Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ugly Pretty

I have always admired, but never been able to achieve ugly pretty. This is not to be confused with pretty ugly, which is, in fact, ugly.

Ugly pretty is when you pair two things that should not go together and the sharp contrast elevates both of them to some higher level of coolness. In home decor, this might involve adding a hideous orange owl paint by number to your traditional portrait wall. In fashion, you might throw on a cocktail dress with your combat boots. It is a funky look that says you are brave enough to stick your neck out and somehow it works.

Unfortunately, I always get stuck on the ugly part and end up putting on heels or passing on the weird bird chotchkies. Much as I crave the offness, I have an innate sense of balance and structure that I battle. My left and right brain are always at odds. When something is contrasting too obviously, I have to fix it.

I am, however, striving to achieve ugly pretty in my writing. It can be so difficult to discard words that you have already written, to strike out paragraphs, to delete entire pages, to pull out a single good sentence and just work from that. But I am hoping that with practice I can learn to resist the urge to neatly package my words and instead leave the edges a little more exposed. That the sharp contrast of my need to create and my need to control will result in an ugly pretty style all my own. Now, if I can just let go and do it.

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