Well, I had a whole other post ready for today and it's gone. Yep. Gone. The cyber-gremlins ate it. Which is why it wasn't posted at midnight like it was supposed to be. Sigh.
But it made me think about what happens when we lose something, whether it's text on the page or an earring, or a friend. Sometimes it's a devastating loss, as with the latter case of losing a friend. Sometimes, that seeming loss opens up a door we would never have known was there if we didn't "lose" the text for that scene from our new book. Recreating it, rewriting it sometimes leads to the invention of a whole new character or a more tension-raising scenario that makes the book SO much better. Suddenly, the book takes on a faster pacing, a new, edgier life, all because we lost half a chapter due to a power blip on the grid.
Hmmmm. So, is it a loss? Or a gain? Going back to that friend thing, I've lost a friend or two, sometimes through my own stupidity or neglect. Thankfully, I've usually been able to make up for my boneheadedness and reclaim the friendship, or at least smooth the water. I've finally learned to not regret it, but to be sure never to do "that" - whatever pushed the friend away - again. Then again, I've also had a time or two when I thought the world was ending because I had lost or upset a friend, only to discover that the "loss" was not only liberating, it was the best thing that had happened to me in years. In one case, it opened up the dialogue within the friendship to allow us to be more ourselves - less what we used to be as girls, more what we were becoming as we grew older.
In another, I quickly came to realize how much the so-called friend had brought me down, emotionally, and how much time I had spent listening to endless complaints which never seemed to have resolutions. I'm not sure that person actually wanted resolution, just a sounding board for griping. Wow. How could I have not seen that?
It took a loss. There's a kid's movie, made by Disney, called Meet the Robinsons. For those of you with older kids, or none at all, you've probably not seen this one. It's smart and funny on several levels. Like most of the Disney movies for the last few years, it has an adult level humor that the kids don't "get" and a kid level humor that isn't too annoying. I mention it, because one of the theme of this movie is to not give up on your dreams, to keep moving forward, refining as you go. As writers, we're called upon to do that all the time, with every critique, with every rejection letter, pretty much every time we sit down to write. At one point, in the Robinsons movie, a secondary character, in talking about failure says to Lewis, the hero, something that sticks out to me every time I see the movie. (BTW, I see this movie a LOT, since my three year old is on a Robinson's kick) Anyway, the Aunt Billie character is trying to boost Lewis's spirits after a particularly spectacular failure. She says, "From failure, you learn. From success? Not so much."
In Ninjitsu, it's said that you learn the most by being "uke" which is the demonstration partner. (The one who gets thrown around.) Ha!
What have you learned from a particularly spectacular failure?
What has failure taught you that you might not have learned any other way? Where has so-called-failure actually been or led to a roaring success? One of today's posters will win a cool Barnes and Noble bookmark and a Starbucks card, so let 'er rip!