Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I used to read a lot of Bill James. One year, he was writing about the Toronto Blue Jays, who were in the process of putting together a terrific team not long after expansion. His point was that the Jays hadn't had the benefit of making mistakes and learning from them. As he wrote, "the problem, of course, is that you first must acquire a past."

It's such a casual decision, to "start blogging," and yet the simple statement "I think I'll start writing," invests the endeavor with such...weight. What if I lose momentum and it dies a whimpering death? Worse, what if it's, you know, crap? Then what?

And so I sit here at my Blogger "New Post" page, waiting for some divine insight, some inspiration that will result in a hardened jewel of perfection. A veritable masterpiece that will get me "Dugg" or "del.icio.us-ed" or whatevered to eternal fame, glory, and financial independence.

But Anne Lamott had it right in "Bird by Bird:"

Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.

She goes on from there, of course. The passage is typical Lamott - elegant and funny as hell - and the nugget of insight at the center is blinding. Get it out of you and refine it from there. That insight is true of any artistic endeavor, be it writing, music, architecture...get it out, refine. And then refine some more.

So I'm getting it out of me. I have no idea where this is going, or for that matter what's the point. But we'll see. I guess.

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