Monday, 10 November 2008

Regrets, I've had a few

It’s a question most often posed in a late night bar with everyone present three sheets to the wind, or, introspectively, when one is depressed as hell:

If you could go back and change something in your life, would you? Or, from a slightly different perspective, if you could go back and do certain things differently, would you...?

I don’t know where the years have gone. I had great plans when I was in my teens and early twenties. Now I’m approaching thirty nine with all the grace of a bulldog chewing a wasp and forty will be on me before I know it.

When I think back over the last fifteen to twenty years, the amount of time I can actually recall as being ‘wasted time’ is frightening. Add in the wasted time that I can’t remember (otherwise known as the times I was wasted...) and the fear factor takes on biblical proportions.

In terms of writing, I’ve always been able to talk one hell of a good book, or rather the writing of a book. I started several projects in my twenties, but couldn’t see anything through, and it’s only in the last five years that I’ve quit talking and got my backside into gear.

And so, from time to time, this question keeps wheedling its way into my brain – would I have done anything different if I’d had the chance? The easy answer is, yes. Hell yes. I’d rather be in my early thirties knowing what I know now than at the wrong end of that decade.

But – I am where I am right now, and you know what? I kind of like where that is. On a personal level, other than having to regularly don a wig and false breasts to avoid the bank manager, things couldn’t be much better. As for writing, for the first time I feel that my fiction is at a point where I stand half a chance in what is a bloody hard industry to make the barest of scratches, never mind a mark.

So, do I have regrets? Lots. Would I go back and do anything about them? No, I don’t think I would. That’s not to say I don’t think about those wasted years from time to time.

But now they make me realise how important it is not to add to them.

This week John is searching for:

The Righteous Man by Sam Bourne (November choice in Litopia book club)

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