by Pamela Palmer
First of all, can I just say I hate the term 'bucket list'? It's such a negative term for such a brilliant idea. If you're not familiar with them, a bucket list is a list of all the things you want to do before you 'kick the bucket'. These don't have to be big save-the-world kinds of items. In fact, usually they're not. They're things like take a hot air balloon ride or learn to knit. In my case, they're things like learn to fight or shoot a gun.
Which is where the art inspiring life comes in. A lot of the things on my own bucket list actually fall more into the column of research. Not the necessary kind of research, like knowing what the Potomac River looks like from the rocks high above, where the Feral Warriors perform some of their most important rituals. I don't need to know how to fight in order to write battle scenes any more than I need to know what it feels like to shift into an animal in order to write about it. I can imagine both very well. But that doesn't mean I'm not curious.
Delaney Randall, the heroine of Obsession Untamed, book 2 in my Feral Warriors series, is a human FBI agent and a crack shot. Olivia, the Therian heroine of Rapture Untamed, book 4, is an expert at hand-to-hand combat. The only fighting I've ever done was with my little brother when we were kids. What would it be like to possess Delaney's or Olivia's skills? I'm not going to join the FBI to find out. (Sorry Feds, but I'm on deadline.) Nor am I ever going to be immortal. But it occurred to me that I can still get a glimpse into my characters' worlds.
Actually my thinking about a bucket list started last fall when my twelve-year-old niece earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. My first thought? Cool! My second thought? I want one! I decided why not. I'd give it a try just as soon as I got the book done. But then I had another book due. And another. You get the picture.
Which is where the bucket list comes in. Instead of writing a list of New Years resolutions this year, I sat down and made a list of all the things I'm currently inspired to do and see. Everything I could think of. Try Tae Kwon Do. Learn to shoot a gun. See Iceland. Some are research-related, others are just things that sound like fun. But the point is, I want to experience them. Someday. But someday has a way of never coming. So I made myself a promise that I'd focus on one item a year. Just one. And suddenly the impossible doesn't seem so impossible after all.
A few weeks ago, I signed up for Tae Kwon Do and I've already earned my first belt. Okay, it was the white belt, but it's a start. I'm learning to kick, to punch, and I've even broken a couple of legit boards with my fist, which was seriously cool. Will I eventually earn a black belt? Maybe, maybe not, but the point is, I finally made 'someday' happen.
Think about the things you'd put on your own list. What interests you? Excites you? Inspires you? What one thing could you commit to doing/trying/investigating this year? These aren't things you have to tell anyone but yourself, but if you'd like to share something from your own list, I'd love to hear it!
And if you have a better, more positive sounding name than Bucket List, I'd love to hear that, too!