When failure is an option

I have a confession to make: I did not expect this project to happen.

I hate being the one to admit that I expected us to fail, but it’s true. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I wanted us to fail, I just could not imagine how we could possibly succeed. When Brad approached us at the beginning of this past school year I was still processing the fact that Brad thought I could actually write, despite the horrific grades and edits I once received in his class just a few months earlier. To think a bunch of college kids could put together a book seemed impossible. But I loved the idea of being a part of writing group and I figured that even if we failed, it would still be a good experience and an opportunity to get some extra writing practice in. And that was my plan.

Thankfully, my plan failed.

Seeing the book come out in print and other various formats is still a “pinch me” moment. And it serves as a constant reminder of the great things that can happen when things do go according to plan.

I also realize, ironically, that a lot of plans had to fail in order for this project to even come into existence.

Lately I’ve been dealing with the fact that I currently have no plans. I am an intern at Cincinnati Magazine and in two weeks that will come to an end. My internship is the final credit I need for my course work, therefore I will not be returning to Ball State in the fall. I have no job lined up. I don’t have any writing projects to work on. For the first time in my life, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. And it’s freaking me out.

But as I think about the stories in this book, I realize this is nothing new. Every story we have here is a reflection of a time when things didn’t go according to plan. We meant to go in one direction and in some twist of fate went the opposite way. What we wanted and what actually happened weren’t the same. Somewhere along the lines we thought to ourselves, “This wasn’t suppose to happen.” Our plans had failed

But we did the best we could do – we moved on. We might’ve struggled but we survived. We walked away changed, with a better insight on who we are and our lives. And through those initial plan blunders resulted these six stories, which in turn resulted in our book.

Which brings some comfort to my current unsettlement. Plan or no plan, things seem to work out in the end. Even our failures can turn into something positive, something we never would’ve expected. Like a book.

For perhaps the first time in my life, I am happy a plan of mine failed.