I’d never heard of the expression bucket list until the movie, The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, came out.
After that, of course, I had to sit down and make my own bucket list. What I discovered is that I’ve already accomplished most of the items I would have put on my bucket list. For example, I’ve:
- Skydived and parasailed
- Visited China and hiked the Great Wall
- Climbed to the top of a pyramid
- Traveled to Australia and scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef
- Sang the lead in an Opera (as well as several plays)
- Drank coffee in Austria and backpacked through Italy
- Had a picture book published and completed a sci-fi novel…
…to name a few of my bucket list items.
This coming Thursday (a.k.a. Thanksgiving 2012) I’ll be checking off another bucket list item. I’ll be attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Woo Who! I can hardly wait, even though I’m pretty sure it’s going to be crowded, cold, and one of those things (like skydiving) I won’t want to do more than once.
Anyway, thinking about my bucket list made me realize that while it’s cool to think I’ve done all those things…in the end, they are far from the most important moments in my life. In fact, bucket list items are like the settings in a book. Important, yes, but without people to experience them with, empty. I do not feel strong emotions when I look over the bucket list items above. However, when I recall moments, such as the time I returned home, having blown an audition for a part I really wanted, to find my husband and children waiting in the hallway for me with flowers (because they were sure I’d gotten the part), I realize those moments and the people I shared them with, are far more precious and important than anything I could ever accomplish.
Recently, I’ve been cleaning out my office, ridding myself of, among other things, copies of my novel, WHEELS, which I’d printed out to edit. Like most writers, I live in fear of someone finding a printed copy of my manuscript and publishing it before I do. I know, I know—ridiculous! Nevertheless, I’ve been holding onto them. But, now that I’ve published WHEELS, and more important, we are putting our house up for sale, it is time to let go. And, I have. I have gotten rid of every single, marked up, edited edition except one: the copy my daughter read. The copy with her dear little handwriting edits on it and her one-page note taped to the cover telling me how much she loved my book. Once again proving it wasn’t the goal of writing a novel that was important; rather, it was that someone I loved…loved me enough to read it.
You can’t put those moments on a bucket list, because they are almost, always, unexpected. However, as an author, you better have a few of them (along with some really cool settings) in your book!