FITS AND STARTS

 001 // Fits and Starts by Doug DuBois // page 88 Every so often, I start my graduate seminar with a celebration of false starts, dead ends, and wrong turns. The assignment calls for students to display a failed project. For inspiration, we all read Courtney Eldrige’s wonderful letter to the editors of McSweeney’s, which begins: “Dear McSweeney’s, No, I’m afraid I don’t have anything to submit to your upcoming issue. So instead of sending a complete work, because I don’t see that happening anytime soon, I thought I might submit a working list of stories which I have recently or not so recently quit, abandoned, or forsaken, complete with short summaries of each failed effort, in order to give you some idea why they’ve been sent down. Besides, I like listing. It cheers me up.” Maybe the strongest glue that binds artists together is failure. Celebrating this kinship, getting it out in the open, helps to avoid the delusion of self-pity and the scorn of schadenfreude. There is, of course, no critique of the work presented for this assignment, but the inevitable stories and laughter help us maintain the conceit, so critical to art and life, that things will get better.   I've always been one to scoff at the idea of "new year, new me" and other resolutions of that nature... But I have to admit, this year I really do feel like a new me. Not because there's a shiny, new calendar on the wall (metaphorically speaking), but because I actually have been rediscovering myself and my passions over the course of the last few months. I've...
Main menu