Tuesday, September 18, 2012

bonehead perfections

Today, a video project has filled my mind. I want to do a reading of John Cavanagh's "A Modern Monk's Tale." The voice will hide behind the still pictures that accompany his essay. Tomorrow, I will go and do the reading in a sound studio and pay more money than I have a right to be spending, given a fixed income, to have the recording done ... edited, etc. I haven't got those skills. The project as a whole strikes me as quite important, much as anyone's plans might strike them as important and fill the mind.

Anyway, today is a day of practice. Reading text is not all that hard, but it reminds me of various Zen retreats I have gone on in the past -- retreats during which the assembled students would chant "The Diamond Sutra" in unison. The sutra is a long one and unless you paid very close attention to the words (Chinese or Japanese or Pali transliterations?) on the multiple pages, you would get lost ... and no one could help you because they were too busy paying attention to their own difficulties. It was a good practice.

Reading aloud, which I tried yesterday and will continue trying today, occasions various flubs. Forty-one pages: The odds are pretty good that the emphasis or the words will somehow get jumbled. And there is no one to get inside my head to stop that from happening. Attention and concentration are required and ... well, sometimes I simply can't do it.

Privately, reading aloud into an empty house, I forgive my flubs, back up and correct the errors I recognize, and then continue. But publicly, in a finished video project, there is no forgiveness. The nail needs to be hit on the head, no flubs allowed...or anyway, that's how I see it.

And it makes me think: Why is perfection seen as perfection when flubs are clearly the rule? Wouldn't it be better to turn that around and recognize that imperfection is the perfection and what is commonly called perfection is an aberration and a mock-up? True, there are times of the perfect strike, the perfect reading, arise and they are wonderful. Just perrrrfect! But perrrrfect all the time? Through all 41 pages? The odds don't favor it and, although I may do my best, still, if I don't want to make even more flubs, it would be better to set perfection aside... what bonehead thought up perfection in the first place? Or imperfection either, for that matter?

OK, I've got bonehead work to do.

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