One who is ready to go on the exploration called truth has to be ready to commit many errors, mistakes — has to be able to risk. One may go astray, but that is how one arrives. Going many many times astray, one learns how not to go astray. Committing many mistakes, one learns what a mistake is and how not to commit it.
Knowing what is error, one comes closer and closer to what is truth. It is an individual exploration; you cannot depend on others’ conclusions.”
Osho, Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously
When I read this passage tonight, I felt a swift sense of relief pour through me. Why? Because, I have been laboring mightily — and making tons of mistakes, it seems — in my struggles to come up with a first chapter to my YA novel that sings and dances.
So it is heartening to read that making many mistakes is the only way to get to where I need to go. If this is true, then the only wise thing to do seems to be to keep on making mistakes and moving closer and closer to the heart of what I want to say.
By now, I’ve lost count of how many versions and variations of an opening I have come up with. I think I’m getting closer, but my latest draft, which I was feeling very hopeful about after pulling it together, still doesn’t “feel” right. I remember reading an essay by EB White in which he said that he was a constant reviser, but that when he finally hits the mark, the pieces seem to “click” into place.
I think I know what he means: After many false starts, when you finally capture what you want to say, it’s as if you’ve been working to crack a safe and suddenly all the tumblers fall into place and the safe pops open to reveal its riches.
So if you’re in the same boat with me — floundering around and trying to stay afloat — then here’s a plan: Let’s keep writing, keep playing, and keep making mistakes until as Osho puts it, we come “closer and closer to what is truth.” Deal? Then let’s write on!
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