Monday, February 2, 2015


Today, gentle readers, I was working on a poem.
It was called The Ballad of Brimstone Jenny.
An awesome title, I know.
Sadly, the poem has refused to gel. 
In short, I have failed.
Failure, I think, is something people don't talk about enough. It's probably because we equate failure with shame.  The two states are interconnected in most people's brains. 
But failure is an important thing.  When we fail, we learn.  The lessons are usually unpleasant, but often necessary, and we usually don't have anyone to blame for our failures but ourselves.
Oh sure, sometimes circumstances can seem to conspire against us.  Sometimes, we have the most amazing bad luck.
But mostly, I think we fail because of a lack of preparation.
My failure today, I think, comes from the fact that I've only had a vague idea where I wanted to go with this poem and what sort of story I wanted it to tell.
Did I want Jenny to be sympathetic? Unsympathetic? Were her actions justified?  Unjustified?
Or, maybe, on a different level, I failed to write this particular poem because it was just too damned dark.  Perhaps, on some level, I just didn't want to write it.
Or, maybe it was something else.
* * * * *
I just took a minute to go back and reread this post.  I came very close to deleting it because I'm not happy with it.  I don't think I'm communicating my intent as clearly as I would like.
But I didn't.
If I had deleted it, would it have been a failure?
Since I'm continuing to write it, does that mean it's not a failure?
I think the former, rather than the later.
I haven't given up.
The same is true with The Ballad of Brimstone Jenny.  I'm not going to give up on it, but I am going to put it aside for a moment.
I failed on the initial attempt, but I'm not going to give up.
There's a story there I want to tell, I just have to find the right words and the right voice.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, failure teaches us to persevere.
We don't talk about failure enough.
Perhaps it's time we started.

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