Emma; Work-in-Progress

Emma; Work-in-Progress“Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old.” 

That’s what Mr. Knightley tells us during his conversation with Mrs. Weston.  The fact is, Emma is unable to finish a project.

The reason I squirm as I read this is that I can see myself in Emma.

She will never submit to any thing requiring industry and patience…

Ugh, the sting of his words!  I too, like Emma, have so many unfinished projects that began with much enthusiasm only to later fizzle out and be left abandoned.

There’s my book with a 10,000 word count.  And the ongoing diets in which I can never lose those last five pounds.  And after those two semesters I spent at NYU studying Japanese language, what do I now have to show for it?  “Konichiwa.”  That’s what.

In a later chapter, Emma actually puts some effort into a portrait of her friend, Miss Smith.  

Emma wished to go to work directly, and therefore produced the portfolio containing her various attempts at portraits, for not one of them had ever been finished, that they might decide together on the best size for Harriet. Her many beginnings were displayed. Miniatures, half-lengths, whole-lengths, pencil, crayon, and water-colours had been all tried in turn. She had always wanted to do everything, and had made more progress both in drawing and music than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang; — and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting; and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of….

With so much talent, Emma again does not “go for the gold.”  She is content with her work being ‘good enough.”

I appreciate this improvement in Emma!  I really do.  I think it’s a step in the right direction.  She stopped procrastinating and put some effort into Miss Smith’s portrait. 

With our lives today, so endlessly busy, I have come to believe that any unfinished project is better than no project at all.

So what if I haven’t finished my book (yet).  Unfinished projects exist in every form and variety.  But worse is the never-attempted project.  The song that has never been recorded; the poem that has never been put to the page; the blog that has never been registered; the career that has never been pursued.

Better to have at least tried — even if it’s a lame attempt — than to live with regret.  I have nothing but the greatest respect for each and every unfinished work-in-progress; and with that being said,

Kudos to all those half-finished books!  May they become quickly-read novellas!

Congratulations to all those who have opened ebay accounts and have yet to list an item!

Bravo to each and every unused gym membership!

Because a half-assed attempt is better than no attempt at all.

What are your unfinished projects? Any new ideas waiting to be attempted? What do you think about Emma’s efforts?

*Photo: Atelier phot, mes crayons aquarellables, 23.01.08 by cocoinzenl, obtained through Flickr.