Wordy Failure

“Everybody only writes about success!” N protested. “If there is a discussion of failure, it’s only in the context of how it was overcome. Nobody writes about how they failed and failed and never overcame anything.”

So I introduced him to the genre of quit lit. Currently, the field of history is experiencing a boom in it. It’s exactly like every contribution to the genre: verbose, overwrought, self-pitying and superficial.

Needless to say, N was stunned because the phenomenon is unbelievable the first time you come across it.


5 thoughts on “Wordy Failure”

  1. In Japanese literature, the concept is known as the Nobility of Failure. The idea is that one’s true character is revealed in failure, not in winning.

    Ivan Morris’s thesis is best stated in his introduction: “Napoleon’s panegyrists rarely dwell on the period after Waterloo, whereas if he belonged to the Japanese tradition his cataclysm and it’s bitter aftermath would be central to the heroic legend.”


    Liked by 1 person

  2. N could write a great series of posts/or a book of the strategies of getting through and thriving through long-term unemployment.

    For white collar jobs, the more advanced and specialized the job, the longer it takes to find suitable employment. And from your posts, he describes unemployment and a level of frustration that most men would not be able to cope with. Plus he was also working with geographic constraints as well, IIRC. I realize there isn’t a recession now, but as the world becomes more fluid and more jobs are lost to automation (seriously, I saw this mentioned in Cosmopolitan so politicians needn’t be shy), it would be more relevant to your likely audience than ever.

    When my dad was laid up for a week with a gallbladder attack he was ready to climb the walls and he checked himself out AMA. Three weeks between jobs and my brother was driving everyone around him nuts. It’s not just a question of money.


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