felt strongly about was ”ok”. If I had to explain it then it felt even worse.

Art is such a personal endeavor. There are folks who have the right touch and make a gazillion dollars from their work. Others struggle mightily and get nowhere. It’s a tough nut. Best do art for the pleasure of creating rather than try to make a living at it.


Thank you, Tom. Comments, anyone?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Art and Perfection

  1. How very right Tom is! My daughters were competitive dancers on the local, regional, and national level. Yes, there are some technical aspects to dance that can be graded, but the judging is always subjective, and I appreciated that at the beginning of announcing results they always said that if there were different judges sitting there, the results would be different. And obviously, as a parent, and supporter of teammates, it was hard for me to not always think ours were the best. But the best and most heartfelt performances they gave were for the local dance recital with no accolades, just the love and appreciation of family and friends. 🙂


  2. Wow, what can I say, amigo. It certainly is a pleasure to read and think about the many different types of posts on this blog. It is something I certainly look forward to on Wednesday and Sunday. What’s amazing to me is the discipline it takes to meet the deadline. I’ve worked for a paper and it can be strenuous mental work to fill in every blank and get every thought right. Thanks for the nod. Keep up the work. I’ll keep reading. That’s the easy part.


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