Monday, April 16, 2012

Fear, Failure, and Fear of Failure

Here's a piece I wrote for Crosscut about the lead-up to the Hugo House Literary Series last month.

It's been a really interesting few months, writing-wise, mostly because of the Literary Series. I've been writing short fiction. What a wonderful thing, after publishing my first memoir, to write about people who are not me! People who don't actually exist in the real world!

From the essay:

It’s not my job to imagine how readers will respond to my work. My job is to write as well as I can. But I am profoundly unenlightened, see, and so the thought of failing in public — at my favorite event in town, the Literary Series, no less — is not something I’m quite so sanguine about. I know I shouldn’t care. I know this. But every day when I sit down to write, I struggle to ignore the sadistic online commenter who lives in my head, the one who sneers at my subject matter, who verbally moons my devotion to narrative, who snickers and whispers that no one in the world wants to hear my story, no matter how entertaining I try to make it.


Liza said...

A good friend and I have decided that if we ever write a memoir it will be titled, "My lower bird fucks my higher bird every other day."

I read Yoga Bitch a couple of months ago. For this secular humanist/agnostic, but occasional yogi and pray-er/wine, soda, coffee and ice cream loving minimarathoner, I appreciated the good company my mind had the chance to entertain for the four days I spent devouring each journal entry, reflection, and storied conversation.

This article made me feel the same about my writing. It's nice to know that writers who inspire me constantly battle the mental red pen, too.

Don't you hate it when people basically say, "I'm glad you go through hard, frustrating stuff, too." ? ...

Loved the book. Loved this article. Congratulations on the deserved success.
-Liza Turner

Suzanne Morrison said...

Well, well, Liza. I would buy that memoir. That memoir sounds right up my alley. ;)

Thank you so much for your kind words about my book and the article. And to answer your question, honestly, it's the best thing in the world to hear that you're relieved to read about my frustrations-- because if you relate, it means I'm not a freak myself. (And sometimes I wonder.)

Very best to you, and happy reading and writing!

Nicole said...

I think your writing is AWESOME, Suzanne. I wish I could write like you do. When I read my comment on your last post I said to myself WHAT! That is not what I meant! I felt so bad. All I wanted to say is that I thought you were very lucky your husband agreed to go on a special cleansing journey with you, and so on.... Just writing a little comment can make me feel so bad and I say: Never again! But here I am still posting a comment again. You are lucky you can express yourself on paper, by writing. I have a hard time expressing myself in anyway.
With time, I notice that whenever I tried to compare myself with others, that when the anxiety sets in. If I act from my heart, then I feel I can't go wrong.
I wish you a wonderful week Suzanne!

Jeff Tyun said...

I discovered you must have a growth mindset focus on the opportunity. Understand that you WILL sometimes fail but your failures DO NOT DEFINE WHO YOU ARE. Do not assume you are defective if something goes wrong (I got an ‘D’ on my calculus exam means I need to try a different approach; it does not mean I am a stupid person). It's important to have a growth mindset that focuses on challenges. Seeing that opportunities give you the chance to try something new – even if it means you might not perform well. You absolutely will slow but surely improve if you don’t take failure to heart.

I actually wrote a full article on my blog, please feel free to check it out my other inspirational articles.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading yoga bitch. And yes, I'm in a 4 year yoga teacher training. And yes, I have a cynical sense of humour. So I literally roared with laughter many times throughout the book. Loved it! I can't look at my neti pot without smiling today ;-)
Oh and... no way I'm drinking pee ;-)
Kind regards, Anke

Ricardo das Neves said...

It is our humanity that makes us most accessible and most relatable, isn't it? I enjoyed your book from first to last page, Suzanne, and have recommended it to all my yoga-practicing friends. Now I'm just glad that you took yoga with someone else rather than me, or I'd be fretting over my quirks being broadcast to the world in your book... :-)

Suzanne Morrison said...

Nicole: thank you for your comments! And truly, everyone I know feels that way about everything they write, be it an essay or a book or a comment on a blog. Writing anything can be really agonizing, so you're not alone in that!

Suzanne Morrison said...

Anke, thank you! And good call on avoiding the pee drinking. I can't say I recommend it!

Suzanne Morrison said...

Thanks so much for your note, Ricardo, and for recommending the book to your friends! Word of mouth is everything in this work, so I really appreciate it. Have a great weekend!