James’s Blog: It’s Finished when it’s Finished.

I’ve been working on a short story recently. It’s a story based on a scene from a screenplay that I wrote, which in turn was based on a short story  that appeared in The Listening Book. It’s all very confusing.

One of the problems that I have when writing is knowing when something is finished. I imagine that other creators feel the same way. I can keep playing with a story indefinitely, like a cat with a dead mouse. I’ll cross out the word ‘stalked’ and replace it with ‘walked’, and then I’ll swap the order of two sentences. Two weeks later I’ll come back to the story and cross out the word ‘walked’ and replace it with ‘ambled’, and then I’ll put the sentences back in their original order.

I wonder if God went through a similar process when He created the world.  Was there a first draft where the sun was red and the grass was blue? A second draft where men didn’t have nipples? A third draft where He put the nipples back? But it’s finished when God declares that “…it is good.”

I know people who reject good things on the basis that they aren’t perfect. I think that the Church gets unfairly hammered with this a lot. Because someone somewhere did something bad in Jesus’ name, it justifies throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Perhaps it’s just an excuse really; it’s a way of being able to dismiss something that you’d prefer to dismiss, while at the same time making it look like you have the moral high ground. But doing something imperfectly is often better than doing nothing. No-one who moans about people doing something while they do nothing ever has the moral high ground.  When it comes to writing, and creating and the Church, ‘good’ can be good enough.

One thought on “James’s Blog: It’s Finished when it’s Finished.

  • August 26, 2016 at 10:22 am
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    When I was a 19 year old and working as a trainee manager for Sainsbury’s, I took it upon myself to alter a promotional display one afternoon in an attempt to impress my rather hard to impress branch manager – a late middle aged man, whose approach to management dated from the late Victorian era.
    He wasn’t impressed.
    What I hadn’t realised, as a very callow youth, was that the company whose items I’d removed from promotional display had paid Sainsbury’s a considerable sum of money to promote them.
    I received a very heavy duty telling off, and sulked.
    After about half an hour of me sulking, Mr Wagstaff approached me and poked me in the chest with a surprisingly strong index finger. ‘STOP SULKING, BOY!’ he boomed. ‘YOU’VE HAD A REBUKE BECAUSE YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG. GET OVER IT. IT’S NO PROBLEM. WHERE YOU AND ME WILL REALLY FALL OUT IS IF I HAVE TO REBUKE YOU FOR DOING NOTHING…….’
    Dear old Waggy taught me a valuable lesson there, I think.

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