You know the old saying: Take no prisoners? This post is about taking no regrets--to the grave, that is. I've found with my writing that as much as I want to be published again, I want something else even more: to get it right.
To get my writing the best it can be, both in the story itself and in the craft.
And that means taking chances; shutting down that internal censor who when I get a nudge of an idea, whispers in my ear, "That's stupid. No one would want to read that."
One of my favorite writing manuals is The Modern Writer's Workshop by Stephen Koch, and in the first chapter, the chapter about ideas and how a writer's imagination leads to those "crazy places", Koch counsels not to let your "spark" flare and die at the voice of your internal editor. It's hard-- not to listen to that little voice. Because that's the same voice who saves us from ridicule. It's the same voice that keeps us homogenized with the rest of our "group", whoever that group may be. And it's the voice I try to block out most days, especially in the beginning of projects.
The painting above is by Ivan Albright and it's in the Chicago Art Institute. I had the opportunity to stare at it a long time last week on a drizzly Chicago day. It took the artist a decade to create it. It's incredible, isn't it? The marred Victorian door, the tombstone doorsill and the tattered funeral wreath. And look at the aging hand on the doorframe. The title of the painting is That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do. It's interpreted as a concrete image commenting on the brevity of life.
It worked for me.
Silence the Censor. Take no regrets.