It should come as no surprise to anyone who creates stuff that there are times when it just comes out better than others. The means of measurement is subjective to be sure and often the perception of quality or aesthetics or benefit, etc. changes over time and circumstance, but the artist, I think, still has an idea when he or she has just nailed it. I know it is true for me and more often than not the feeling of having created something special is validated externally. It doesn’t have to be, but it has been my experience that there are some universal, albeit intangible, standards of quality.
In many ways it’s easier to recognize in the work of others. In the blogosphere, I run across the little gems often. Sometimes it is from someone who is so profoundly moved that the expression of whatever it is comes though so clearly I feel I am there too. Other times it might be an identification of a feeling - perhaps an identification that is universal yet never clearly identified before. I have read a great many accomplished authors and although my writing is usually pretty good, compared to some of these greats I always feel inadequate.
Well, almost always. I have written some stuff that is right up there and I know it. True, not as much and not as recognized, but there have been moments of brilliance - I know this. I know it not only of my own application of my craft, but I have seen it in countless others’ application of theirs. I don’t have to know how to make a movie to appreciate a classic - even a modern one. I don’t have to be a painter to know a masterpiece. And I don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to recognize great writing.
Interestingly enough, I didn’t come to this perspective in reflection of my own writing. True, I do have some pieces (not many compared to how much I have written) that I still enjoy reading. I produced a post recently I happen to be very happy with. However, while reading some of my favorite blogs - sites where I can expect quality on a regular basis - I was blown away by a particular piece that just left me dumbstruck. Thumper Thinks Out Loud is a blog from writer K.A. Thompson. She has a mishmash of anecdotes and musings and often reflects on the creative process involved in writing a book. This particular post is observational brilliance. As my comment there said - “I could not have said it better myself, and now I don’t have to."