Pressed for time. But is writing really better when it it is slow and considered than when it is hurried? I really taught myself to write by means of computers that allowed me to endlessly cut, paste and correct in ways that I would never have done on a typewriter. Furthermore, the computer allowed me some sense of pride in my writing by replacing my awfully spidery hand with a neat smart font and tidy rows of text. All of this, as I say, could be infinitely corrected so as to produce a piece of professionally resolved text, or a very carefully considered poem etc.

However, recently, partly influenced by this Blog, I have become interested in how I might write without all that editing. Can my first drafts be valuable too, or perhaps even retain a certain fresh spirit that a more laboured text simply cannot have?

In this I am influenced by Haiku poems, which are very short and very inspired. I also have in mind those Chinese painters of ancient times who cultivated the idea that your mind, body and soul all have to be in the right state for you to be able to make a perfect mark on a piece of white paper, rather than making a painting which is a catalogue of more or less ‘mistakes’ and corrections.

And then there is music. Music and writing might meet in moments of beautiful spontaneity, when, like the Chinese painters of old (and some contemporary too of course) we make a sound, a word or an utterance that is fully ‘in the moment’ and has our full confidence behind it and within it, our whole heart, because, at that moment the music or the writing itself has left our ‘self’ and our ego behind.

I can;t say that my Blogs are all that musical, poetic or painterly, but it might be a good idea to use their special, rapid vehicle, connecting the writer to a potentially wide audience in a few seconds, to explore this idea. Can writing be valuable in an instant? Can writing encapsulate, embody and somehow celebrate instananeity in which some kind of art is produced by a keyboard that NOW becomes more like a piano keyboard, or the neck of a guitar, and where words, humble and banal as they might seem, tumble out, ungoverned by any correcting judge.

Judgement itslef becomes judged one we lose the idea of ‘the mistake’ and dispense with ‘correction’ entering into the lawless world of a more musical writing.

Recently, a friend wrote and published a book on ‘the accident’. When I read it Iwas shocked by the number of typographical errors I found there, and yet, I was never sure, if the writer had insisted on his editor leaving them there, perhaps as a way (appropriate to the book’s theme) to allow the reader and the writer to enter this other realm of uncorrected writing.

I’ll conclude here and illustrate this week’s post with an image of Miles Davis who is reputed to have claimed (with repsect to his music at least) that: “There Are No Mistakes”



One thought on “Mistakes?

  1. I have always thought you had a too high a regard for order Paul, when I have seen pics of your desk at home etc. Your constant archiving of your works etc. I do however hear very strongly your voice speaking audibly throughout all of your writing and I am very grateful for all your generosity in sharing this throughout the summer.
    There is an ‘art’ to giving attention to the start you make even if that is based on a question of why and what this is. Editing at this stage becomes a natural progression to that, whereas the overly thought out planning before starting presumes a superego of the ‘one’ thing in disregard to process.

    In painting I have always sought in viewing works the sense of time and authenticity of the discovery of marks and forms. There are ‘present’ moments to be seen in works which stand outside of time as evidence of co-creations, a view of things being born. Essences without guile or ‘drawing’ out the preconceived and dead reproductions.


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