By not having a child I miss out
When you have a child you’re forced to revisit decisions and choices you made as a child. You witness someone at the same crossroads, and you get a second chance to recognize your mistakes. Both you and the child benefit from your do-over.
But what if you’re childless? A writer gets to relive the past in his/her work, and ultimately recognize mistakes that can be corrected. Not by writing in a literal way about that past, but by putting a character through circumstances that eventually come to represent the writer’s life. In writing Fight Club I came to embrace the fact that furniture will not make me an adult. In writing Choke I saw that pleasing authority figures will not bring me love. In that way—yes—the character becomes a surrogate self that allows you a second childhood, and a chance to correct your mistakes.
For the past few days I’ve seen that the folk rock singer Gordon Lightfoot killed a man. It seems that Lightfoot—the author of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and many other hits—held the man in a choke hold that led to the death. This, despite the fact that Gordon Lightfoot died recently.
This is the kind of recalibration that raising kids and writing characters allows you.
Great posts as always. Thank you.
At this point, if I could fire Michaels Godfather and change it to you, I would. But ironically Michael has 2 deadbeat Godfathers, so can I hire you anyhow? Michaels father is an even bigger fan of you than me so he'd be down. We could have Chelsea ordain it........ couldn't we?
You are a father of many, hasn't anyone ever told you that?