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Failure Files

Publication date: Apr 26, 2011 12:37 AM

Start: May 24, 2011 05:30 PM
End: May 24, 2011 09:30 PM

Location: House of St Barnabas, Soho

Susan Greenberg

As part of a public event marking the publication of The Failure Files, an edited volume on failure and how it relates to a various aspects of today's society, Susan Greenberg will discuss her chapter on the importance of failure to learning and the creative process.

Susan writes:

" All writing that aims for originality and beauty has failure at its core. In true stories as well as fictional ones, creativity is about acting as a shaping consciousness. There is beauty in the story’s shape alone, but even more beauty and pleasure if the story leaves spaces for the imagination, and asks questions about what the writer does and does not know. Perhaps we should abandon the language of policymaking, social constructivism and ‘best practice’, and look instead to the language of poetics, which derives from the Greek root poiein, ‘to make’, giving us permission to attend to the process rather than the finished object. Thus a single word holds within itself a whole world of incompleteness, and hence imagination.

All writing that aims for originality and beauty has failure at its core. In true stories as well as fictional ones, creativity is about acting as a shaping consciousness. There is beauty in the story’s shape alone, but even more beauty and pleasure if the story leaves spaces for the imagination, and asks questions about what the writer does and does not know. Perhaps we should abandon the language of policymaking, social constructivism and ‘best practice’, and look instead to the language of poetics, which derives from the Greek root poiein, ‘to make’, giving us permission to attend to the process rather than the finished object. Thus a single word holds within itself a whole world of incompleteness, and hence imagination.

Susan Greenberg teaches creative writing at Roehampton University and works on her PhD thesis at UCLDH. She also maintains a blog named Oddfish.

The Failure Files event takes place at House of St. Barnabas, Soho [map].