I’ve been taking the Content Strategy class offered by coLearning for the last couple months. Recently we visited The Understanding Group for a studio tour. Dan Klyn led the 2 hour discussion in a fascinating lecture on what Information Architecture is. There was also heavy mentioning of Rye Whiskey.
On a beam in front of me was a hand written sign that read “Very good is less than good”.
I made it about half way through the lecture before I couldn’t take it any longer, I had to know: what does it mean, exactly?
Dan specified that very is a stupid word, basically. When you ask a question and you get the “very good” answer, there’s more questions to ask. Very good essentially is the unicorn answer. When you don’t know whats wrong or how to spell it out you disguise the unknown with very.
How do you like this content strategy we’ve laid out for you?
It’s very good.
Very good is vague. Good is concrete. It’s final. It’s … good.
He brought it to another level and mentioned that if we wanted to get theological about it (yes, always, I always do) that in the Bible God even says his creation is good. He didn’t say it was very good or perfect. He said it was good. It was final, complete.
Myself and another classmate immediately got the Church grunts on. You know the ones – when you hear the sermon your preacher is speaking from the pulpit and nothing in you can stop the guttural mmmmmmmhmmm that comes out of your throat to agree; because somewhere down inside – your cells recognize truth.
The rest of his lecture was equally captivating.
But that little nugget from the studio tour hasn’t left me alone.
Very good is less than good.
Like, I’m wrestling with it. Because I like VERY! Very is emotional. It’s heightened. I’ve struggled for a long time with Good Enough, striving for the Very Good. Because Very Good was the next step. Not just Enough. Maybe, I thought, good has nothing to do with it.
I’ve come to realize that very good is often fleeting. Good is better.
And if we’re taking grades, then Good would be an A. But is Good really Enough?
Hang in there with me, I love words. And those two together sound like constructive criticism that is really hard to swallow.
I sent in my poetry chapbook work to 11 different agencies/contests/poetry editors. None came back, no words either way. I wasn’t Good Enough.
I entered a national Art That Sells contest with Lilla Rogers agency in Britain! I was elementary at best, just beginning, of course I didn’t win. I wasn’t Good Enough.
I applied to be a part of a juried show at our local Arts Council. I was scoffed at by the staff, asked why I would ever do that to my photography? The photos are just so good … (alone). I wasn’t Good Enough.
I tried on “Artist” as a title, next to my comfort zone “Writer”, but disqualified myself everytime someone asked what kind of art I made: I wasn’t Good Enough.
As a young child, my whimsy and dreamers personality was benign, at best, to my father. I was never going to be Good Enough.
In middle school, I wrote a poem as an assignment about slavery. My teacher told me I was Good Enough. In fact, he said I was above average. I handed it in late and still got an A.
In high school, I craved honest transparency and think I reflected that well in my religion class. My teacher told my parents I was Good Enough. In fact, he said I was special.
As a mother, I was disappointed and lonely that my expectations of my role were vastly different than their realities. My own mother told me I was Good Enough. In fact, she praised me for not quitting.
As a writer, I’ve been afraid my whole career. My audience tells me I’m Good Enough. In fact, they champion my efforts when I’m not even aware they’re cheering.
As a wife, I’ve built walls around my heart at the slightest sign of disapproval or abandonment. My husband tells me I’m Good Enough. In fact, he proves he’s steadfast and trustworthy, that he’s safe and I’m ok.
As an artist, I’ve rejected myself because who said I could be one?
I have breath.
And I’m Good Enough.