The Failure Memoirs, Part II: Rhapsody Goes to Writer School

Welcome back, pets. In Part II of the Rhapsody Failure Memoirs, we’ll rejoin Rhapsody where we left her in Part I, at the awkward cusp of her teen years. We’ll work quickly through high school and college and then “pivot”—meaning abruptly change topics but with a ballroom flourish—to grander failures.

By which we mean MFA writing programs.

Yes, dears, the Sundance Festilog was fun, but today it is time to put on our tweedy jackets with the elbow patches, chew thoughtfully on our pipes and ask a serious, academic question: What does it mean to call oneself a “failure?”

It is a searing indictment of the self, to be sure, but it is also a carefully calculated defensive maneuver. You can’t call me a failure if I’ve called myself one already. Ha, ha! Beat you to it. I know you are, but what am I?

A failure. You’re a failure. And a damned good one, I might add.

Before we begin, we want to offer a warning for sensitive salon-goers: this memoir is rated U for Uncomfortable. Should you find this unpleasant to watch, you can grab one of the cucumber-yogurt face masks I made (top shelf in the fridge), slap it over your eyes, and rejoin us at the last set of four asterisks.

Everyone else: pour yourself a scotch. You’re going to need it.

* * * *

While nothing awful happens to Rhapsody in junior high, the possibility of awfulness goes with me everywhere, sitting on my shoulder like a vulture. I am still writing poems, using the poem-seeing Third Eye, not that I would reveal this to anyone even under torture.

Which I fully expect will happen.

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