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Chapter FOUR. Work in Progress

In our high-aspiration world, the focus is frequently on end points: the start of a great new project, filled with anticipation and confidence; the end of the project, when it is revealed as a great performance. We (falsely) believe creativity is private, the product of the muse or an angel, perhaps spiked by a visit from Federico García Lorca's duende—a black soul tingling the centers of the work.[8] With this in mind we welcome news of the start of a new work of creation: a new pattern language, a new system or framework, a new book on methodology, a new novel under way. We drift into anticipation. When the work appears, there's great fanfare again. As members of the audience—for we have no other choice—we admire or we don't. Maybe we will judge the work and recommend it, or give it a bad review and warn against it.

As an author there could be nothing worse than this way of life: You are faced with a long slog alone followed by a verdict, and it's hard in such a situation to separate the judgment of the work from a judgment about you. The author contributes to this in two ways through one action: by claiming the work exclusively during its creation, you merge it with yourself—you are its sole progenitor, and all its successes are yours as are its failures. And by claiming the work exclusively during its creation, you push away the world, create a boundary, make an inside and an outside, placing all who might judge the work on the outside, placing you alone in the center.


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