I have a confession to make.
I published an imperfect book.
Why do I tell you this?
Because, if I’m honest, it’s a bit of a jubilant thing for me.
I am so much a perfectionist that I miss sometimes the whimsy, the messy and out-of-place pieces of life for what they really are: reflections of reality. I am known to take things too seriously, not laugh enough, not cut myself any slack.
I had a vision when I set out to piece together the history of my family’s small business. That vision, after a year and a half, is nearly realized. Bucky’s: Stories and Recollections from 50 Years in Business, is finished. Soon a box of what I hope to be beautifully crafted books will arrive. The moment of truth awaits on the doorstep.
Will this book be loved by those who have a stake in it? Will it be treasured by those who have already purchased a copy?
Even with its surefire blemishes – certainly there is a comma missing here, a missed paragraph indent here – I am daring enough to think so. I am also daring enough to say there is no such thing as a perfect book – because there is no such thing as a perfect human or a perfect life – and that, in the end, it doesn’t matter.
You know why?
Because the readers of this book will focus on the meat of the thing – the language and the real-life stories that have stitched together a half-century of awe and struggle in a slice of small town America.
The readers will see past the missed commas and indents and any other small slight to what really matters: lasting stories that are communicated on the page, a shared dialogue.
A writer can work and work and work on a book and still, it will never be fully ready to enter the world. It’s a bit like having kids: you’re never truly ready to become a parent.
But at some point, you set aside your fear and insecurities, the need for everything to be just so, and you say a prayer and you jump.
If you can look beyond the missing comma, the stray hair – or, staying with the parent metaphor, the kitchen floor that is sticky with spilled orange juice – you will see a bigger, messier and more beautiful picture that is entirely worth embracing.
You might smile to yourself, allow yourself a sweet deep breath and think, “Yes. This, this is worth it.”