“There are no mistakes, just efforts.”
— Herbert Kohl, “Painting Chinese”.
Reminds me of the painter Robert Motherwell’s saying that all his paintings begin with a series of mistakes, corrected by emotion. And I’d add corrected by instincts or an aesthetic curiosity – what if I placed a thin line next to this blotch? Why? Just because. It feels good. It feels right.
Corrected by our lives, by this rough day that was. By my divorce. By my father’s suicide.
These efforts, not right or wrong but these impulses. I see the little boy, Perry, talking to his mother on the pink phone – it was a hint that rose up and then I just went with it. I incorporated it into the narrative.
Part of my loving order in my wee piece of the universe, and a danger, is that with this is an unspoken dictum that things must be right not wrong. Perfect. Just so.
I see now my years since a failed marriage, a slowed to faltering acting career, a life that might appear superfluous and of little renown or importance, is just this:
Mistakes, so many, that are now not right or wrong but are my life, my lives. Ego wants things right, perfect, achieved and my soul, full of instincts, surprise, and hints, says, Nuh-uh. Fail. Fail better. Get lost. Get little. Get so small that I may leak into the ordinary and join the light and the earth.
Actor friend Michael O’Neill thrives on ‘mistakes’ on stage – because they are so real, for the audience and the actor – and allow us entrance into the unknown, the unexpected, surprises and sometimes depth.
Perfection, being right, order from chaos, very tricky stuff: an ideal that brings a tightening, a hardening, an unyielding demand.
The mistake – like surprise – lets God in.