Another month, another Owls post. This month we have a really interesting topic. Possibly my favourite topic in my OWLS experience: Failure!
- 11th Monthly Deadline: November 1, 2019
- 11th Monthly Topic: “Failure”
One of the best ways we can learn is through failure. This month we will be talking about the failures of our favorite characters in pop culture media and what we can learn from them. We will also reflect on our own mistakes and failures and how those experiences have allowed us to grow as human beings.
I am one of those odd people that does not dislike failure. I happen to think that great success is made up of dozens of failures all stacked up together. Failure brings wisdom to fools and folly to cowards. It is a great tragedy to be robbed of the opportunity to experience failure at least once.
And when I thought of the many ways the theme could be interpreted through Natsume (I was leaning towards the failure of the Exorcists to reconcile their existence with the world of Yokai) I realized I was about to fail again. I was about to twist and torture a thesis to fit my forma and that’s just bad for everyone. I don’t enjoy writing those forced posts and I’m sure you don’t enjoy reading them. So instead let’s talk about my failures.
Not all of them of course, we don’t have all day. Let’s keep it somewhat on topic and talk about my OWLS failures.
This year I set out to write 12 Natsume’s Book of Friends posts for OWLS. It was a little eccentricity on my part and a bid to keep me focused and interested in my owls posts. I failed on every level. I skipped a couple of months. Granted one month had the specific theme of talking about a Kyoto Animation series and it was not a theme I wanted to twist to suit my needs. Another month I just skipped. No reason really, I just didn’t feel like it.
I also failed on a more basic level. Some of my OWLS posts this year are good I think. They’re posts I put my heart into and was proud to share. But others are pretty convoluted, barely on point and just strained. In my stubbornness to see my experiment through, I sacrificed the option of writing more inspired posts or of simply skipping all those months where the topic didn’t speak to me.
I was just writing because that’s what was expected and since there’s no feedback or oversight, the results weren’t always impressive.
That failure is on me. It’s one of my biggest failings actually. The inability to recognize when to give up. I’m not a stubborn person by nature. I’m adaptable and pretty happy to change my mind if I realize I was off about something. But I am… determined. What I usually call “a completionist”. I have great difficulty leaving something unfinished. So I’ll make up imaginary milestones and it makes me itchy when I don’t stick it out until I reach them.
When I joined OWLS, I had misunderstood what the experience was. I realized it pretty quickly but I still wanted to be a part of this new challenge even if it’s not usually my thing. The people were nice and it’s not like I had anything to lose. So I did my best to contribute and obey the guidelines. I failed to really find my voice though and after a while I realized that I probably wouldn’t last unless I gave myself a goal. So I did and promptly failed again. The fit was wrong. I’m stubborn though, I’ll probably still try to write about Natsume next month!
But you see failures aren’t endings to me, their beginnings. It’s oddly comforting to know what not to do. At least I have a few new things to try out next time! I have failed a lot in my OWLS experience. Between time zones and my own lack of sociability, I haven’t been on discord in forever, not that I was ever that chatty to begin with. I keep up with my fellow bloggers posts but I have been horrible about giving proper feedback. I forget to add links and I only recently realized (after over a year) that I was supposed to tag the OWLS account on twitter when posting for the tour. Honestly, I pretty much dropped every single ball I could get my hands on.
And that’s ok. Well some of it was just me being lazy which is less ok, but the rest I’m learning from. I have ideas I want to try. I’ll be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to do for 2020 with OWLS. If I stick with it, there are a lot of things I want to improve and to be perfectly Frank, I’m not sure I’ll have the time. This said, the impressive amounts of failures I’ve managed to string together have given me a crystal clear vision of what I want to do and that’s already a considerable win. A good plan is 3/4 of the victory!
This is a very low stakes example. Tiny failures with itsy Bitsy consequences. And I know that bigger ones can be painful. Shrugging it off with a better luck next time is not as easy to do when you’ve just lost your savings or missed out on your dream job. Still a life without failing seems incomplete. Most of the people I particularly admire fail more often than not. The resilience and perspective you get from it are precious.
So next time you fail at anything, be it big are small, I hope you quickly get to the part where it’s a valuable learning experience and a funny story to tell at parties.
Have a great day.