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Coda: The Work of Making Things

Coda: The Work of Making Things

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't

you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write

W. S. MERWIN, FROM “BERRYMAN”

The secret to the work of making things is courage—the quality of mind or spirit that enables us to face fear. What we fear when we try to make a thing is that we don't have the ability to do it, that we're not good enough, that no matter how hard we try, we might come up short. To combat this we naturally turn toward overachieving: adding to what we would normally and naturally do in making the thing. Or we fear revealing too much, and we carefully watch what we write to stay within the boundaries we've made up to keep ourselves safe.


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