The question was simple yet profound. A question that only a mature and experienced mind could conjure up. I racked my brain, searching for a response, but no matter how much I strained and probed, my brain could not assemble a coherent answer. Eventually, mental exhaustion had me concede that, despite the apparent simplicity of the question, it was actually complex.
It all began with an invitation to attend a virtual exhibition. As part of the build-up to the show, I was to participate in what I thought was a mundane obligatory let's get to know you interview. Obligatory? Yes. Mundane? No.
Maybe it was my imagination, but everything looked deliberately set up to intimidate. From the meticulous worker-bee-like technical support people to the interviewer. Authoritatively late, he gently placed himself on the seat and gracefully adjusted his glasses. Nothing was ordinary. I was intimidated and humbled yet uplifted to bask in the wisdom that only comes with longevity.
I gazed past his more salt-than-pepper hair into the camera lens, hoping to get hold of my nerves.
As I gazed, he solicited and probed and unassumingly sought answers. He dawdled as he built to more profound questions, and I bored deeper to respond. It was morphing into a soul-searching, life-changing interview. Hence, I was astonished that as deep as he was probing, he would ask what I thought was a shallow question.
How do you know when your work is complete?
Thinking I was in shallow waters, I jumped in only to realize that it was not as shallow as it seemed. Startled, my mouth and brain unsynced. My mouth started to blub out words before my brain could compile a logical thought. I ended up in a cul-de-sac.
I don't remember what I said, but certainly, the answer conjured up bordered; I don't know. How do I know that my work is complete?
I have pondered for months. When and why do I decide to press print, post, or publish? And is it, in truth, a sign of completion? I am still baffled by this question because completion, at least to me, equates to perfection. So, therefore the question becomes: is your work perfect?
I have written about the folly of perfection; how unachievable it is as we can continually improve what we have done. I decided to stop and publish this blog post at some point, but that doesn't mean my words, grammar, and thoughts are perfect. There are not. You may have already spotted flaws in my
prose or thought the same way I spotted and collected errors as I edited. But I did stop. I was satisfied with what I wrote, and I published it.
Satisfaction is not perfection and hence not completion.
Therefore, my answer to the question should have been a confession that all my work submitted, printed, published, or otherwise is incomplete. However, this is not a confession of inadequacy or dissatisfaction. Quite the opposite, I'm indubitably content with my work, but I know it is not perfect. There is room for improvement. As satisfied and confident as we are with our work, flaws still abound. It's a work in progress.