I should not be so afraid of imperfect work — even work I myself think of as imperfect. I should only be “afraid” of leaving NO work. Perfect/imperfect — this is up to the gods — or whatever it is that arranges the constellation of times and sympathies in which judgments are forged. Times and sympathies change. So sometimes do judgments. The only thing I control is whether or not my work gets made. My only charge is to be sure the work is there at all, to witness.

Like the pyroclastic flow that rushed down from Vesuvius to engulf the citizens of Pompeii, the pencil lead sifts relentlessly down through analytic thought, and settles in every crease of the Story idea, immobilizing its sense for careful inspection.

No work? No judgment! But judgment was never the point. So: no work = no answer. Judgment — or the fear of judgment, or the mindfulness or anticipation of judgment — wasn’t the point of the Work. But in a strange and self-destructive way it can become the Work. My bad habit is my natural inclination to devolve into analysis. When I do, a different Story takes hold. Judgment becomes an antagonistic force that, like any dutiful antagonist, catalyses action, or steers [passive] drifting. Judgment has its place — but it is not a good ingredient for beginnings. Judgment kills things that are trying to become.

My head is analytical this way. It argues: it sets up straw men and comes at them with lances which might be long, lit matches or might just be pencils, shedding their leads, in miles and pounds of very, very fine grey dust, like volcanic ash, falling and falling, lightly and densely, on tattered, unfinished, imperfect cities of Story, burying the live impulses that animated them.

Like the pyroclastic flow that rushed down from Vesuvius to engulf the citizens of Pompeii, the pencil lead sifts relentlessly down through analytic thought, and settles in every crease of the Story idea, immobilizing its sense for careful inspection. This dark stuff, as weightless as shadow until amassed, petrifies around the ephemeral, original impulse, duly and precisely preserves a record of it, but supplants the promise of the original, actual living Story with sad and secret, perfect castings, and leaves behind just hidden voids. And the living stories that once shaped these voids will themselves have dissipated and disappeared.

Someone — or no-one — may someday come along and crack these molds, Under distant, future suns, a pick-ax might flash, might come down. Its point would dig in, its weight, its heft might be sufficient and sufficiently precise to dothe job. Its angle –the line, the vector of its Force — and the point of impact are atomically specific. The cast cracks under the blow. It falls open and the void is revealed. Its inner contours are opened to living eyes, and return that reflected light upon which Eyes are engineered to depend for their work. Story is exposed as its inverse, tragically inscrutable. Unless then-modern eyes (of that long distant future) have evolved to read these surfaces directly, to infer from each dent and protrusion the direct expression of Story, of sensual particulars, of Gardner’s unbroken dream, of McKee’s gaps (where, he says, Story is).

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