Regrets


J'MelI’ve had a few.

By J’Mel Davidson

 

By the time you read this, the so-called “Oscar Season” will be long over. The awards will be given to films you won’t think about ever again. The “best” actors will be settling on what Lifetime movie to accept. Some fancy man will still be on cloud nine because his “worst dressed” list was the hit of Pinterest for 12 hours.

And I, your favorite J’Mel? I still won’t care. I gave up on award shows in ’94. Since then I have vowed not to care about an award that I wasn’t in the running to win.

But this isn’t all about patting each other on the back. This is about the work—doing what you do and what inspires you regardless of the accolades. I’m sure you’re saying, “That’s easy for a chocolate bard such as yourself to say, J’Mel, but what about the rest of us?”

Allow me to spin a nonfiction example. I have a friend who spent the last four or five years writing a regret-a-day blog. Every day, he’d take a thing that he didn’t care for, a thing that had rubbed him the wrong way, or a thing that was generally a big pile of public stupidity, and he’d write about it with as much vitriol and hilarious sarcasm as he’d see fit. This really caught on with fans. Of course it did. The Internet is rarely a place of positivity. The man was a superstar of sorts—daily, he’d post his regret and get miles of comments and even more, several requests. “You should do a regret about this!” he’d hear at least 50 times a day.

And occasionally, he would listen. But for the most part, he wouldn’t. Because the entire point was for my friend to write about the things that he personally did not like. But it didn’t stop. People didn’t get it. They’d found their Internet negativity leader, and they wanted so badly to be recognized in his court.

But as most writers are prone to do, he got tired of doing this one thing daily. I mean, unless you’re Jim Davis, there comes a time where you have to reinstate the creative challenge to the left brain.

So our hero, with a heavy heart, put regret-a-day to bed. He started, instead, to write a one-act play a week for an entire year. This is a task that is, of course, a lot more difficult, creative, and personally fulfilling than the original exercise. In one year, our hero will have 52 completed pieces that are ready for the stage. I have tried to write for the stage in the past. Trust me, it’s not as easy as Tyler Perry makes it look (sarcasm).

And is it as popular? Well, dear reader, if it were, we wouldn’t be talking. People still want to read about the bad things. They don’t or can’t write their own. Or, perhaps, they don’t feel that it’s worth it. I can’t say.

I’ve been through the same thing, though. In another life, I wrote about the worst things in life. But occasionally, I’d run out of heartbreak and I’d write about happy things. The public—my public—did not want happiness from me. They complained. And with every complaint, I wrote more happy things. And much like our friend the Regreter, my response was to stand firm, and tell them to write their own &$#% regrets. I was punishing my audience with positivity!

So, my point: What you’re doing, whatever it is, do it till you’re satisfied. If you win an award, that’s awesome. But not as awesome as my award, because that’s the only one that matters.

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