The Myth of Perfection

by Joe Bunting | 51 comments

Perfect is no place for a writer. Listen to me: you will never write a perfect novel, short story, essay, blog post, sentence. Everything you write will be criticized. If it's not, then it has been ignored. I Am A Child by Tayrawr Fortune Your job is not to write perfect sentences. Stop thinking it is. No one will praise you. They will either ignore or criticize you. (Even if you are lauded, you will care more about the criticism than the praise.) That is your fate if you want to write. I want to write. So I will write pieces that are open to criticism (even from myself). Pieces that I know are imperfect. I will publish them anyway. You have to write something you're not an expert in. You have to begin the novel you aren't ready to begin. You have to write the blog post that is immature and incomplete. This idea that you will be perfect is a myth. It is a lie from the enemy of creativity, the one who wants to destroy your life. You will never be perfect.

Why This Is a Good Thing

Because your readers aren't perfect either. And how could you ever relate to them in your writing if you were perfect? People don't need you to be perfect for them. They need you to be so completely honest about yourself and the world that they realize they are not alone. There's someone out there who gets it. (For those people who demand perfection—and are disappointed when you don't measure up—you don't need them.) The opposite of perfectionism is vulnerability, and vulnerability is the source of joy. So it comes down to this: do you want to be perfect or do you want to be happy?

PRACTICE

The most vulnerable (and therefore interesting) people are children. Spend fifteen minutes describing a child, either fictional or non-fictional. When you're finished, post your “portrait” of the child in the comments.

How to Write Like Louise PennyWant to write like Louise Penny? Join our new class and learn how. Learn more and sign up here.

Join Class

Next LIVE lesson is coming up soon!

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

51 Comments

  1. Susan May

    Joe, I think Abraham Lincoln said it best with this, my very favourite quote, which is laminated and up on my wall. It could have been written for authors.

    I do the very best I know how-the very best I can; and mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

    — Abraham Lincoln

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I’m not sure I fully understand this quote. Is he saying we should worry about the results and work to achieve the best results possible? Or is he saying we shouldn’t worry about the results, just do our best?

    • Susan May

      I choose to think he is saying, follow your path and stay true to it and ignore what everyone else says because it may mean nothing in the end, good or bad. But I see what you are saying.

    • Joe Bunting

      I like that. I’ll choose to think that too.

  2. Laura

    I can always count on you to give straightforward and good natured advice, and I must say this is one of your best. Seriously, every writer should read this!

    Also, here’s my response to the practice:

    A child sits on the front steps, sucking her thumb. She is so attached to this habit that her thumb is wrinkled now, and she pulls it out of her mouth momentarily to examine it. She is distracted by the ants, who have been moving steadily along a crack in the concrete steps. One of them is trying to go against the line traffic, abdomens bumping against each other in their haste. She can feel the ant’s confusion, can hear the high pitched laughter of the other ants as they push past him, even though they have no idea where they’re going, either.

    The child taps her feet to the tune of her own heart beat. Her stringy gold hair hangs in front of her face as she listens, and her little hands rest carelessly in her lap, like the shoes she kicked off in the grass and has already forgotten about. By tomorrow morning they will be soaked with rain. Suddenly she sees a leaf break free from a tree branch. She rushes forward, trying to catch it before it hits the ground, but she is too late, and the leaf lands with an inaudible thump in the grass. The child hopes it didn’t hurt.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Laura,

      I’m so impressed with your practice. I love the description of the ants “abdomens bumping against each other.” I like that you use “abdomens” instead of “stomachs.” And the way she notices the ant going in the opposite direction, the high pitched laughter of the other ants–it’s a brilliant way to imply what is going on in her life. Very subtle.

      “She rushes forward, trying to catch it before it hits the ground, but she is too late, and the leaf lands with an inaudible thump in the grass. The child hopes it didn’t hurt. ” What an interesting child! She’s obviously hurt and extremely compassionate, but I like how you tell us this subtly.

    • Hannah

      I love this! :D. I love the part about her tapping to the “tune of her own heartbeat” and when “the leaf lands with an inaudible thump in the grass”. Oh, and “the child hopes it didn’t hurt”. Brilliant, and oh so sweet, a wonderful little story of childhood innocence. It makes me want to cry, at the beauty of course. :).

    • Pedro

      This is beautiful….I totally loved how you took us into the shoes of the child in one swoop sentence.

    • Kiki Stamatiou

      This is such a beautiful portrait of childhood, filled with curiosity and innocence. Beautiful imagery throughout this piece. Thank you for allowing your readers to be a participant in the experience.

  3. Susan May

    Joe, I think Abraham Lincoln said it best with this, my very favourite quote, which is laminated and up on my wall. It could have been written for authors.

    I do the very best I know how-the very best I can; and mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

    — Abraham Lincoln

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I’m not sure I fully understand this quote. Is he saying we should worry about the results and work to achieve the best results possible? Or is he saying we shouldn’t worry about the results, just do our best?

    • Susan May

      I choose to think he is saying, follow your path and stay true to it and ignore what everyone else says because it may mean nothing in the end, good or bad. But I see what you are saying.

    • Joe Bunting

      I like that. I’ll choose to think that too.

  4. Laura

    I can always count on you to give straightforward and good natured advice, and I must say this is one of your best. Seriously, every writer should read this!

    Also, here’s my response to the practice:

    A child sits on the front steps, sucking her thumb. She is so attached to this habit that her thumb is wrinkled now, and she pulls it out of her mouth momentarily to examine it. She is distracted by the ants, who have been moving steadily along a crack in the concrete steps. One of them is trying to go against the line traffic, abdomens bumping against each other in their haste. She can feel the ant’s confusion, can hear the high pitched laughter of the other ants as they push past him, even though they have no idea where they’re going, either.

    The child taps her feet to the tune of her own heart beat. Her stringy gold hair hangs in front of her face as she listens, and her little hands rest carelessly in her lap, like the shoes she kicked off in the grass and has already forgotten about. By tomorrow morning they will be soaked with rain. Suddenly she sees a leaf break free from a tree branch. She rushes forward, trying to catch it before it hits the ground, but she is too late, and the leaf lands with an inaudible thump in the grass. The child hopes it didn’t hurt.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Laura,

      I’m so impressed with your practice. I love the description of the ants “abdomens bumping against each other.” I like that you use “abdomens” instead of “stomachs.” And the way she notices the ant going in the opposite direction, the high pitched laughter of the other ants–it’s a brilliant way to imply what is going on in her life. Very subtle.

      “She rushes forward, trying to catch it before it hits the ground, but she is too late, and the leaf lands with an inaudible thump in the grass. The child hopes it didn’t hurt. ” What an interesting child! She’s obviously hurt and extremely compassionate, but I like how you tell us this subtly.

  5. Rosanna

    It’s true, writer’s block isn’t a bad thing if we see it for what it is. It could actually be a writing detox!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Right, Rosanna. A prick to explore yourself for wounds and frustrations.

  6. Rosanna

    It’s true, writer’s block isn’t a bad thing if we see it for what it is. It could actually be a writing detox!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Right, Rosanna. A prick to explore yourself for wounds and frustrations.

  7. Diana trautwein

    She is scrambling up towards two with ferocious intensity, full of life and laughter, energy and will. Her crazy wild hair sometimes sits quietly encased in rubber bands or barrettes – but never for long. She cannot abide being contained – any part of her. So up go the hands and out slide the holders – and the hair swings every which way once again.

    “NanaPoppy, NanaPoppy, NanaPoppy!” she cries every Wednesday morning, happy to see us, pushing us into one long happy word. She rushes over to the stroller to check on the ‘babies,’ one an old Cabbage Patch infant, the other a Sesame Street character – a Zoe she insists on calling Abby. “You okay?” she asks, bending over the side. “You okay?”

    Then it’s off to the toy bins. Ah yes, the doctor kit, bought for her bigger sister when we kept her a few years ago. Mama and Dada are doctors, so let’s pretend for a while, shall we? The pieces that make noises are her favorites – the beeper, the telephone, and the stethoscope, with is dublubing fake heartbeat or its hacking mini-cough buttons. She loves them all, the more the merrier.

    The books are a big draw, too – and once again, the noisier, the better. There’s the one that plays “Old MacDonald” as you move around the barnyard. Or the one that plays one of six lullabies as you study the night sky with Grover. Or her personal favorite, the small plastic booklet with a button to push on each page, each one offering a phrase from “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Sadly, those buttons are not as efficient as they once were. And she looks at me, with a pained and puzzled expression: “It broke?” Yes, sweetheart, it’s broken. Things get broken in this life.

    She loves, loves, LOVES to eat. A little of this and a little of that. Yogurt – why, yes, please. But I’d also like to hold a graham cracker in my hand while you feed me – and could you have a little fresh fruit to cleanse the palate, while we’re at it?

    Sleeping – well, that’s another story entirely. Not her favorite activity and she resists it for all she’s worth! I take her onto our large bed, covered with small squeezable toys and slowly, she settles down for a nap, usually late morning. And I love watching her sleep. All that energy contained and stilled for a small piece of time. Stretching toward the edge of the bed, secure in the knowledge that I am here to rescue her should she start to fall.

    And that’s fifteen minutes….(actually 13, but I’m done and I need lunch.) For a peek at this wonder – check out this post from last summer: http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2011/06/five-minute-friday-wonder.html

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you for giving us this portrait of your granddaughter (I’m assuming). It sounds like you love her, but from the energetic excitable way you describe her–“She rushes over to the stroller to check on the ‘babies;'” “the noisier, the better”–I think I would be the one to need a nap.

      This was very funny: “a little fresh fruit to cleanse the palate.”

      And the image I take away from the whole thing is this, “the hair swings every which way once again.” Great bit of detail.

    • Diana trautwein

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Joe. Yes, she is indeed our granddaughter – the last of 8 grandkids and only the 2nd girl. We waded through 8 boys first, the eldest is 20 now. So it’s grand fun to have a baby around again. But you are right on target, I DO need a nap when she’s around! You’ll note that I very cagily began the practice of napping her on our big bed. Heh heh. That way I can at least doze with one hand on her ankle. And the hair is probably the first and last thing you’d notice about this crazy kid – it is wild.

    • Joe Bunting

      That is quite a few boys.

      The way you describe her reminds me a bit like my nieces. So wild. Thank goodness for grandparents.

    • Hannah

      Love it. :). And its true. Things do get broken in this life, haha, Bon Jovi said that didn’t he? Quoting from the king of the eighties hair bands, are we? :). But yes, things do get broken in this life and sometimes we figure this out at too young an age… much too young of age… Sigh, this is really good. Gosh, you guys make me feels so inadequate, with your obviously superior writing skills. Good job though, very good job. :).

    • pastordt

      Hannah – your poem is lovely – no worries about skills here. I no longer post in this space – it got way too big for me, cuz I’m a small-time writer. Thanks for your comments on this long ago posting! That granddaughter is now almost 4 and is dealing with a chronic auto-immune disorder that requires heavy-duty medication. However, not even that keeps her down! She is irrepressible and adorable and feisty as all get out. And that will serve her well as she learns to live within the confines of this disease. She no longer stays with us, except for special occasions, as she has been loving preschool for the last year or so. Many blessings as you pursue your writing. Joe’s place is a grand place to try you hand for a while.

  8. Diana trautwein

    She is scrambling up towards two with ferocious intensity, full of life and laughter, energy and will. Her crazy wild hair sometimes sits quietly encased in rubber bands or barrettes – but never for long. She cannot abide being contained – any part of her. So up go the hands and out slide the holders – and the hair swings every which way once again.

    “NanaPoppy, NanaPoppy, NanaPoppy!” she cries every Wednesday morning, happy to see us, pushing us into one long happy word. She rushes over to the stroller to check on the ‘babies,’ one an old Cabbage Patch infant, the other a Sesame Street character – a Zoe she insists on calling Abby. “You okay?” she asks, bending over the side. “You okay?”

    Then it’s off to the toy bins. Ah yes, the doctor kit, bought for her bigger sister when we kept her a few years ago. Mama and Dada are doctors, so let’s pretend for a while, shall we? The pieces that make noises are her favorites – the beeper, the telephone, and the stethoscope, with is dublubing fake heartbeat or its hacking mini-cough buttons. She loves them all, the more the merrier.

    The books are a big draw, too – and once again, the noisier, the better. There’s the one that plays “Old MacDonald” as you move around the barnyard. Or the one that plays one of six lullabies as you study the night sky with Grover. Or her personal favorite, the small plastic booklet with a button to push on each page, each one offering a phrase from “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Sadly, those buttons are not as efficient as they once were. And she looks at me, with a pained and puzzled expression: “It broke?” Yes, sweetheart, it’s broken. Things get broken in this life.

    She loves, loves, LOVES to eat. A little of this and a little of that. Yogurt – why, yes, please. But I’d also like to hold a graham cracker in my hand while you feed me – and could you have a little fresh fruit to cleanse the palate, while we’re at it?

    Sleeping – well, that’s another story entirely. Not her favorite activity and she resists it for all she’s worth! I take her onto our large bed, covered with small squeezable toys and slowly, she settles down for a nap, usually late morning. And I love watching her sleep. All that energy contained and stilled for a small piece of time. Stretching toward the edge of the bed, secure in the knowledge that I am here to rescue her should she start to fall.

    And that’s fifteen minutes….(actually 13, but I’m done and I need lunch.) For a peek at this wonder – check out this post from last summer: http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2011/06/five-minute-friday-wonder.html

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you for giving us this portrait of your granddaughter (I’m assuming). It sounds like you love her, but from the energetic excitable way you describe her–“She rushes over to the stroller to check on the ‘babies;'” “the noisier, the better”–I think I would be the one to need a nap.

      This was very funny: “a little fresh fruit to cleanse the palate.”

      And the image I take away from the whole thing is this, “the hair swings every which way once again.” Great bit of detail.

    • Diana trautwein

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Joe. Yes, she is indeed our granddaughter – the last of 8 grandkids and only the 2nd girl. We waded through 8 boys first, the eldest is 20 now. So it’s grand fun to have a baby around again. But you are right on target, I DO need a nap when she’s around! You’ll note that I very cagily began the practice of napping her on our big bed. Heh heh. That way I can at least doze with one hand on her ankle. And the hair is probably the first and last thing you’d notice about this crazy kid – it is wild.

    • Joe Bunting

      That is quite a few boys.

      The way you describe her reminds me a bit like my nieces. So wild. Thank goodness for grandparents.

  9. Robyn

    I didn’t do the practice for this (yet!) but this post did help me to finally write on my blog that I’ve been neglecting. (You can check it out here http://evermind.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/this-post-isnt-perfect/) Thank you so much for posting this, it kind of hit me in the face… but in a good way. 🙂

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Wow cool. Thank you so much for letting me know it helped.

      And any time you need slapping in the face, you just let me know, kay? 🙂

    • Joe Bunting

      Wow cool. Thank you so much for letting me know it helped.

      And any time you need slapping in the face, you just let me know, kay? 🙂

  10. rain

    Wow…this is amazing. I love your site. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you rain. That’s quite a compliment considering how beautiful your blog is.

  11. rain

    Wow…this is amazing. I love your site. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you rain. That’s quite a compliment considering how beautiful your blog is.

  12. Hannah

    The Child by Hannah E. Reed
    The rounded hemisphere of his head seemed soft and slightly
    deformed, a formation waiting to happen, brain matter oozing and molding
    together, a skull hardening and becoming thicker. His innocence would be lost
    when this transformation reached its incision, but, for now, his eyes were big,
    big and full of wonder, inhaling the world with every blink and reopen, every
    door, a portal; every room, a realm. He took everything in, gobbling it up,
    savoring it in his mouth, down his throat, into his tummy, until it finally left
    his digestion through the excrements of a short attention span. And then he
    would pause, puffing out air from his sliver of lips, and return to his game, a
    type of play with no plot or absolute purpose, but simply for the sake of play,
    for something so misunderstood, so preliminary, so congenital that organized
    language hasn’t found a word to explain it. But he knew what to call it, he
    knew the word, a made up word manifest from kiddie jargon, a child’s imagination:
    Sporackle, yes that was the word. “Sporackle,” the child giggled through a baby
    tooth lisp. “Sporackle.”

    Written by Hannah E. Reed, please all rights reserved or however one beholds a copyright. This is definitely one of the best things I’ve written in a while. Thank you, Mr. Bunting, thank you for helping me realize that I don’t have to be perfect. :). Thank you.

    Reply
  13. wolfgang

    the boy sits on the stairs outside, hands over his ears muffling the sound of the yelling coming from inside the apartment. even from out here he can still hear them. he’s become invisible to them, to the world, to himself. the louder the shouting the more withdrawn he becomes. he’s still sitting outside in his paper-thin white shirt when the police arrive, and they too don’t notice the boy as he sits there, becoming one with the stairs. nobody notices the tears burning across his red cheeks. nobody notices when he walks away and leaves, vowing to never let his children go through the same trials and tribulations as he.

    Reply
  14. Annie

    Sophia runs to me, open arms, grinning a grin that stretches from ear to ear. Everything about her exudes joy. When she reaches me, I take her in my arms like I always do and hug her as if doing so will preserve her in this state of innocence.

    “Ms. Annie!” she exclaims. “Look at what I made today at school!” she pulls a crinkled paper from her backpack which has painted on it a princess wearing a crown who is twirling a fairy wand.

    Oh to see the world with rose colored glasses the way that Sophia does. To live in a world where there are fairy princesses and everyone treats everyone with kindness. For a split second she takes me back to that world; the world I used to know in my childhood. But then I remember that I no longer live there and soon she too will have to move as well. I want to protect her from any and all heartbreak she may face and though saddened I am that doing such a thing is not only an impossibility but would rob her of her chance to grow and mature into the lovely woman I know she will become, we still have today. Today she will smile at the knock-knock joke she made up. Today she will befriend the lonely child who sits by himself. Today we will marvel at her fairy princess finger painting because today Sophia knows nothing of the cruelness of the world and that can wait till tomorrow.

    Reply
  15. Kiki Stamatiou

    Prompt #14: The Heart Of A Child Is Pure (They Have Only Love To Give)
    By Kiki Stamatiou a. k. a. Joanna Maharis

    She has the face of an angel. On her second birthday party, my family and I were invited to my help my little cousin celebrate. She was dressed in a frilly dress, and would twirl around with her little plastic scepter singing Let It Go, the title song from the movie Frozen. This little one walked around from table to table with her mommy to greet all the guests at her party, and pose for pictures when asked to do so by the rest of the loved ones.

    Her singing voice brought so much joy to my heart, especially coming
    from a little tyke.

    This past Easter she wore a pretty white dress over a lovely white coat, all full of smiles, with her hair done up, wearing her cute little glasses. She is a little princess in the heart of all in my family and all who know her.

    There is another little girl whose family is close friends with my family. She is now a young lady of thirteen years old. I remember being with her family in the hospital when she was born. I went to the hospital with my aunt and grandmother. Her father handed her over to me to hold. She had the most beautiful smile from the first time I ever laid eyes on her. We all watched her grow up to become a teenager who gets good grades in school. I am so proud of her for who she has become. I’m amazed at what she has accomplished academically, what with always being on the honor roll.

    I remember her participating in the Girl Scouts when she was younger. Aside from being a great student, she is a talented artist, and seamstress. One day I know she will utilize her talents to accomplish great things.

    Throughout history, there have been many children who have accomplished great things. One in particular was Mrs. Shirley Temple Black. She was three or four years old when she starred in her first motion picture. Aside from being an outstanding actress, she was a brilliant singer, dancer, and Ambassador.

    Children are so soothing to be around, because they bring such joy to the world. They are the ones who will make tremendous advances in society as they grow up and reach adulthood.

    When I was a child, my brothers and I often had puppet shows and performed in skits and play we wrote with our cousins and closest friends for our families.

    Children have such a wide range of an imagination. During childhood I remember thinking about all the possibilities in the world.

    The fabric of time commences once a youth becomes an adult, but he sets forth the foundation to build something even greater for the next generations to come after him.

    The heart of a child is pure. Honesty floats through their veins, because they have no vengeance towards anyone. For they have nothing but love to give.

    © Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015

    Reply
  16. Karley

    Her impressionable, delicate mind was incapable of comprehending the words spewing from the teacher’s mouth. Unentertained, she attempted to retreat to the other side of the room where an interesting toy had caught her eye. The teacher abruptly squashed her prerogative.
    “Do not walk away from me”, the teacher cautioned strictly.as she waved her domineering finger. It waved and it shook in front of Bethany’s confused adolescent face.
    “Do as you have been instructed!”
    Bethany stood dumbly. She didn’t understand what the lady wanted from her. She fiddled with the lace on her dress for a few moments before glancing up to see if the coast was clear.
    It wasn’t. Mrs. Stanley’s impatient foot tapped loudly. Bethany guessed all that tapping made her tired because she finally let out a huff and stomped back to her desk. Relieved, Bethany gleefully sprinted for the doll she had seen minutes ago.
    Finally, it was time to play.

    Reply
  17. kim

    I was in the shower this morning and was thinking about what tv show to watch suddenly a thought come into my head that midsomer murder would be good viewing for the night , the next thing I knew I was distracted by loud noises from the other room like somebody was ransacking and rummaging around the house , As I rubbed my hand removing the steam from the glass recess there was a lock on the door, pushing the glaas backwards and forwards the perspect door wouldnt open until I finally jilted the lock off its hasp . .Turning off the taps I finally rushed to get myself dried and quickly wrapped a dressing gown around me sneakily opening the door I felt scared there was stuff all over the place in a mess with no sign of the burglar all there was that I could see , was a cat outside the window .

    Reply
  18. TJ Kredo

    It is fabled that fairies are born from a babys first laugh.

    imagine that… a fairys whole magical minxy existance brought forth by the first
    laughter of a baby human.

    Hu man. Hu is the ancient sanskrit word for God. It was intoned into the spiritual
    men and women at the time when guteral words were put down and in a silent
    meditative space of meditation the heavens intoned language into the Humans.

    Hu Man means God Man. If Hu Man means God Man then what does Hu mor
    mean? …more God.?

    I have many things to be thankful for that came from my exhusband but the two
    outstanding things is my son and the humor, laughter, and continous ‘tee hees’
    that were present every day in every way throughout our married family life. It was
    common place to laugh and find humor and to gaffaw outloud. All three of us.

    My baby was born in England. We would travel to London via the train from
    Northampton, which took two hours, every so often, for shopping, food, and a
    museum experience. On this particular day, my young toddler in his pushchair, my
    mother from America, and I a trophy wife boarded a train to London to get my son
    and I’s passports updated at the Embassy. As the train rolled into Euston Station,
    everybody was calm, and relaxed as we succumbed to the traveling. We
    transfered and manage the escalators down and then around the rabbit warren-
    like tunnels that is The Underground.

    Aboard the Underground, the other occupants were in pressed suits, and polished
    shoes, quietly reading newspapers and abiding by the unspoken English code of
    ‘mind your own business’. The three of us fitted in perfectly as we took our seats
    along the long row of seats that spanned end to end of the carriage. In the middle
    of the carriage is where the poles were placed for people that stood and then little
    strap handles that hung from the roof of the carriage. These strap handles
    dangled actually.

    My son giggled aloud. I turned to him and my mother to see what their interaction
    was about. My sons eyes locked on to mine. His eyes shimmered while he was
    grinning. The carriage rocked and rolled side to side. He giggled again. I
    hesitantly looked around to see the faces looking down into their papers. My son
    giggled again. A hearty giggle. My mother looked at Jake this time to see what he
    was amused by. He giggled and cooed into the silent repect that was the carriage.
    The carriage rolled and rocked and Jake giggled heartily. I couldnt help but smile
    too. I noticed my mother smiling. and people were now looking up from their
    papers to see what I was doing to this baby to make him giggle. But, I haven’t
    moved a muscle. Jake laughed now. I looked around intently now to see who was
    making my boy laugh. Jake giggled again, totaly transfixed by something and I
    wanted to join in, but not getting the joke. Jake laughed and giggled louder. I
    turned to my mom, who was shaking her head and shrugging her shoulders as to
    say nonverbally “I don’t know.” Jake was laughing away now, on his own, with the
    whole carriage of people in wonder and smiling as this toddler filled the silence
    with giggles and laughs that only a baby could do. and it was getting me to giggle
    aloud. I looked around and finaly saw what Jake was looking at and giggling at. A
    whole ceiling of handle straps swaying to and fro as the train rocked and rolled.

    I reached up and swatted at one of the handles. Jake lost it to laughter as he
    laughed between catching his breath. All eyes were on Jake now. Some folks
    were giggling. Some folks were laughing, from their bellys, moving from beneath
    their starched shirts. I swatted the strap handle again. Jake laughed and the
    whole carriage followed in laughter and giggles. Everybodys eyes darted around
    the carriage to see everybody else smiling, giggling, and laughing. Jake continued
    to laugh at the sight of strap handles jiggling to the movement of the carriage on
    the tracks. Then the straps came to a stop. The others laughing came to a natural
    stop, as the train came into the platform and stopped and the doors opened.
    Peopled filled in and out and the precious moment of a babys laugh leading us all
    into jovialness was gone. But, I as a Mom, am still giggling.

    Reply
  19. grantburkhardt

    My old, depressed apartment complex had a big pool. It was shaped like a corner office and on a Thursday morning in August I walked from my silent apartment – my very silent apartment – to my usual seat alongside the water. I did not work until later in the day so I always had time in the morning to read alone while everyone else worked at their normal jobs and came home to their noisy homes at some time before midnight.

    I opened this book, The Invisible Bridge, which I liked but was taking two thousand of my years to read. The woman, Klara, was a dream. The man, Andras, reminded me of someone. The characters, in love, traveled to Nice for a weekend and in those passages I could feel the warm sea water on my ankles.

    Reading, I was close enough to the pool that I could have dipped my toes in without leaving my chair. I had little interest in getting in the water, though. It was perfectly still and it was too early in the morning to feel uncomfortable. I’d reread a few pages to get back into the solemn, post-bombing mood of the book, and as I did a family joined me in the pool area. A boy of maybe ten years bounded through the wooden, swinging door first, tearing his shirt off as he jumped in the water and sent waves all the way around the L-shaped pool, down to where I sat. Behind him a young mother with ashen skin cradled a lumpy blue bag in her left hand and a two-year-old girl in her right. She set the child down in a chair and put the bag on the table, spilling out its contents, most of which were the girl’s toy blocks. She didn’t seem very interested in what was in front of her. The mother sat next to her, pulled her knees into her chest so that none of her was off the chair, and opened a tabloid magazine.

    The boy splashed around in the pool for a while longer, swimming from one short side of the pool to the other and back again. He was not a very graceful swimmer. Most boys aren’t. He was determined, though. He slapped at the water more than he moved through it. All this time the little girl watched him, neglecting the tie-dye structures she could have been building.

    The boy lifted himself out of the pool and sat on the edge of the shallow end, leaning back on his hands and dangling his legs in the water. Mom shifted in her chair to grab the blue bag. She rummaged around near the bottom. Looking at her made me feel strange, so I had returned to Andras and Klara but I still heard what she said to her son.

    “Tyler watch your sister for five minutes while mommy smokes a cigarette.”

    She removed a white and red pack from below her daughter’s toys and went back through the wooden swinging door. She disappeared around the corner.

    Klara had just finished teaching Andras how to drive. He was much younger than she, and although this does not make him a bad driver he was one anyway. He hit every bump and every hole, but after a while he managed to keep the old car on the road. It was a lovely thing, I thought, to learn something so small from someone you love.

    They retired to their rented weekend home overlooking the sea, and as they were laying in each other’s arms keeping each other company, SPLASH.

    “Mom!”

    The girl had crawled over the edge of the pool and tumbled face-first into the water. Tyler jumped in after her. He grabbed her under the arms and hoisted her out into the air. The girl breathed and wailed. Mom raced around the corner and chucked her cigarette over the fence.

    “Oh my God! Tyler!”

    Her momentum almost took her into the pool, but she pulled up short and grabbed her daughter. She held her and smacked her on the back to help her get rid of any water in her throat or lungs. The girl burped a few times and then continued her single-pitched cries.

    “I told you to watch your sister!” she bellowed. “What were you doing? Why would you take your eyes off her when I explicitly told you to watch her?” She kept patting at her daughter, who was still shocked but was doing fine as far as I could tell.

    Tyler’s back was turned away from me and he’d put his forehead on the pool edge, but I could see his shoulders heaving. He mumbled a “sorry” but that sound was muffled by the water.

    All three of them were crying differently. I knew what the kids were feeling, I could imagine that, but I could not enter the mother’s brain for fear of feeling something foreign or getting lost there.

    “Tyler, we’re leaving!” she said. “My God why would you…My God! This is the last time we’re coming to the pool. Do you hear me?”

    Tyler had lifted himself, slower this time, out of the pool. He swung his legs around and stood up. He didn’t dry himself off. I didn’t see any towels. He slipped on his sandals and, head hung, he followed his mother and sister through the wooden, swinging door. They disappeared around the corner. All I wanted to do – all I still want to do – was to tell him that he was brave and that he did the right thing and that he should be proud.

    Reply
  20. Siteri Nadi

    I am so new at this but here goes. I welcome your critique…

    He has a mop full of curly black hair, big wide pools of innocent brown eyes and a cheeky heart-warming smile and at only two years old, he is undoubtedly the apple of my family’s eye.

    The youngest of my brother’s sons, he is named after our late grandfather, Josaia Rawada. We call him ‘Wada’ for short. Josaia or Rawada when we are trying to be stern with him. Stern. Ha!

    The funny thing is he speaks like an islander, like someone from Vanua Levu [the smaller of Fiji’s two main islands]. Which means he does not pronounce his ‘k’s’. So when he says a ‘k’ word like ‘Kerekere’ [Please], he says”ele’ele” and it is so funnily adorable.

    He loves to play and sing and dance. And hugs and chocolates and mango flavoured yogurt. Hugging dogs and feeding hens. And water. He loves water. To drink, to bathe in and shower under. A bucket full of water is his favourite place to be in.

    And when he gets ill it is like the whole world is one big dark cloud and incessant rain. Those are the days I do not want to have. But what can I do, sickness seems to be part of life. An unwanted unwelcome part but it is there nonetheless.

    Whenever he is around I cannot help feeling happy. And somehow full of a good feeling and I can believe in joy and that there is good in the world. And I can dream sweet dreams and there is still hope for me to achieve more and realise all my dreams.

    The world is like one giant rainforest full of towering good-natured trees and wild colourful smiling flowers. Exotic friendly animals guide and guard you on your way exploring valleys and mountains, dipping in streams and dreaming under endless stars.

    Innocence. That is what I have discovered again through his eyes. And a certain kind of knowing and understanding almost as if he was here before and is here again giving us a second chance. A second chance to do things better. To do things right.

    Reply
  21. Lele Lele

    She reads books. She reads a lot of books.

    The teachers love her. They would ask a question she would raise her hands before they even finish the sentence.

    She has perfect grades all over.

    When her parents, both dentists, would be busy at their practice she would hang out by the school library till the librarian forces her to go home. She would pout but being the good girl that she is she follows the commands anyways.

    She goes home. Nobody’s there. Mom and Dad left a note: Dear, sorry, busy at work, lots of appointments. She wonders why there would be appointments way past 7pm.

    She doesn’t really have any friends. She would help them with their homeworks. She would not let them copy hers but she would explain answers to them. They would scratch their heads then call her names then ignore her. She would see them struggling over simple arithmetic and she would gladly provide solutions but they glare at her and write the wrong answers on purpose. When she raises her hands to give her answer to very simple questions the teacher would ask she would feel them glaring daggers at her back.

    She turns to the teachers instead. She would ask them questions, pretend to laugh at their simple jokes. She’s smarter than them she could sense but compared to her simple classmates they’re geniuses. She has a new nickname. Teacher’s pet. She’s not a cat nor a dog and when she asks her teacher what that means the teacher smiles at her. Coming to class one day all her classmates are dead silent and all gives her the evil eye when she comes.

    Bored at the library one day she spots a book: Making Friends. She ignores it. For five minutes. Then curiosity took over her and she grabs it. She sneaks it out with the rest of her boring books hoping the librarian wouldn’t notice. She didn’t know why, but the librarian looked very sad when she took her books out. She asks what’s wrong and the librarian gives her a sad smile and thanks her for being such a good reader.

    She ignores the book for the moment. She cooks but the book claws at the back of her mind. She eats her eggs while reading biology. She takes a warm bath reading math. Almost by bedtime she forgot about it but she jerks awake and turns to read it. It has lots of advice that she didn’t understand. But it’s a book and books don’t lie so…

    She’s sleepy the morning. She’s late for class by one minute. The teacher has a disappointed look on his face. She wishes the ground would swallow her up. Her classmates sneer at her. As she take her seat she remembers one of the tips. She cracks a lame joke. They don’t laugh. They just ignore her.

    Be nice. So she helps them with their math problems. They just get angrier.

    Understand their feelings. She explains to them that she knows how their simple minds work. One of them throws an eraser at her.

    Be forgiving. She forgives them for making her life miserable. They laugh and sneer at her.

    She opens the book when the class ends. She reads the rest of the tips aloud. The walk past her. Can I be your friend? Oh a poem.

    She reads a poem.

    One of them glares at her and pushes her on the ground. She feels on mud her dress is dirty and her book is soaked.

    She cries.

    Reply
  22. Will

    The child lives in a noisy world. Shadows creep up on it wherever it stumbles. It is cold – the child’s lips are blue as its eyes, its limbs approaching a shade of purple. Its walk is frail, uneven; it takes one slow step after another. The wind’s assault against windows, and the whirl of great locomotives on the street, make a racket. The child is used to it.

    The child does not rest; it does not stop its slow but relentless trudge. One foot, then another – the child goes forward, even when no goal is visible. It does not look forward, only down. No one crosses its path. No concerned adult stops the child and swaddles it up. Nobody knows yet if the child can make it.

    The sky above is grey and clouded: a typical city in the winter-time. Yet no rain, sleet or snow impinges upon the child. Only the wind drags against it, but the child is too numb to feel it.

    The child strives for the place where the clouds above are parted. What lies hidden from them is a mystery.

    Reply
  23. Stephanie Warrillow

    I love to read things like this because it gives me advice and I get better as a write i can’t live with out this web sight now

    Reply
  24. Stephanie Warrillow

    This is my practice

    It was Michael’s sixth birthday he didn’t want toys. He just wanted a mummy someone to be there when he cried loved him no matter what. Someone would chase the monster that lived under his bed. He still remembered the day his mum and left him on his brothers door step. No good bye not even a hug his mum and dad walked away. His little dark green eyes had only known pain heartache and sorrow. Sitting on the step he thought about Gemma his old brother’s girlfriend she was always nice to him. She was always happy and gave him the mummy smile he had missed. He ran to her to show her his nice cloths and new hair style. Arms round her neck she made me feel loved and safe something he never felt in a long time

    Reply
  25. Stephanie Warrillow

    This is my practice any feed back would be very helpful to me

    It was Michael’s sixth birthday he didn’t want toys. All he wanted was to have a mummy someone who love him no what. Someone who would be there for him when cried and chase the monster away that lived under his bed.he still remembered the day his mum and dad left him standing in rain on his brothers door step.no good bye they didn’t give him hug they got in the car and drove away not looking back. As his brother looked at his little sad face his little dark green eyes had known nothing be pain heartache and sorrow. Wearing his nice jeans and shirt he sat by the window waiting on Gemma his brothers girlfriend. She always nice to him and she always chased the monster under his bed away. As she came into the hall he ran to her to show her his nice clothes and new hair style. As she picked him up and hugged him. He felt safe something he hadn’t felt in a long time.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. This post isn’t perfect. | Chased by Light - [...] It probably also has something to do with the fact that I want each blog post to be perfect…
  2. Lady Gaga and the Creation of A Persona | The Write Practice - [...] this week, we talked about how vulnerability is the secret to getting over writer’s block, not to mention the…
  3. Your Favorite Christmas Story | The Write Practice - [...] winner will then work with me to edit their piece to perfection (but since I don’t believe in perfection,…
  4. Writer’s Block? Try Getting Visual - […] Perfectionism and fear of failure […]
  5. Как научиться писать тексты. Подборка полезных ссылок и материалов.Для пишущих людей - […] https://thewritepractice.com/the-myth-of-perfection/ — перфекционизм убивает автора. […]
  6. This Fun Creative Writing Exercise Will Change Your Life - […] The creative writing exercise I’m going to talk about in this post is designed specifically to combat that kind of…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Say Yes to Practice

Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts:

Popular Resources

Books By Our Writers

Box of Shards
- K.M. Hotzel
A Shadow Stained in Blood
- Ichabod Ebenezer
Headspace
- J. D. Edwin
5
Share to...