Regrets Equal Opportunties
Regrets Equal Opportunities is the subject of this Wednesday’s Djuna Shellam The Write OWL episode. For me, my biggest regret in life has actually turned out not to be a negative, but more of an opportunity.
Sometimes I allow myself to go the “oh poor me” space where I whine about “wasting” so much of my life (one of my regrets), a life that naturally gets shorter by the day. It’s not a pleasant place for me, so I try to avoid it. When I began writing in earnest, I discovered I could parlay my regrets into interesting storylines where I have the power to rewrite history. Or, to be more precise, create history—for my characters, and ultimately, for me. Now, rather than retreating into the unhappy place, I can write.
So what do I mean? Simple. Make a mistake in life? Let a character make a better choice. Did you forget to… Travel around the world? Have kids? Invent anything? Save money. Make money. Be happy? Walk across the country for a cause? Pursue your dreams? Love the one you love? Leave the one you don’t love? Shall I go on? I could…
I don’t know how other writers do it, but it’s cathartic, sometimes, for me to address a regret through one of my characters. Now don’t go looking for me in everything my characters do, undoing regrets, because most of the time I’m weaving other people’s experiences and regrets into my characters’ experiences, with perhaps a thread or two of mine.
As I mention in Episode 15, Regrets Equal Opportunities, my biggest regret was not realizing, or understanding is probably a better word, that I was smart. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m some kind of genius or anything, just that until I was in my twenties, I thought I was not smart enough to do the things I wanted to do. Writing is a great fix for that. I can do all the things I ever wanted to do through my characters. I mean, how great is that? It’s almost like magic.
So, regrets? I don’t have no stinking regrets. I have opportunities.
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