Failure Is Definitely An Option

by Tom Swift

One thing I’m going to have to face is the fact that I’m going to come up short in this life. I am going to fail to create what I am capable of creating. Or — either that — I am not as capable as I think I am. I am not sure which it is. Or which is worse. You would have to say the former would be the greater tragedy. Yet it would be a sad state of affairs for a man to go through the decades with a single fundamental guiding belief that turned out to be wholly mistaken. In the end, which it is may not matter. Certainly, no scoreboard will tally one side over the other — as though points against the “Home” team versus that of the “Visitor.” There is but to be one overall loss. The loss of that which the world will not know.

For that reason, there will be no outcry. There will be no lament. Not publicly, at least. The tears and the toil will be all mine. As they should be. I will endure them and I will endure them alone.

To be sure, I do not yet fully accept that the music will die inside me. Somewhere rattling around in this six-foot, two-hundred-pound container is the belief, a mostly vague notion, really, that I have within me the power to assemble words in a way that would move the world a little. Even as I compose the present mini-manifesto, I don’t fully believe what I am saying right here, right now. Some part of me thinks if I merely make this statement, or one like it, that the act will help me get out of my own way and I will proceed toward that which I have long fancied. I still think, even in this very moment, that I will arrive.

The belief that I am more than I really am comes out in all kinds of disparate acts — projects and posts and plans that are conceived with great vigor but that nearly always die in stillbirths.

More problematic than failed attempts, which have value, are the hours spent in quiet desperation: I am fired up but unable about to do anything much with that fire.

Some specifics: Books. One in particular. This blog — it could be so much more. Essays. Stories. Public performances.

Sometimes I can see such creations in a single flash on the big screen in my mind and when I do they are so seemingly realized there that I nearly weep.

I keep thinking I will get there in the sensate world, too — that I will go from mere vision to actualization. Sometimes I think that I am almost there. But — truth — if it was going to happen, it would have happened by now. It’s rather silly to keep going on like this. Today is a bright, beautiful day. I could be doing so many different things. Instead, I have been sitting in the proverbial dark thinking the energy inside me is sufficient to a power a flashlight that reveals hidden words. About what I have no idea.

It’s really a question of purpose. And my purpose has long been clear: to write my experience of this world. The execution, though, is spotty at best.

Oh, sure. I have my moments. I am blessed with inspiration and I love my sensitivity and I can — I do — sometimes simply roar. There are instances in which I hear the words as I place them on the page, or let them out of my mouth, and I think, whoa, who else could do that right there? Not too shabby, good boy! But the steady, everyday, voice required to do what I am talking about … to create something great … it’s either not there or it’s there and too often muffled to be put to anything resembling full use.

You may take from this summation of self-immolation that I am, as so many of us are, merely my own harshest critic. That is sometimes the case with me. No doubt. But not always. Sometimes, in fact, I think I’m pretty hot shit. I am not writing about a lack of confidence here. If anything, it’s the opposite.

I think I am good but if I was good I would be doing good. I would be fulfilling my purpose. I would be writing my book, a better blog, and on.

This here post is really a matter of putting on the table what needs to be on the table. Simple as that.

There is power, I think, in seeing what is. For its own sake. I am terrible,,utterly brutal, at knowing what will come from that seeing. And so I make no predictions about how I shall proceed — about what energy is likely to arise next. It is time to take my dog for a walk. That much I know. And not much else.