Monday, August 6, 2012

A Few Words on Failure

I would like to say a few words on failure. But before you read my words, I present much better words by a far greater wordsmith than I:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

Well said, Mr Churchill, yet not so easily heeded. The only difference between the leader of a country and a struggling artist is the number of mouths depending on his success. And possibly death to millions. In a way, it is reassuring that failure can reach out from my craft box and wring his icy fingers on every rung of the ladder all the way to the top. At least I know I am not his only target, even if I seem to be one of his better friends!

However, retaining enthusiasm is not as easy as Mr Churchill claims. In fact, if you exam the above statement, you will notice ‘failure’ shows up twice as often as ‘enthusiasm.’ So one could argue that it is twice as easy to succumb to it.

Like everyone, I have had my tastes of failure. In fact, it hasn’t been so much a taste as a full blown meal. My most recent course occurred a few months ago. I submitted to a local art fair my beautifully gorgeous and elegant wreaths (available for your viewing-and, ahem, purchasing, if you like, at Surely, thought I, my neighbors will fall as in love with them as I, they will snatch them up and I will be sold out by noon! So much for lofty thoughts. Countless people stopped by my stall and ‘ooh’ed and ‘ahh’ed over my products. If compliments were dollar bills, I’d own 50 yard line season tickets to the NY Giants.

But not one sale.

I was ready to chuck it all. Every flower petal was cursed, each bead was destined for the dust bin. For weeks I refused to pick up my trusty glue gun, even to shoot away invisible monsters (blessedly they were all on vacation!). I told myself and all who’d listen that my creative “phase” was over, never to return again. Thankfully, my friends and family simply nodded their heads and tucked away my craft supplies. Eventually, of course, I started gingerly poking around and was crafting in full steam before I knew it.

So what brought me back to the creative side? My undying enthusiasm for success? Alas, Mr Churchill, it was not. It was an itch. A compulsion. An inner driving need. You see, creativity and crafting are as much a part of me as my spleen. I can’t help it! I wish I could ascribe to those lofty quotes by great people that say things such as “failure is only failure if you never try again!” or “your want to succeed must outweigh your fear of failure!”* But, in my case at the very least, failure does not matter, for neither does success. I can’t stop creating. I will always be striving for beauty in life, and no matter how often Mr Failure rings my doorbell, that will never stop!

* (While paraphrased from countless admirable people, I must give credit to Bill Cosby, Oscar Wilde, Michael Jordan and Abraham Lincoln, from whom I primarily borrowed.)

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