Yay! Another Failure!

Adapted from my journal this morning. Keep in mind that I also do a poetry blog.

No poems today. Well, rather two poems that were so murky and bad I would not inflict them on you.

Some might call that a failure. I don’t know that I do. I write primarily to get stuff out. Stuff that is bubbling around in my head. Sometimes good stuff. Sometimes bad stuff. Sometimes, I use poetry to sort things out in my head and sometimes I just spew. It may seem like I am disciplined because I write something almost every day. No, I am just messy, with a dollop of talent.

It was my therapist who suggested I start a blog and write my poems in it. I needed to reclaim my own creativity and she thought, if I managed to snag at least one regular reader, I was, being a firstborn and steeped with a sense of responsibility, would feel responsible to keep it up. She was right. With me, she generally was.

Somehow one or two found me, now and again telling me my poems resonated with something they were going through. I have often thought about those early readers since. I was going through hell at the time, and I have often wondered if they made their way out of their own versions of hell. I wondered if I helped. But it kept me writing.

I have been at it for fifteen years. At least this second time around. I actually trained to write. I have a MA in creative writing. I got it when I was young. And let the work fade away. responsibility and all that kept me from my creativity. Or to be more precise, I allowed it to keep me from my creativity. I have learned since then that it’s a false dichotomy, the idea that we can be responsible and “successful”, OR we can be creatives. But, as again I have stated here, I am a slow learner sometimes.

So, I write every day. Even the days you don’t see a poem here, or an essay on one of my other blogs. The days you don’t see anything, I wrote. I did my self-therapy thing. But it just wasn’t very good. I don’t mind putting my faults out here, and I don’t mind that you know I am arguably the world’s worst speller or that I mangle syntax and grammar (mostly on purpose); but when something is truly, really bad? I am not going to inflict that on anyone. I stick in in my journal and let it be.

But I have done my work. I have thrashed through the things that hold me back. Gotten them out of my system. And I can go on and just do the work of living and building a life. Writing, even badly. Even stuff not worth anyone reading. is part of the work.

Sometimes, we think failure is a definition of us. It’s not. It is a step in the process. We can learn from it. We can treat the failure as an experiment that failed. (The story is that Thomas Edison failed about 10,000 times before he got the light bulb right. Just sayin’.), and an experiment that gets us closer to success.

The important thing is to keep at it. People don’t fail because they are bad at things. People don’t fail because they make mistakes (Even colossal ones, trust me, I know.). We fail because we don’t keep at it. We succeed when we do. Persistence I have learned, is far more important than talent, or even skill. Every day steps, even the small ones, get us there when leaps do not. (There is even science behind that, but that is a story for another day.)

Now, I am writing this to myself, because I often preach to myself here. But there is a chance someone else needs to hear it today. So, you, yeah you! Here’s your sign. Go do something toward your dreams. Anything. Succeed, fail, it matters less than the doing.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

PS – The picture is of one of my very first paintings, from a class I was in. I have come a long way. One little step at a time. No one would call that one a successful painting. I felt like a five-year-old after I painted it. But I will never forget the lesson I learned from it, about layers and layering. I still use the lesson today.

One comment

  1. Everyone has failures. They are part of the learning process. I think one should write whatever we need to, Doesn’t have to be for anyone else. I am sure you helped a lot of people sharing your thoughts and experiences.

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