|Flowers are one of my guilty pleasures -
but an orchid is a plant, so that doesn't count.
Mine would have been expensive hair products, fresh flowers and astrology magazines, if I'd got my finger out to tell her when she asked. As I've said, it's a fun idea - but it also got me thinking - while I was drying my hair, actually - back to the fancy hair products - why do things that give us pleasure have to make us feel guilty? And a bit more about guilt in general.
I'm not talking here about the big stuff - guilt that involves crime, or those deeply personal ones that centre on things done and spoken, or not done and not spoken, but those little nagging 'Coulda Shoulda Woulda' ones we all seem to carry around, The ones that involve too many cream cakes, or not enough exercise, or 'Just one more chapter and then I'll ...'
Why do we do that? And why do things that we enjoy doing have to make us feel that we should not enjoy them? From personal experience, the guilt trip tends to be towards the negative - the things not done. But the whole thing is negative, and self sabotaging and energy sapping. So why do we do it? Are our brains programmed that way, or is it upbringing? Where does this feeling that you are not allowed to have any fun, and that however much you do, it is not enough, come from? Being a major offender, I don't have answers, except to say that I really do think we should be kinder to ourselves.
And of course, guilt is a gift to a writer. The guilty secret - where would we be without it? It opens up so many possibilities - retribution, revenge, blackmail, domestic chaos. But it's probably the guilt bit that has the most possibilities for examining the emotional turmoil of your characters, and emotional stuff is what makes the book tick - at least, it does for me.
So perhaps having that personal experience of guilt, even if it is only that I haven't got round yet to potting up the plants I bought at the show last week, is worth something after all. The plants are quite happy, I'm watering them and making sure they are comfortable, so I really don't have anything to feel guilty about, do I?
Victoria's Guilty Pleasures post