"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samuel Becket, from Worstward Ho
Dareisay: hopeful? Perhaps: inspiring? Heartening? The sentiment here is quite out of line with our modern sentiments with just its acknowledgement of the prevalence of failure. But it strikes out far beyond that with its implicit assertion that, beyond prevalent, failure is indeed the only possible result. Only levels of failure, only failures of different qualitative value, but failure nonetheless.
When I read this my mind turns, perhaps I should say "of course turns", to writing, to making art. I venture to say that any creative writer who takes their work seriously shares the experience that they never, ultimately, are completely satisfied with their work. Yes, they may be at times be satisfied and think that they have written something awesome. Perhaps as they are writing it they are thinking how great it is. But guaranteed, in 24 hours, or a couple of years, there will come a time when they re-read it and want to throw up a little bit in their mouth. We see our flaws, our authorial tics, we are our harshest critic. Even Pulitzer Prize winning bestselling authors likely look back at their oh-so-successful book and find at least parts of it that they feel have failed.
And this quote, to me represents all of that, represents that urge we have to continue in the face of daunting and repeated failure to do something we love, even if, ultimately, we're only failing better at it.