Subscriber JM writes:
“I would love to know a handful of your biggest regrets
professionally or personally — or things you might have done
“You might not have many since you’ve always done what you
love… but I bet it would make for a gripping topic for your
I’m not sure it’s all that gripping, JM, but since you asked, the
truth is I have many regrets — because, like most people, I make
a lot of mistakes, wrong choices, and bad decisions.
Caveat: You may find some or all of these trivial. To you, they
may be. To me, not.
Here in no particular order are just 5 things I did or didn’t do
that bug me; the list could be much longer:
I got married at a younger age than my friends — 25.
But my wife got cancer a few months after the wedding.
Because of the radiation treatment, we were told to hold off on
kids for a few years.
Then, we went through infertility.
So we had Alex and then Steve later than we’d planned.
We wanted a third child. Maybe a sister for the boys.
But by then, we felt we were too old.
And so we didn’t.
Which I regret, because my kids are everything to me.
I played in my high school band, orchestra, and jazz band —
clarinet and baritone sax.
One day, the orchestra teacher offered to teach me another
instrument, one of my favorites — string bass.
He gave me a couple of lessons, but I already had a lot to do.
And so I let it go. And never learned to play the bass. Which I
wish I could play today.
At the University of Rochester, we chemistry majors were
encouraged to take German.
I took the required two semesters, but not more.
As a result, I can’t speak or read the language.
Which would have been useful to me, as in my career I have
written copy for a number of German companies.
I got hooked on writing as early as high school, writing for the
paper, and then doing the same in college.
I love being a writer, and would choose that if I had to do it
all over again.
Still, it meant not pursuing what was my first love, chemistry.
And that too I regret more than a little; I even put up a
chemistry website to stay involved with it:
Like many writers, writing a novel was on my to-do list.
But I never did it, because I never had a story idea I thought
could sustain novel-length treatment.
All my published fiction is short stories:
But no novel. And time is growing short.
And finally, I do have a couple of ideas I think might work.
So I’ll end this essay and get to work on the novels.