Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yet More on Perfectionism: meds & poems & fear

I remember my post here about Kristin Prevallet's [I, Afterlife].*  I was sleeping maybe two hours a night by Fall 2008, and searching the streets of Manhattan for one prescription for one antidepressant I knew would help. Of course I had no insurance.

The story had a happy ending with me getting the pills (outpatient), and accepting, finally, I had to stay on them, or similar. Between the meds and being laid off, more woolly baa-ing sheep have frolicked in my bedroom in the past two years than romped in my crib (of the variety harboring infants).

Enter perfectionism, Stage Right.  My past two or so postings, by me, showed me refusing to finish one novel and two novellas, my perfectionism being a manifestation of a fear (of not being perfect or "God's perfect child" as Barbara Wilson wrote in her memoir God's Perfect Child about her Christian Science childhood).

Back to the pills.  Now that I had them I where should I store them?   I've debated--since I my twenties--delivery systems to guarantee I took daily vitamins.  Why not buy a rectangular Monday-through-Sunday pill box available at my friendly pharmacy? I'd been studying them over the years but found one far too capacious for my puny intake; another just not cute enough or too plastic or the wrong color or colors.

The above debate ended a few months ago. On a Sunday morning I shook out seven antidepressants and slapped them on the dusty top of my cranky refrigerator, then ingested one. There were six left, each of which disappeared into my waiting mouth, one-at-a-time, Monday, Tuesday and so on through Saturday. The system is no fail and has helped to regularize my vitamin takeage.

When interviewed on Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg said:
I remember I was thinking, yesterday in fact, there was a time that I was absolutely astounded because Kerouac told me that in the future literature would consist of what people actually wrote rather than what they tried to deceive other people into thinking they wrote, when they revised it later on. [Ginsberg]
Of course Ginsberg is referring to our Utopian future in Shangri LaOn the Road was a ten-year edit.  Ginsberg's poetry wasn't "automatic."  I continue to write and print out, edit, input, print out, edit, rewrite, edit, print . . . my poems and stories. And of course there's me and my pills.

I know I'm not the shining light of the poetry world, fiction world, of pretty much any world. Maybe I'd have published more earlier if I were less fearful (because that is what perfectionism is, fear . . . of mistakes, scorn, dismissal...). 

Regardless of output which is no measure of quality, I'd have lived less fearfully if I was a bit more of a perfectionism conqueror. A less fearful life?

Who deserves anything less. 

*Click on the link to read Lovingarms's posting on Kristin Prevallet's [I, Afterlife]

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