Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"The Road To Rat Shit"


“When we left off yesterday…”
I was explaining how I was sending a piece of material I had previously written for my blog (“Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy”) to a man whose opinion really mattered to me (now second-term Senator Al Franken with whom I had worked on the short-lived but intermittently inspired sitcom Lateline), and how I had discovered, upon rereading that piece of material, that it was not as good as I thought it was.
For numerous reasons, and on numerous levels of importance.
“Yikes!” – I almost sent a man whose opinion really matters to me a piece of material that was not as good as I thought it was.
“Yikes!” – I posted material on my blog that was not as good as I thought it was.
And the unquestionably biggest “Yikes!” of them all – and the explanation for the title of yesterday’s post:  “A Slight Case Of Judgment Jostle” – in the form of a question:
“Is it possible that my qualitative judgment is not as good as I thought it was?” 
That’s “Yikes!” to an embarrassingly high power.  (If I have that correct scientifically.)
It was an unsettling revelation.  How, I wondered, could I have possibly believed a piece of material was ready for public consumption when a subsequent reading of it undeniably indicated that it wasn’t?  I am a professional writer, for heaven’s sake!  And it was not like, as Maxwell Smart used to say, I “Missed it by ‘that much’.”
I missed it by a lot!
At the risk of being annoyingly repetitive…
As I italicized in yesterday’s post’s opening line,
“All we have is our own personal judgment.”
I had relied upon mine, and I had failed.  “Whoa!” the concern came to mind, “I use that evaluative arbiter every day when I write.  Is it then therefore possible that man or – God forbid! – all of my blog posts are similarly deficient, and I was simply unaware of it, because my evaluative arbiter turned out to be dangerously inaccurate?”
I mean, I write a draft, and I continue rewriting until I feel viscerally confident that no further improvements can be made – or as I once amusingly described it to myself, “I shape it, I shine it…” and then, when my now-questionable personal judgment tells me it’s ready, “… I ship it.”
In my post entitled, “Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy”, involving an examination of the Constitution’s Second Amendment’s guaranteeing a citizen’s right “to keep and bear arms”, I had put forward two salient questions. 
Question One:  “Who exactly was endangering the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, to the extent that an Amendment to the Constitution was deemed necessary to prevent them from doing so?” 
And Question Two:  “Why was it of such great interest to the government whether citizens were prevented from keeping and bearing arms, or not?”
In writing “Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy”, I unequivocally indicated that “Question Two” was more significant than “Question One.”  I then, inexplicably, proceeded to spend the preponderance of my subsequent argument focusing on “Question One”, my inappropriate emphasis taking virtually the entire second half of my blog post in an erroneous direction.
(I have an opinion concerning why I fell prey to this unfortunate misstep.  But I believe that deserves a post of its own.  Of course, my judgment on these matters has become questionable, so who knows?)
What a discombobulating turnaround!  Having now spent more than a week trying to resuscitate it, I am beginning to believe that a piece of material I once secretly fantasized would be my ticket to respectability, high praise and unimaginable opportunity, may turn out to be an irredeemable disaster!  (Hence, the indelicate term “rat shit” in the above title.) 
As I consider the now questionable quality of my efforts over the almost seven years of five-days-a-week blog-writing might be, I begin to wonder if a significant contributor to these offences might involve inordinate haste.  
Is it possible that I am writing too much too fast?  What if, abandoning of my current schedule, I instead wrote one blog post a week?  Would the longer time period make the posts I wrote on a more deliberately schedule better?  Of would I continue my pattern of self-delusion regardless, still embarrassing myself, albeit eighty percent less often?
So that’s where I am right now.  I sincerely believed that my “Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy” blog post had been successfully executed.
And I found out I was wrong.

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