søndag den 25. september 2011

Work it till it's perfect

Recently, as I was writing on a very remarkable feature that I feel is of great importance to the continued survival and advancement of the human race - my "Ode to Sweat", of course - I realized that I possess a certain trait that is both of great use, and sometimes great annoyance: I am a perfectionist.

Alright, so I already knew that I was a perfectionist regarding certain things, like music - this comes back to that whole passion thing I was talking about earlier. Whenever I care deeply about something, I obviously want to give it my very best, and I just keep working and working on it to the point where it almost becomes an obsession. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. In order to become really good at something, one must put in the necessary hours to advance ones knowledge of this subject and improve on the skills required to pull it off. Michael Jordan was a perfectionist when it came to playing basketball, Michael Jackson had it regarding music, and Tiger Woods has it when it comes to banging every woman on the planet who's not his wife.

Because clearly, a handsome man such as himself cannot be held down by an uggo like her.

But here is where I learned something new about myself. I was writing a silly poem to kill time and have fun, but even within that essentially meaningless construct, I found it necessary to adhere to a specific formula, and make it the best I could. As such, what I could've written to be practically the same in about five minutes, took me almost twenty minutes because I was determined to make every single line of the poem be exactly 11 syllables long, because it felt like a good rhythm (the exception being the "my oh my" line, which is 3+5 syllables every time), all the while maintaining a clear narrative that was accessible and not too confusing.

Now, admittedly, I did have fun writing it, and since it is a form of lyricism, I suppose it could be that this perfectionism reared it's head again because it's very related to a huge passion of mine. Certainly, this level of commitment is far beyond what I show when it comes to doing my homework for example, where my favorite strategy is to only do it if expulsion is threatened, and if so, only do it at the absolute last minute possible, as half-assed as I can possibly get away with doing it. Hell, if anything, my commitment to NOT doing homework is almost mastered to perfection at this point.

Pictured: My favorite type of perfection.

Case in point: I am currently writing on this blog while in class. And not only am I blatantly disregarding whatever the hell it is I am actually supposed to be doing, but since we have a special group assignment we're working on, I actively sought out the teacher the day it started, and told him I had to travel a bit this week so I'd rather work alone, then I skipped school last time (though that was actually just a result of oversleeping), and today I loaded up half a dozen pages about the thing I'm supposed to be working on - and when he asked me specific questions, I improvised a whole fact-list worth of BS, about competitors, media management, organisation and so on.

Mind you, I haven't read a single word of homework for the entire semester so far, yet I completely fooled my teacher into thinking I was way ahead of the rest of the class, simply by speaking off the top of my mind. So why is it that when I write songs, in which speaking from the top of my mind is actually a good quality, I can spend hours working on every single 16-line verse? Worse yet, why does the end result not reflect all these extra hours of work? Is perfection even necessary, or is it in fact superfluous?

One last thought: A common problem I have with a lot of my songs, is that they get needlessly complex and convoluted, because I actually work too hard on them. Sure, repeated seven syllable rhyme patterns are nice when they work well, but having an unrelenting sense of perfectionism that just won't quit, tends to turn most lyrics into some quasi-Shakespearean version of rap.

Although you gotta' admit, Funk Master Shakespeare has quite a nice ring to it.

I guess it's both a blessing and a curse sometimes.

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