Some pages in Wreck This Journal come together very easily, while others are extremely challenging. Then, there are the pages that qualify as epic failures. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. These failures might be better classified as learning moments or works in progress because I can look back on them and say, “Hey, I tried.” I don’t like to fail, but I’ve always believed that trying matters.
The perfectionist in me hates to see an unfinished page or a botched concept, but they do have value in that mistakes are the first step to learning. Without epic failures there would be no reason to push forward and try something different. After all, Wreck This Journal is all about discovering a new viewpoint and daring to approach life with reckless curiosity. Or at the very least, its about learning to have a really good sense of humor about myself. It’s not a new idea, but it’s definitely one worth embracing. As the saying goes: Those who can laugh at themselves shall never cease to be amused. With this spirit in mind, I’ve selected a few pages in my journal that are constant sources of amusement as they represent some of my stellar “What was I thinking?” moments.
Towards the back of Wreck This Journal there is a page that gives instructions to doodle on the front cover. I’m not much of a random doodler, so this was a bit of a challenge to begin with and things only got worse the more I tried to make it happen. I thought it might be fun to use a metallic silver gel pen, so I made a little border around the edge with dots and squiggles. It looked pretty good until I found out the ink smudged if anything touched it! No matter how long I let it dry, the ink refused to stick! Even after two days I was able to wash it off with a sponge. Back to square one!
For my second attempt, I whipped out the paint pens and made polka dots from top to bottom. After they dried and didn’t smear, I thought it might be fun to add glitter glue over the top of some of the dots. For more than an hour I squeezed red, blue, green, gold, and silver glitter onto various polka dots. It look so cute and sparkly when it dried! Too bad they all popped off as soon as I opened the journal.
There’s also the little problem that I can’t bring myself to bend the cover to cause damage. The cover is still a work in progress and perhaps one day I’ll overcome the roadblocks that stand in the way of doodling success.
On another page, I was supposed to draw an endless line. I easily accomplished this, but when I decided to decorate my line, things went horribly awry. For some reason, I thought adding a spiral would make it more interesting, but it only made the special effects in 1960s time travel movies look more realistic. I credit poor color choice and failure to think things through for the ruin of this page.
I failed utterly and completely on another page in that I didn’t follow directions and my design ideas totally backfired. The directions asked me to connect the dots with my eyes closed and I did all the way until I peeked. Then, I got the brilliant idea to fill the page with large circles and color them with two colors that do not compliment one another. I learned two things: 1) I can’t draw circles without a little help. 2) Coloring large circles with yellow and green makes them look like Mountain Dew bubbles under a microscope.
With each failure, I was reminded of the choice that exists when something goes wrong. I can beat myself up and pout OR I can pick myself up and learn from the mistake. Whether its an academic, professional, creative, or personal mistake, I must keep trying. This especially applies to writing, a realm where I’m bound to make a slew of mistakes. Everything from spelling, grammar, descriptions, poor first/last lines, format, sentence structure, syntax, etc. includes a mistake waiting to happen. The list is endless and every mistake will be glaringly obvious and pointed out to me. Am I going to sit and pout? No. I am going to keep trying.
(I might laugh a little, too.)
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