Everything is an attempt. My friend taught this concept to me last year, pointing to my favorite novel (the one I cherish above all others, the Holy Grail of books as far as I am concerned) and said simply, “That was just an attempt by the author. It’s all attempts.”
I’d never thought of it that way. Of course, I knew the author was a writer like me, but at the same time, I believed they were nothing like me—they were beyond attempts, they’d made it! No more trying, just doing, and succeeding. I reckoned they probably never failed, or if they did, it was a different (cleaner, easier) failure. Certainly, if they failed—and that was a strong if—it was in a graceful way, not in the knee-scraping, plummeting face-first, head-over-feet failing that I am familiar with.
But, of course they fail. Every day has its failings—we forget something, accidentally say something cruel, burn the sauce for the meat that is drying out in the oven, misplace a comma, spell the words separate, restaurant, and tired wrong on the first, second, and third tries. Three steps forward one step back, or maybe no steps at all because we laid in bed the entire day reading fanfiction.
Life would be boring without our daily failings, without the challenge of trying to do better, without reaching, without attempting. It’s all attempts.
Remember the best cake you’ve ever eaten, the one you hold all cakes against, for which you would do questionable things to taste again. Consider the album that makes you feel like your nerves are on fire when you listen to it, and it’s all you can do not to dance or cry or sing right out of your skin. Try to recall how you used to draw as a child, or the way you used to write your capital “E”s, your first poem, the first photograph you took on your mom’s purple digital camera, the worst piece of writing you’ve ever created, and the best one, too. They were all attempts, some more successful than others, but attempts just the same, and a laundry-list of failings came before them. And there are successes, too—the everyday attempts you think will be spectacular failures but turn out to be your most triumphant wins! We celebrate these attempts and are grateful for every person who sent them on to us.
So here is our latest attempt: an online edition consisting of art and writing and interviews, each piece brimming with something we loved. As you read, imagine us, a staff of editors sitting around tables in the library in the dead of winter, doing our best to give all of the submitted attempts the respect they deserve and shine light on our favorites. I hope you’ll love them as much as we do.
May we all keep attempting, failing, attempting again, until we have something that someone somewhere might love just a little.