“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Cheery, hunh! It is Beckett, after all. Not actually a big fan of his, but it seems to sum things up right now. Grim steadfastness? It's kind of surprising too, that while it's totally depressing, it also holds the kernel of optimism. Because otherwise, why even bother trying again? The thinnest sliver of light, needling its way in.
Which also brings me to the lyrics from "Picture Window," a collaboration between Ben Folds and great writer Nick Hornsby:
"You know what hope is? / Hope is a bastard / Hope is a liar / A cheat and a tease / Hope comes near you / Kick its backside / Got no place in times like these."
If you're not familiar with the song, it's about a mother with an extremely ill child; she sees fireworks from the hospital window and is lifted by hope, even as she knows the circumstances have not changed. The song struck me from the first listen; and while optimism serves most of us better than pessimism, it also strikes me that this hope can arrive so suddenly, with such force and with no real connection to circumstances that it can take on an air of cruelty, and leave one feeling naive, caught out. But perhaps the value of hope resides in the experience of the sentiment itself: the temporary lift, the momentary possession of a generalized sense of faith.
Whew, how did we get here? And nothing drastic is going on here. I have no sick child, was frustrated by the basement endeavors and probably should have gone to bed hours ago. That's right, says virtual Mom, patting both my arms, why don't you go to bed now? I bought you some nice new bath towels, they were on sale and you won't believe how soft they are.