Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thing I'll Never Do: Invitation to Write #9

For Writers:

My friend Patrick called me up and asked me to jump out of an airplane with him. He and two other friends had decided it would be fun to hurdle toward the ground at great speed, and they wanted to include me in the fun. I asked him where they planned to go to do the jumping, and he named a local parachute club.

Although his offer was tempting, I begged poverty as an excuse. I simply didn’t have the extra money to join them, I said. While it was true that I didn’t have the money, any fear I might have of jumping out of an airplane I kept to myself.

None of them plummeted to their deaths that day, and all of them came back telling heroic stories of daring. Once they had returned safely, I felt bad not going. The experience had bonded them in such a way that I would forever be excluded from the “Three Flying Musketeers.” I promised to jump with them the next time they went, but they never jumped again. My opportunity to become the fourth Musketeer never came.

Today, make a list of all the things you’ll never do in your life, making your list as ordinary or as crazy as you’d like. After spending a few minutes making your list, go back through and explore at least 5 of the items in some detail. What are your reasons for not doing these things?

“While we stop to think, we often miss our opportunity.”
Publilius Syrus

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mind Fields: Invitation to Write #8

For Writers:

We all have those “what should I do?” moments in our lives. When I have one, I like to consider all of my options in minute detail. Sometimes I become so overwhelmed in looking at the pros and cons of each option that I find it impossible to decide what to do.

For weeks I might go over the options again and again in my mind, only to find that the problem has resolved itself over time. Either the options that I once had are no longer options, or the problem has changed so much that I have to start the thinking process of “what should I do?” all over again.

I often find myself feeling guilty for having a mind. Why can’t I be more impulsive? Why can’t I act and live life without so much planning? Isn’t it worse being a prisoner, locked behind my own personal mind field?

Write about a time in your life that required you to make an important decision. What emotions did you feel as you thought about what you needed to do? Were you able to act and make the decision, or did you let the decision be made for you by thinking about your options for too long? Are you proud of how you handled the situation, or do you feel regrets?

“I have thought too much to stoop to action!”
Philippe Auguste Villiers de L’Isle-Adam