If I were to list all my discarded ideas, this would be the longest blog of my extensive blog career.
But, then, "discarded" may too sophisticated and charitable a word to apply to the ideas I've let slip through my life unnurtured. The word implies that a choice was made, as if I'd examined the idea carefully and decided that it wasn't worthy of my attention, or that I'd thoughtfully put it aside for a while with a promise to revisit.
More accurately, what I've done is simply let ideas go, by default, by not following through with them. I have a history of taking an idea just so far and then dropping it in favor of another, shinier idea, abandoning it, like an unfit mother who's attention is attracted by another kid across the playground.
In short, I've hardly ever met an idea I didn't like, play with, and ultimately cast aside when the going got rough, i.e., when it started to involve a lot of work, a large measure of stick-to-it-iveness, and the confidence that the investment would be worth the effort.
In this way, I've discarded my way through life. I've always been that way. If social workers and child psychologists were paying as much attention when I was a kid (if there even were social workers and child psychologists when I was a kid), I'd have been riddled with drugs and shunted off to Focus Therapy three times a week. I'd have been forced to finish that A, B, C book, instead of stopping at P once I realized there were 10 more letters to go; to finish that Lego bridge (kidding; there were no Legos then, any more that there were child development specialists.)
I often think how different my life would have been if I'd chosen to be a finisher, an expert in something. Just a small corner of the universe where I would know more than anyone else.
At one time, my husband knew more than anyone in the world about video tape, including the technical aspects and the behind-the-scenes business, all the way to the FCC. Imagine digging that deeply into a one-half-inch phenomenon like video tape! He was in great demand for his expertise.
Even in retirement, he's still that way—focused, as engineers are wont to be. (Lucky me when there's a problem in my home office or entertainment center!) When VHS tapes went to the Smithsonian, he chose a new field, and can hold his own with all the geeky 12-year-olds out there when many of his peers have moved on to golf and only golf. (Not that there's anything wrong with golf.)
I admire experts, but it's too late for me.
Instead, I write my characters as experts. Sure, Professor Sophie Knowles has a hobby or two, but she's heavy into her teaching and research and knows a lot more about differential equations than I ever did. She's not about to write a novel or go on a blog tour or take a cartooning class as I've done.
My first protagonist, Gloria Lamerino, retired physicist, was even more of a specialist, never reading outside her field, paying no attention to the swirl of ideas around her in Berkeley during its Kumbaya days.
Probably the protagonist who's most like me is Gerry Porter of the Miniature Mysteries. She loves her hobby of building dollhouses and making mini scenes, but she's content to use kits and found objects—unlike her friends and fellow crafters who make tiny replicas of furniture and objects of art that are museum quality, "from scratch."
I take my refuge in a quote from Carl Sagan: If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
Since there's no time for that, I might as well use the pie mix and move on to another project.
Am I the only one who's left a trail of discards with many hats, careers, names, hobbies, and projects that died of neglect?