Poem of the Week, by Molly Brodak

Check out our slew of spring workshops beginning next month, including our five-week Building a Story workshop. 

Me to a friend who claims spell check is the only reason he can spell anything: So before spell check what did you do?

Friend: I would say the word out loud and then look through the dictionary trying to find it by first letter. So a word like psychology? I would begin with S and not find it, then I’d look through all the C’s even though I knew that it couldn’t begin with C. It was slow and agonizing. And all my papers came back with low grades and comments like ‘You really must learn to proofread.’

It hurts to think of this friend trying so hard on his papers and being met with scorn. This same friend will envision a 12’x20′ painting, build panels to paint it on, gather brushes and air compressor and broom and whatever else it takes to make it, then build a block and tackle to haul it up onto the wall.

When it comes to spelling, I’ve never had to work at all, and my essays usually got A’s, but if I ever made a painting it’d come back with “you really must learn to paint.”

Why are so we hard on others? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Dear Molly Brodak, I will be reciting this poem for the rest of my life.

How to Not Be a Perfectionist, by Molly Brodak

People are vivid

and small

and don’t live

very long—

For more information about Molly Brodak, please click here.
Words by Winter: my podcast


  1. Marion Dane Bauer · February 26, 2022

    I LOVE this, Alison!

    Liked by 2 people

    • alisonmcghee · February 26, 2022

      It fits you and your books so perfectly, my beautiful friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeanne · February 26, 2022

    I’m sending this to everyone I know that needs to remember. Thank you. For all of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • alisonmcghee · February 26, 2022

      I’m so glad to pass it on.

      Liked by 1 person

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