I've been thinking about the French lately, as I reread Flaubert's Three Tales. This collection of three long short stories is, save Madame Bovary, his best work. They were written late in his life, just a few years before his death and after years of disappointment.
He was plowing a fallowed field.
He had not had a real success in over 15 years. Perhaps he wondered if he ever would again. Well, he would. And "A Simple Heart" is the best of them.
All this got me to thinking about how writers and artists are shaped by failure--even if only for a short time. The question is: Is it the obstacle or the advantage that is most to blame for a writer's work? I believe it is the obstacle. But, of course, I would have to.
I write about all this at The Huffington Post: