Befriending Imperfection

Hi Friends,

I'm home sick with a cold, my head all stuffed up.  My current job as a nanny brings me into constant contact with runny noses, coughs, and fevers...sigh.

I just wanted to share this passage from a book I'm reading entitled "The Long Loneliness" by former social activist and catholic, Dorothy Day.

She tells of a fan rushing up to her and asking, "Do you have ecstasies and visions?"  Day writes, "Poor dear, so hungry for a mystical experience, even if secondhand, after a long life of faith.  I was taken aback.  'Visions of unpaid bills,' I said abruptly."

I just love this common-sensical response!  It makes me laugh every time...

And here is a poem by Wallace Stevens...the line that haunts me is,
"The imperfect is our paradise.  Note that, in this bitterness, delight..."


Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations - one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.

Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one's torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.

There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

-Wallace Stevens

I have a student who loves to draw faces because none of them are perfectly symmetrical.  Imperfectly perfect, as she likes to say.  And I'll close with a self-portrait on the theme of imperfection...

self-portrait, thread and paper, 2010