Navigating Failure


An English Sloop Becalmed Near Shore the Shore.  By Francis Swaine

An English Sloop Becalmed Near Shore the Shore. By Francis Swaine

I have been working up the courage to write about failure. The latest rejection on my fiction novel came. (Thank you again for the social media supports to my efforts.)  I thought of writing lists of all the failures in my life. Maybe numbering them and tacking this latest one on the end. Couldn’t see anything beautiful about it so felt a little tongue tied.

I thought about starting a new blog to write about true, depressing, ugly things, but no. If you fail at beautiful, you can keep trying. If you fail at ugly and depressing .  . . well, it would be hard to get back up after that. (I am not without a practical side in these matters.)

The desire to write about failure is practically burning in me. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on the subject. Whatever the questions end up being, I’m pretty sure the answers are in tears and laughter. I know this because when I cry, things are better afterwards. Also because when crazy things happen (that have nothing to do with not being able to make your dreams come true) I laugh and afterwards things make more sense.

We were sitting at dinner. Most of us were eating, because that’s what normal people do at dinner. Sort of the reason they sit down I’m told. I have to clarify because while I birthed 3 eaters, I also birthed a stirrer . . . as in someone who stirs things.

I would try to remember what it was she was eating that night that she didn’t like except the list of underappreciated foods to pick from is too long. I’m not a fan of picky eating. The kids can all have one food they hate, everything else, they eat at least a bite of.

After half a meal of stirring, Girl one was getting restless. A bite or two went down the hatch and her idea light went on. “I could be a sword swallower when I grow up,” she said. She took another bite. “Seriously,” she said. “I trained myself on so many things swallowing them whole. I bet I could do it.”


And lastly . . . putting Girl two to bed last night we got to talking about monkeys who apparently don’t leave their trees very often. This led to discussions of a practical matter and a little gem I have to say I did not see coming:

Boy one did that before

Did what?

Peed from a tree.

A long time ago?

A time that was close to today.

Are you kidding me?


Thank you

You’re welcome. (Batted eyelashes. Smug and satisfied smile.)


My almost fourteen year old has been peeing from trees. Seriously, failure to publish children’s novel may not be my biggest crisis. I’m not exactly laughing on that one, but it has me good and distracted.

5 Comments to Navigating Failure

  1. Dee says:

    It distracted me from my “It’s Friday and I haven’t finished my list for the week” funk! I was busy laughing, both at boy 1 and your description of girl 2.

  2. Leslie Lynch says:

    :-) Boy 1 and Girl 2 almost distracted me from the whole notion of failure.

    I think it was Edison who said something to the effect that there is no failure, only the (important) elimination of a number of ways that don’t give the desired result. 100 “failures” on his way to develop the light bulb. He saw each of those efforts as necessary steps to success. That’s what Girl 1 was saying at dinner.

    You’ll get there, Michelle. Rejection hurts, but if you don’t let it win, you WILL gain something from it. Guaranteed.

    Your friend who has been there, done that, and has the t-shirt!

  3. Jane Parker says:

    I’ve always been a bit envious of boys because they can do things like that.

  4. Samuel Jones says:

    It has me laughing….if you want a positive at least it beats him hitting the seat…have to clean toilets less often…=)