Tape & Toothpicks
I spent the evening taping strips of paper together with toothpicks. Together, they formed a tapestry, and the next day, I hung it on the wall.
It my senior year of high school. My project hung next to every one else's, and my teachers went around the room, asking each of us to describe our work.
As everyone was sharing, the tape holding my project together lost its grip, and the toothpicks separated from the paper. Slowly, it all began to fall, and within a matter of minutes, the entire piece was nothing more than a pile of cheap supplies on the concrete floor.
Everyone turned to look at me, ready to discuss how my project had just completely fallen apart. I was criticized for my poor craftsmanship, and they were right. As usual, I'd had my sight on the larger picture and hadn't paid much attention to the construction of the piece. I felt my way through it, taping and taping, and in the end, I'd done a poor job creating the piece of art that I intended to create, but as I watched it fall apart, I saw something far more interesting than what I had planned.
I asked permission to write an essay defending the destruction of my project and explaining how this actually made my work even better. My teachers agreed to let me do this, and I got an A.
I learned early on that just because something doesn't go as planned, doesn't mean that it has gone wrong. I learned - as they say - to takes lemons and make lemonade, and I did this through storytelling.Read More