Why do people say they are perfectionists? What are they perfecting? And having perfected it, what will they do with it?
Take a skill like carpentry. You chop, scrape, polish, create a piece of furniture, there are no jagged edges, it is comfortable, beautiful. The buyer/user is happy. The user can only believe it is good because s/he does not know whether it is perfect. They were not involved in the process. Now what? You move on, right? If you look back at that piece, then you either believe it can be bettered or you feel a sense of regret at parting with it. In effect, it has left you dissatisfied.
How perfect is something that does not leave you contented?
How perfect is the skill of chopping wood when the tree was probably perfect? Is the saw perfect? Does not the polish fade with time or sunlight? Are time and sunlight imperfect?
Take an art like writing. Even if one chooses what is considered the perfect word, does it resonate with the reader? Is the description of a character perfect when human personalities are wont to change and go through several roles? You may spend a lot of time editing but is the final result really final? By sentencing the phrases we make them into bonded labourers. If we weigh each word as per the prescribed form, then we are working within prisons. Why become the chattels of technique, when we can make it into a baton with which to conduct the orchestra? And through the music of words mid-way, we ought to be able to take the risk and let a jarring note sing its song.
When I encounter a perfect sentence that lacks depth or emotion, I want to tear it apart. What use is such cleverness when there is no space between the lines to manoeuvre a wayward thought?
Striving for perfection when made into a goal seems mercenary, as though you would ride roughshod over the very words that are your tools only to create that oh-so-neat prose or poetry. Striving can at best be a road; all journeys give new insights. What is fresh is perfect. For the moment. Like the page of a book, the moment too turns. That is the beauty of life - the curves.
I am glad I have never sought perfection. Even when I fall, I don’t get a perfect fracture; I end up with a ligament tear. You cannot protect it with splint and you suffer excruciating pain. Every step that you then take is an awareness of the fall, not anticipation of when the plaster will be removed.
A touch of dew on skin that hurts is a more touching ode than squiggles penned on the cast.
PS: As you can see, I have badly mixed up the metaphors. I did not say I was perfect!