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PROMPTuesday #237: Regretful

June 2nd, 2015

Smashing fears - PROMPTuesday

 

In 2008 I “launched” PROMPTuesday, a series of weekly creative writing prompts designed to stoke the writing fire. The whole idea was to get me – and whoever read my blog – writing without the mind weight of perfection, judgment, or inner criticism.

 

As I wrote back then, my intention was to encourage all current writers, wannabe writers, and writers-for-the-day to respond to the prompt by “free-writing” for 10 minutes, and posting their submission in the below comments section for self-expression, encouragement, or just because why not.

 

And many of us did write, and shared their words here. Some of my favorite prompts remain the ones that got us to dig deep, or just throw a little dirt at the evil internal editor:

 

Like this one.

 

and

 

This one.

 

After several years of continuing to post PROMPTuesdays, I abandoned the prospect a few months ago in favor of going crazy at work and attending to life’s details. BUT, I keenly felt the loss and the existential pounding in my gut brought me back.

And so it is Tuesday and I once again return with a writing prompt.

 

As always, here the rules:

 

  • Respond to this prompt by midnight Tuesday:
    What would be your greatest regret if you didn’t accomplish it before you die?
  • Post your response in the comments section.
  • Write your response in 10 minutes of less – don’t stylize it or agonize over it or overthink it.

 

Like is my norm, maudlin and melancholy marks the prompts. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what drives me to write.

 

I’ll be back tonight with my answer.

 

On June 2nd, 2015, julie gardner said:

My response may be shallow because I’m going to circumvent the biggest issue in most people’s lives (and my own, of course) and not choose anything that involves my family. I have two wonderful kids who (despite my uneven mothering) actually like me, still voluntarily spend time with me, and are each other’s best friends (something of a miracle I credit with their dispositions and not anything I did as a parent, although I did foster an environment of love and ‘hey let’s be nice to each other’ as much as I could but kids can still be assholes and lord knows I’m an asshole so what I’m saying is I’m not writing any parenting books anytime soon). Anyway. My kids like me. And so does my husband, which, again, I don’t necessarily deserve but will accept and embrace and work to continue every day (in fact the two of us are going away to Paso Robles from Friday to Sunday just the two of us this weekend because dammit when our kids have moved away in the next three years it will be just us in this house and I don’t want to be looking at a stranger; I want to be looking forward to spending the next many many decades with my best friend). I know this is the second time I’ve mentioned “best friends” with regards to my family in under five minutes so now we’re starting to sound creepy but we’re not. We’re just lucky. And we are all non-confrontational pleasers which will probably land everyone in therapy in the long run but right now it means we’re fairly harmonious. Amen. Anyway, my point is, my family is pretty good. And there are some major regrets I have with regards to a few close friends whom I’ve treated poorly but the ones I could reconcile with I did and the one I cannot is probably never going to happen. If I could apologize and make things right with her that might be the one thing I’d regret not doing but I think it’s impossible so I’ll stick with my original shallow, selfish thing. Which is that I want to publish at least one full-length book before I die and if I do not I will have regrets. I don’t care if it’s a memoir, a YA novel, women’s fiction, humor. What matters is that it is something I can hold in my hands (not just a kindle edition – nothing against e-readers but I don’t own one so it would be fairly silly for that to be my goal). I want JUST ONE DAMN BOOK with a cover and an acknowledgments page and maybe a dedication and a blurb on the back and my words on the inside. MY WORDS. I will regret this not happening because it will mean I gave up. And I never want to look back on my life and think that I let slip a major goal because it got too hard and the rejection was too painful. I want to set an example for the kids who still like me and the husband who still loves me and *selfishly* I want this for myself. A lot. So there. That’s what I would regret. And I didn’t edit this at all so I’m sorry for typos or lapses in logic. But really. My spelling sucks and I’m often illogical so that’s appropriate. The end. Oh. And a second book wouldn’t be bad, either.

On June 3rd, 2015, debawriter said:

The other day I asked my oldest daughter why she hadn’t entered an art contest for school. I hated her answer.

“I didn’t think I’d be good enough.”

I believe that of myself all the time but I can’t abide my daughter sharing those feelings.

It’s the reason I haven’t finished my book.

Or my screenplay of women’s midlife crises.

Or my volume of silly poems.

Or my kids’ series on X-File-like mysteries.

The worst thing is that each of those projects sit in varying stages of completion, and could be done if I DID them.

My book’s pages number more than 100.

I have my screenplay outline committed to paper.

Ten poems are written.

My X-Files concept is sketched out and I only need to start getting the words down.

I want to finish one of these works in progress. I want to be done with something. I want to proceed in spite of not good enough.

I want my daughter to give her creativity a chance to fail and be messy, because that’s the process.

I don’t want to regret what either of us hasn’t done.

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