"Failure isn't an option." The stubborn phrase slipped out as I was talking to a friend in Bogotá about my decision to shift back to photojournalism. He nodded, disbelieving. I was so confident, and so wrong.
The thing with failure is that it's inevitable; we'll face it whether we like it or not. The idea of failure is always close. It's the shadow to our doubt, the coal that feeds the flame of our insecurity. It taunts us.
But failure can also be more. It can remind us of what we want and need, of our own wobbly humanity. It can become a flame itself, a trickle that weaves through the valleys of our life to become a river.
Kristin Kulik, The Left Hook Coffee owner/operator, understands this duality of failure as someone who's learned to roll with the punches of life herself. In fact, she's embraced it.
Kristin created Left Hook with that realism in mind. At face value, Left Hook is a coffee roaster. And it's bound to be a good one, too — Kristin has the chops to back up her venture, with years of experience working in coffee around the country.
But deeper down, Left Hook is about more than coffee. It's about the communion of coffee as much as it is about the drink itself. It's about being a place where anyone can pop by for a cup and leave with a lesson, whether about resilience or a new way to make their own cup of coffee. Because picking yourself up is a lot easier when you have another hand to hold onto.
After all, as Kristin — and you and I — know, coffee is not just a beverage. It's a morning ritual. It's a side note to a serious conversation with friends. It's a reassurance after a bad night. It's motivation to make it through another day.
Life is bound to suck. But talking about it to a friend over coffee makes it a little easier to bear.
P.S. In a funny connection to Colombia, Left Hook is currently selling a great roast from Nariño. It's clean and smooth and reminds me of all the great coffee I've had in Colombia. I highly recommend it.