If there’s something I’ve discovered about myself, it’s that I often don’t like when I have to stop daydreaming and actually get some work done. The comparison essay between Stitches and Spinning was dauntingly long, not to mention there was the added element of Hillary Chute’s essay. Nevertheless, the challenge was one I was able to overcome with the right amount of time and energy.
I discovered afterwards, however, that I wasn’t completely happy with the end result. I’d gotten something down, and yeah, I talked a lot about all three of the required works, not to mention went on a little rant of my own, but it somehow didn’t all fit together. Another painful truth? Sometimes rewriting and cutting entire paragraphs is necessary for the overall integrity of the piece. None of these are necessary “fun” realities, but they allow me to learn and grow, so that the next time I know what I’m doing a little more, and each time after that, until I’m confident enough in my ability that I can move on. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the process of looking at two separate drafts and breaking down what might make one better than the other. If I can figure out how I managed to improve my writing, then I can do it again and again, and my writing will slowly begin to get better.
Both the books I spent so much time writing about were nothing short of works of art, and the authors to be admired. They were also great examples of what we can do with comics as a medium, and what we can say about trauma as a central subject. It also taught us a lot about nonverbal storytelling, and weaving themes discreetly without being overt, all of which are abilities that can (and hopefully will) be applied to all kinds of writing.
I think it’s good to not get things entirely right on the first try sometimes, or on the second. It reminds us not to let our guards down and to always keep moving forward, to never get comfortable in one place if we know we can be better. Mistakes challenge us to improve, and reach higher towards other goals that we might have never achieved had we been lulled into a content dance with mediocrity.