Perfectionism has often bothered me in nearly every job I’ve had. I remember a year or so ago, when I worked for the education company, we’d have to hang these long pieces of fabric across the ceiling in different patterns, for decoration.
My boss was a complete stickler for these fabrics. He wanted the colors and design to look just right. I couldn’t tell the difference. Put the damn things up, get them kind of even, and move on.
This “close enough for government work” style has a name, and apparently in China it is very culturally common. It’s called chabuduo.
“If you come from the West, you are likely used to things being done according to specifications and high standards. You probably wouldn’t expect less than 100%.
Not so in China. In China, the typical approach is summed up in one word: “chabuduo”, meaning “nearly” or “almost”. For most Chinese it also means “good enough”. You will hear this term a lot.”
Of course, this made me start thinking about writing, and how, for some people, chabuduo might actually make better books.
I spend a lot of time wondering about the ways that books are presented, from their length to the amount of white space on the page. I wonder, however, if I might start putting out “chabuduo” versions of books, with uneven spacing, typos, strange line breaks, etc. For the perfectionist, this would drive them absolutely crazy. But for someone like me…I don’t know. I kind of like the design of slapped-together books.
I like irregular spacing, different fonts, and typos. I find them to be humanizing and weird.
Who knows? Maybe a package deal with books in the future: you get one ugly version, one clean version. Then you can pick which one you want to read?
I’ll think about this more later. That’s good enough for now.