reading series 2.2

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone.

A friend of mine recently said, “it was a lot easier to be cynical about relationships and love when I didn’t know so many people who were happy together.” He continued, saying “I’m going to try to look at this Valentine’s Day the same way I think about Christmas or Thanksgiving, and try to really meditate on the idea of love.”

On Valentine’s Day, my friend felt a little sad. He, like many other people, viewed the day as a representation of what he did not have, or what he had lost. My friend is single, and he wants to be in a relationship. He just has not found someone yet who he has really connected with. In the meantime, he’s keeping an open heart and mind, and working on himself, both in creative and personal ways.

I feel that what he is doing very important and necessary, possibly the most important step before getting involved with another person. He’s opening himself up to love, expanding and discovering who he is. In my last weekly series, I wrote a lot about love and relationships and sex. That is the most obvious to think about when it comes to Valentine’s Day. But I really do feel that love is all around us, in all of the things we are passionate about.

I love my work. I love writing and teaching. I love reading and books. I love gardening and tending to plants. I love nature – the natural world is a constant source of wonder and inspiration to me. In my next weekly series, I am planning on sharing some of my early experiences with books and reading. I’m also planning on sharing a video of me reading some of my work, which should be fun.

Today, I wanted to take a moment to dwell upon another really important part of love, the heart breaking, the idea of failure. I really feel that our failures are there to teach us, to help us grow. And although it hurts, I think that our failures are the places that tell us the most about ourselves. They are the places that allow us to change direction, to search other paths, to try again, to do it right (or as close as we can get to “right”) the next time.

This holds not only for our personal relationships, but also our failures in life, when we try at something and fail to reach it, when we cast our dreams into the stars and find only dark, black sky. There is a quote by Samuel Beckett that I love. He says, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Today, I wanted to share some of my attempts to fail better.

The first is a story I wrote a long time ago called “Kaleidoscope.” It is a sad story about a fractured relationship that cannot be healed. Sometimes I think we try and try at something – to make it work – but our lesson in the failing is to know when to walk away. The second is a poem I wrote (again from My Mother’s Daughter), aptly titled “Fail Better” as a nod to Beckett, and the powerful idea behind his words.

Click on these links to read “Kaleidoscope” and “Fail Better.”

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