speak/listen

Hurrah - I failed!

By John-Paul Flintoff

Today is the 300th anniversary of Queen Anne’s death – the deadline I set myself to publish my novel about her. And it’s not been published (yet).

Fail! Fail! Fail – fail – fail – fail – fail!

Or is it? I’m actually rather pleased not to have hit the deadline because the book is substantially about people around Queen Anne trying to get their future sorted out perfectly before she died.

The main character, Daniel Defoe, was working as a spy for the Queen’s chief minister, Oxford. Defoe wanted to secure his employment for the long term.

Another significant character intimately connected with Anne’s court was Jonathan Swift, a clergyman from Ireland (then regarded as the back of beyond). Swift desperately wanted Anne’s ministers to appoint him bishop in England, so he wouldn’t have to go back to Ireland.

Neither man got what he wanted. But that failure could perhaps have been the making of them: soon after Anne died, they turned their hands to writing the books for which they are best known – entirely new kinds of books called novels – Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels, respectively.

So it seems that failure is really just a matter of perspective – given enough time, it doesn’t look like failure at all, but an inevitable step on how we become who we are.

Defoe and Swift are pictured here as they will appear, if only “too late”, in my book. The models are my friends and fellow performers Daniel Dresner and Will Steele. Thanks chaps.

Posted: August 1, 2014