In my high school yearbook there’s a picture of folding chairs scattered on the gym’s varnished wood floor, the way they are after everyone leaves an assembly. Some chairs are still in rows, others twisted as if the person who sat there was turning as they stood up, and others completely out of line. The caption reads: The beginnings and endings of human efforts are messy.
I don’t know if that’s a quote, but I’ve always been struck by how true those words are. Ideas gather like metal fragments drawn to a magnet. The fragments cling as edges and ends connect with the magnet. The filings build up. Eventually, the magnetic connection is too weak to hold them all in place.
No matter what we’re doing, creative or necessary, we start with the image of the finished accomplishment. Painting a room? Building a shed? Writing a note of thanks or sympathy? Planning a party / shower / wedding / funeral. We pull ideas together and pat them into place, dropping the ones that don’t work. And then, we have it — whatever it is, — the idea is finished, accomplished, not quite what we had in mind at first, but done.
Messy, messy, messy. Compromise and acceptance. The way of life.