I claim to be the greatest marshmallow roaster of my generation. Nay, of all generations. Basically, the greatest of all time. The GOAT, if you will. Even in the wildest of flames, I manage to roast the marshmallow to a brown crispy gooeyness that if eaten, provides the masticator with a taste that is nothing short of a religious experience.

Becoming the GOAT (of marshmallow roasting) has given me a lot of pride and I often look down on, dismiss and rudely criticize someone else’s attempt at marshmallow roasting, even though they still make a pretty good marshmallow (even though that marshmallow will never be experienced religiously). So, inevitably, there is the fall. My boasting reaches such a height that suddenly, my marshmallow is blackened in flame, destined not to be eaten, only consumed by fire.

Failure like that is crushing, especially for the GOAT. It takes a long suffering moment to cradle that failure, to feel it intensely. Then, by accepting, and eventually subsuming it into my character, I come to roast even better than I ever have before. After failure, the next marshmallow will taste that much greater. It is even reasonable to say that without my marshy, mallowy failure, the marshmallow could never be roasted as grandly as I roast it.

As a writer and Theatre Artist, I have failed. I have attempted to shape my vision, only to find it dissipate into dust. Criticized, rejected and ignored, I have had many moments of doubt within the soulful loneliness of despair. Yet, I’ve never doubted the aesthetic value of failure. I have never doubted my friends who have comforted me through it. I have never doubted its reality. It is often said that failure is only failure if you accept it as such. Putting aside the general lack of definitions in our language today (with every word meaning what we want it to mean, regardless of the reality of the situation), failure should not be ignored or excused. History is riddled with people refusing to admit to failure and therefore committing the same errors (sometimes horrendously and obviously so) again. In this broken world that is so desperate for healing, failure can heal. It hurts. Oh, it hurts. But, that pain is necessary.

Through the difficulty of my failure, I often turn to those special quotes that can inspire me out of my failure. But, those inspirational quotes never tell you how hard failure is, even if it is Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It is hard to lose the dream—to not reach the goal, the vision, the hope.

Struggling within a magnificent failure not only requires the energy and fierceness to strive again, but faith in your self and your community. I can think of no better definition of faith than that which comes from the biblical book of Hebrews, Chapter Eleven, Verse One (Revised Standard Version): “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The unseen is impossible to grasp, which may be why people reject faith. We want to see our vision, to hold it in our hands, or we can’t believe it, or even care to think about it.

Yet, in the faith of failure you can cradle the impossible, what you cannot see. There is a lot of pain in that. But, a lot of hope. And from that hope, the resilience of joy, even in failure. And, what is failure?

Failure is when actuality does not meet the vision. The vision that encompasses the dream—the incarnate imagination. Failure is when it frays and collapses at the edges. The ideal still out of reach. The high vision remaining too high. Then take courage from what collapsed to the ground. What was formed from the collapse. From the humility of ambition defeated. There is strength in the humility of weakness. A strength that is far stronger than in victory. I have a vision. And if I spend my life striving for that image incarnate and never reach it, never contour its shapeless shape, then my strength will be in my defeat. And that defeat will transform within and through the other. What is the other? Beauty between love: love between beauty. Then my only aim is to fail more grandly than I have ever failed before.