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  • Writer's pictureViva Sarah Press

First lesson: How to fail

“You need to understand that you will fail in this class. You will be frustrated. And fail.”

Okay, I thought.

My other two course-mates are less accepting.

One of them says she is averse to failing.

The other says she really likes to succeed at what she does.

I say that I’m not only okay with failing but that I have two college certificates confirming my ability to fail.

After all, I hold certificates in therapeutic clowning and educational clowning from the College of Education, Technology and the Arts in Tel Aviv. It is a clown’s job to use failure to play again.

My course-mates begin inquiring how much they must fail.

At first, we are meant to fail for at least a month.

Create. Scrap. Re-create. Scrap. Re-re-create. And so on.

My course-mates don’t want to throw out their creations for a month.

We’re learning wheel throwing in ceramics.

A compromise is reached: we can keep our lopsided creations from Week 2.

On my fourth attempt today, I play with the clay and somehow form a symmetric bowl.

Everyone is surprised. Including myself.

I think about breaking the rule of the day and keeping it. It really is pretty.

But for some reason I decide to dab a sponge along the rim to smooth things out.

It wobbles. Then gravity wins.

An accidental fail.

First lesson complete.

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