The words roll off my tongue: "Why didn't I think of that?"
Meaning...why couldn't I come up with that story? I may having been casting about for an idea for hours...for days...but nothing seems to work.
Then I'll read some perfect piece that's like a whack on the side of my head: "Why didn't I think of that?"
For example, there's this story: "The Wine Doctor" by Frederick Adolf Paola:
You may not have heard of it. You may not think it's special...but I loved this little story. It touched a very tender place in my heart. I wished I'd thought of it.
And then there's State of Wonder by Ann Patchett:
...and another whack on the side of the head.
These stories both feature medical issues and are populated by doctors...but the ideas behind them would never have crossed my mind. They belonged to somebody else...
...because the stories we tell emerge out of our own experiences and relationships, our own joys and sorrows...our own victories and our defeats. None of us can write someone else's story...which is why we need to write our own.
I know that all the wishful thinking in the world will not make me any younger, smarter, more beautiful...
...or more ferocious!
You could wish the day away trying to live someone else's life...trying to write a story that isn't yours.
The point is to enjoy the stories other people write. To learn from them. To remember them. And then, go write your own.
"Writing teaches us,
in addition to the joys of martyrdom,
to be patient and forgiving with ourselves."
By this time next week...barring a hurricane...we'll be vacationing on the OBX! To post or not to post...that is the question.