Flowers For Failure

  • Alexandra Patel

Part of a collaborative team, I served as Co-Editor (content + the occasional illustration) to create an indie magazine, titled: Flowers for Failure. Flowers for Failure is an experiment. It is a far-reaching zine, fun and free. It is a wacky compilation of people's deepest fears and dumbest rants. It is the manifestation of what failure means in the big bad world— everything and then, at the end of the day, nothing at all. It is not a big deal.  This was the message at the core of our idea when our team decided to produce a work centred on failure. There is no lack of content out there on this theme; failure is a major part of society. It is how we judge our actions, filter our memories of the past, and plan risks for the future. Failure is a key part of the human experience. This makes it significant, and yet not at the same time. If it is part of who we are, then as a natural process, why is it given such attention? Why does it wreak havoc on our self-esteem and put the fear of God in our hearts? Flowers for Failure attempts to deconstruct this phenomena by ruining failure’s icon-like image as a malevolent myth, ready at any moment to jump out and destroy you. Failure is sometimes, in fact, very funny. Failure is, often, a good thing. Failure can even be a relief. It is an aspect of living that is like all others—heartbreaking, lame, important, infuriating, and absolutely ridiculous. With this mission in mind, Flowers for Failure was bought into reality as a short and sweet twenty-page zine. It was printed using Riso and grabs a passerby’s eye with splashes of punk, neon orange on gritty-black backgrounds. The zine is long enough to warrant picking up (it is not just another flyer) but not so long that it requires dedicated attention and time to read (it is not kinfolk). The content ranges from poems that are not so much poems but speculative ramblings; an interview with an old woman; a submission on a life-long battle with failure; a short story; and comical illustrations. From start to finish, it takes 15 minutes to read; it is likely that a person might only take 3 as they pick out just one story to read. Afterwards, they think, that was weird. Then they put it down. Out of sight, out of mind. Yet, in the back of their mind, they feel the low vibrations of a strange yet comforting sentiment— failure’s not so bad.  This zine prioritises quality over quantity. That quality was judged by our un-flailing editors, who agonised over the emotions provoked by each different take on failure. The zine is not serious. It is not meant to be. It is, however, produced with the same level of professionalism and care as any other magazine because this ensures that the audience will remain in awe over its contents rather than becoming distracted by thoughts like: Should I read this? Is this a real magazine? Who wrote this? Yes, you should read Flowers for Failure. It’s a zine that is meant to be blasted through. Have fun.