The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.


Welcome to my blog, The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair. I have been writing for years, though only for school, work, or as a tool to privately exorcise my demons. Recently, as a result of boredom and panic over what to do next with my life, I decided to try to make a go of writing in the public sphere. So here I am. I have taken a nom de plume, Effie Fallire. Roughly translated it means effortless failure which is a bit silly since failing, in my opinion, takes a great deal of effort. It may even take more effort than succeeding. If you’re reading this blog because I invited you personally, I would appreciate it if you didn’t “out” me. I made up a name because I’m writing about embarrassing stuff I did. You already know about it and you’re still my friend. If you’re reading this because, by some miracle, I haven’t failed to gain a wider audience, then thank-you. I hope you enjoy reading about all my screw-ups but I’m not telling you my real name.

It took me a while to figure out just what I would blog about. I knew I needed a theme and the standard writers’ wisdom suggests that it is best to start out writing about something you know. (And probably not rehash standard writers’ wisdom right off the bat.) If you are an expert in your area, so much the better. If you just want to make shit up you better be darn good at it and really, really lucky in order to make a living at it.  Unfortunately I do not have any area of professional expertise that I am willing and able to write about, and for the last few years I have not felt like I know very much at all. Obviously all I was left with was shit and luck. I decided I would try to figure some shit out and hope for the luck to follow. I’m keeping my toes crossed that I don’t just end up with shitty luck. I need my fingers to type.

I had toyed with the idea of writing as more than a secret hobby or a collection of embarrassing journals before but I wasn’t really sure how to start. I’m still not sure but I’m doing it anyway. I had lots of ideas popping around in my head and bits of stories or drafts of my thoughts in files on my computer, phone, and in scattered piles of paper around my apartment. None of my writing seemed to have any connectedness or lent itself to a theme though. It certainly didn’t convey any expertise or credibility in any fashionable or profitable topic area. I was stuck.

Then, in the middle of yet another night of insomnia and worrying over just what the heck I was going to do with my disaster of a life, I found myself chain smoking and pacing around my tiny living room. I really do want to quit smoking but I find excuse after excuse not to really give it a shot. (I just bought this pack and it was $10, I will quit next Monday, I will quit after the holidays, I will quit before I turn 50.) I was talking out loud to myself and beating myself up over the fact that I could manage to fail at so many things but be such a successful smoker. I wanted to fail at smoking. I still do but I haven’t yet. At any rate, three things happened as I was wearing the carpet thin and trying to remember where the closest all-night convenience store was located. (I was almost out of smokes.) First it occurred to me that I am, in fact, an expert at something. Second, the idea for a little vignette about smoking hit me. Finally, after writing my smoking story I managed to get some sleep. I will post my little story soon but for now I will just get back to my long-winded point.

I am an expert at failure–which you may have already guessed from the title of this blog. My niche specialty is self-sabotage. The really great thing about being an expert at failure is that it didn’t require any specialized education or experience other than being alive and making new and ever more creative mistakes. I do have a law degree and even once had a career as a lawyer. But I failed. The education was not necessary to achieve my particular skill. It was just a bonus. It gave me the opportunity to fail big. I’ve failed at pretty much everything else you can imagine as well: diets, exercise regimens, college courses, gardening, relationships (including my marriage), parenting, finances, friendship, Candy Crush, and some days I even manage to fail to get out of bed. I have failed miserably and spectacularly. But hey, if you’re going to fail don’t bother failing half way, go ahead and make it catastrophic.

So this is a blog about failure. Hopefully it is also a blog about redemption. My redemption. With any luck, here is where I will start to learn how to fail at failing. Maybe you will too.

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