In a lovely bit of synchronicity, my dear friend (and I really mean "dear"...it's not some epithet to make us sound like better friends--she's my tried and true buddy) and fellow writer Christine Falcone happened to be pondering failure, too. She wrote this, in her usual visceral, powerful way, and gave me permission to post it here:
Where does failure come from? Where does it live? Is it in the bones? Can it be measured like the loss of bone density? Is it something we find behind the eyes, the blue or brown irises of our friends and families? Does it harbor regrets? Take prisoners like the hostages in Iran? Why does a sense of failure make us wish we were dead? Make us want to crumple to the ground and crawl around on our knees, arms outstretched like beggars on a San Francisco street corner.
Where does failure come from? It seems to arrive like a text message, the cell phone of our soul suddenly lighting up with a chime, alerting us that once again, we’ve not measured up. Or even worse than a text message, it’s like a large, well-lit road sign, a big screen TV at a baseball game announcing to all who surround it that not only have we once again failed to measure up, but that on a deeper level, a level that’s more profound, a Rosetta Stone of who we are, that we never did measure up. It’s a fundamental sense of failure, like an infection we live with, an HIV sort of condition that haunts us, taunts us, jeers from the sidelines, cruelly testing our convictions about ourselves. It’s something that dwells in us, surrounds us, is excreted by those of us who feel like failures walking around in the world, masquerading as real people.
I don’t want to feel frightened, fatigued, resentful and desperate for escape. I want to simply give up sometimes, throw myself over to the raw force of it all, lose myself and dissolve like cotton candy in the rain. Maybe that’s what it’s all about: death of the ego, surrendering my illusions, what I believe “should” and “shouldn’t” be. Maybe by surrendering those things, I’ll feel like I’m failing, but maybe it’s a necessary failure along the road to my own redemption.
Christine Falcone's fiction, non fiction and poetry have appeared in several anthologies, print and online publications including Women's Voices, Artists' Dialogue, Wordriot.com, and Tiny-lights.com. Her work has also aired on KRCB's Word by Word: Conversations with Writers, which was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Aside from writing, Christine has also worked in documentary film production and is an associate producer of The Last Stand, an award-winning documentary. Christine lives in California, with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter and is currently working on a novel.