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What Was Failed, Part One

failcat3 This may well be WHAT WAS FAILED, PART ONE OF ONE, but I had to put part one in the title because I can’t take on the subject of WHAT I FAILED and get even a partial list in a single blog entry.

Honestly if I were to try and blog that subject in its entirety? This would be part one of 70 squidzillion parts. Part two would probably need to cover MATH, seeing as squidzillion is not even an actual number.

Actually all the ways and times I failed at math would be parts 2 through 17.

RANDOM MATH FAIL EXAMPLE: I failed algebra in high school, partly because I am BAD at math, partly because I have very poor hearing from the squidzillion ear infections I had as a baby, and largely partly because my 9th grade algebra teacher spoke as if she had just crammed her cheeks full of unchewed, bulky nuts.

Her lectures were a spew of dampered honking with a lot of spitting and swallowed vowels and flute-y nose-peeps escaping her nostrils in mid-word.

DIGRESSION: She also had the most impressive bosom I have ever seen on a human being. Not just large – there are many large bosoms about. This bosom was MIGHTY, jutting out like the prow of a ship. No, the prows of two ships.

It did not bounce. It did not so much as tremble. It was two massive, unstoppable cones of power sailing majestically ahead of her, clearing a path though whatever was in her way, be that the air, or crowds, or mountains, or the high grass of helpless meadows.

That bosom was unmoving and unmovable. Whatever machine or fortress she used to tame and shape the bosom was constructed out of ALL the whale bones, ever, and bolstered by flying buttresses and magic Dwarven steel. She could have safely gone leaping onto a trampoline and her bosom would not have heaved even a LITTLE. Later I would steal her bosom and and stick it onto the chest of Bernese Frett in my second novel, BETWEEN, GEORGIA.

failcat2 At any rate, this teacher liked to use COINS in her examples, and her explanations of the main ideas would sound to my not-great ears like, “WONK WONK WONKA WOO nickels WONK WONK dimes WOnnnNK the Nickels WONNNNNK wonk WONK.”

After a few days of staring at the rainbows caught in the misty edges of her constant spit-spray and not understanding the words, I began to use my algebra class time to perpetrate TRULY bad poetry.

Well, I was in ninth grade.

I was very into my own ANGUISH. I was not above rhyming pain with again multiple times in a stanza. My sorrow? I loved a boy named Randy Chitty who had a muscle car he REBUILT HIMSELF and a torn jacket and black curls and who kept DANGEROUS CIGARETTES rolled in the sleeve of his grease-stained white T Shirt. Randy Chitty, meanwhile, was an upperclassman with no idea I was a LIVING ORGANISM.

So I wrote truly dreadful poems about my agonizing, unrequited love, torturing his black curls and his muscle car into a metaphor about … I want to say ancient Rome? Something about wind rifling his curls as he rode his iron chariot?

The whole iambic pentametered abomination was just thinly veiled images of Randy Chitty in a gladiator outfit, juxtaposed against my real PAIN at being ignored AGAIN here in the real world as he looked through me with his something something noble warrior’s eyes and PS NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME.

Digression: At 14, it is safe to say I also failed, righteously, at writing POETRY.

Anyway. I was so involved that I didn’t notice the word NICKEL had been replaced in the wonk-wonking of my teacher’s lecture by another word I should have recognized.

WONK WONK Wonk, Joshilyn?… WONK Wonk, Joshilyn? …Joshilyn? …JOSHILYN?

Next thing I knew, she was looming over me. I stared up between the massive peaks of the bosom. It framed her tiny, pinched and angry face, glowering down upon me. She wonked at me, and it was clear from context that she wanted to know WHAT I WAS DOING that was obviously not algebra. I quaked in the twin shadows of her power source, and she reached around it and PLUCKED MY NOTEBOOK OUT OF MY SLACK AND HORRIFIED HANDS. She turned and went to the front of the classroom with it.

Then…she read my poem to the class. My poem about my desperate need to do some big-time making out with Randy Chitty.

Honestly, it would have been the worst moment in my young life, life-alteringly bad, defining the rest of my high school years…if ANYONE IN CLASS HAD UNDERSTOOD IT.

To me, it was obviously a poem declaring my hopeless devotion to all things RANDY….but to the class? It was just a bad poem about chariot induced agony in Rome. Between my teacher’s missing vowels and abused consonants and my mauling of the written word via convoluted imagery, my secret love passed by, unobserved.

failcat1 YET ANOTHER DIGRESSION: I should have realized then that no one would ever read anything I wrote exactly. No two people ever read the same book. Also, I have now digressed so far I have failed at writing my intended part 1. *beam*

QUESTION: I delinked the archives of the first 6 years or so of FTK because all the formatting got wrecked—the software evolved or something. What if I instituted a running feature where every
Friday I went back and edited and fixed an entry I LIKED from the old blog, so I restored the good parts, and they were saved and available here?

If I do it, what should I call that category? Flashback Friday? Alison wants me to call it Fro’ Back Friday. Frowback? Fro’back? Yes? No?

20 comments to What Was Failed, Part One

  • cakeburnette

    yes. please.

  • Yes, please. Also, please please so not forget the one where you doused poor Franz Schubert with a cup of water while in a house-selling, book-writing, child-rearing induced bout of cat-dousing madness. I have laughed at that entry so hard I have hurt myself more than once. It is better than Haagen-Daz after a break-up, and has worked its way into my household vernacular. If either of my cats, especially Devil-cat Boo, looks up at me with ill intent while I’m drinking a beverage, I look cooly at my cup and warn them, “Careful. Cat-dousing. That’s what it’s for.”

  • DebR

    I vote for Flute-y Nose-Peeps Friday just so we can say it again and again and again. But that’s just me.

  • Brigitte

    It would be enjoyable to ME, but I fear you burdening yourself with yet another resolution that will not be stuck to, thus making you beat yourself about the head and shoulders for your failiness.

  • bonbon

    If you do a fro back please include the post you wrote one August about you and your husband and Jesus in the bookstore. I don’t remember it exactly now but I would go back and read it often, and it made me laugh each and every time.

  • S Westenskow

    Call it what you like. I’m so glad I’ve already read every one!! I love going back and re-reading too. So I just need to know where to send my friends now…

  • Hi, my name is Gwen and I am happily addicted to audio books and any words put together by Joshilyn Jackson. I don’t want to change my addiction. I am just making note of them. As a happy addict, my reply has to be that I think you should compile the FTK archives into audio books…say one per year of the entire year’s FTK blogs! I would buy them!

    HOWEVER, if doing an audio of FTK would slow down the writing of your next anxiously-awaited book to audible, I would have to say…hmmmmmmm…let me think…I will send you cases of Energy Drinks so you can keep up with the demand. In all fairness…you got us all addicted. You must supply our fixes! :o) Wishing you a great 2014!

  • Gwen and I should start our own 12 step support group I think. Yes, please edit away. I suspect your ability to make me laugh and spit out my drink has been there a very long time.

  • Jabberwocky

    Pink Sock Friday. Yes, I like the sound of that.

  • Brian

    1. SQUIDZILLION is a real number. “Nearly any number you can think of is a Real Number.” Proof If it’s on the internet, it must be true. I suspect mathematicians just have not gotten around to assigning the number of zeroes yet due to budget cuts.

    2. With some Googling, I think I discovered that RANDY CHITTY went on to build the famous car in Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Seems he’s lost his hair, put on a few pounds and lives in the outback of Australia. Lookie

    3. BOSOMS: Three paragraphs to describe boobs. Well done.

    4. I found this animation of WONKING. This is what I hear when I read what you wrote. Exceptionally relevant in that it shows a teacher wonking. Youboob

    5. ANSWER: You know we hang on your every word. We’re addicts, and you just asked, “Hey, want something for free?”. Sure we do. However. No, wait, needs shouty caps. HOWEVER. I worry you’ll spend your time doing that thing instead of the thing you’re supposed to be doing. What are the options? Could you mobilize your minion army to do the heavy lifting?

    And apologies if the edit on this post is atrocious. Off to find a better WordPress cross-editor.

  • DOOOO EEEETTTTT!!! pretty please, ancient Roman chariots on top?

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    Sooooooo, you’re still going to write part one. Yes?????

  • Jenn

    Yes! There was one old post that had to do with finding an alarm clock that would actually wake you up, or something. Even thought I can’t remember the details, I do remember I thought it was hysterically funny and would love to read it again.

  • I think pulling from the archives is a great idea!

    My math failure story also includes a poem. A bad one. But it was about math and earned me enough extra credit to get me out of 11th grade. Woot for words!

  • I knew when you got to math fail that you were knitting pink socks. Seriously. And also bravo. I, too, failed at math just mainly because I am appallingly bad at it. The only reason I did NOT fail Algebra 2 my junior year is because the man who taught my class (one of my favorite people to this very day) had also taught me Algebra 1 AND geometry and knew that my saturation level had been reached and the math section of my brain was done. He was an excellent math teacher, and many young minds flourished under his instruction. I was just ill equipped. Which is why I teach language arts. As far as republishing bloggy doodles. A BIG YEP to that, although linking it to an actual day is fraught with peril. . .much like announcing part one of something and proceeding to use imagery to paint a prow of a bosom. You SO TOTALLY WIN at imagery, but somehow assigning an actual date to something blog related tends to slip through the blogosphere like lovely, ethereal smoke. I say name it, “Feelin’ it Frowbacks” and post when the spirit has some pink socks on.

  • Karen in Md

    While I love the idea, I fear that doing so will pull you away from writing the books that I love to read.
    Every Friday seems so daunting. Unless someone else is actually doing it for you. Maybe once a month?

  • Oh, the dead-alive snakes, please, and your time in the slammer MUST be linked! To lose those would be catastrophic.

    Excellent fail, my dear. Keep it up!