Longreads

In telling stories of her father’s handmade, wood-fired kilns at Arkansas Life, Alice Driver reminds us of the risks and rewards inherent in creative pursuits and the deep personal satisfaction that comes from the effort and sweat you put into your craft.

“How did you deal with failure?” I asked my dad as I watched him throw pots on a potter’s wheel in his studio. Over the course of the week I was home, my parents and I had ongoing conversations about failure and making art. As a writer, 99 percent of my life involves rejection and failure, and I constantly questioned how I could best learn from failure and continue writing. “It was emotionally devastating to build a 3,000-brick kiln, fire it and get nothing out of it,” my dad said. “I went down to the creek and cried. But I got up. Who could explain—for some people…

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