I marvel at the power of language. I guess that’s some sort of prerequisite for wanting to write. I’ve been working on a new short story that references most of my enduring obsessions: MK-Ultra, the abuse of power, pseudo-science, that sort of thing.

In writing a scene about my protagonist’s regrets, I played around for some time between the words: “or” and “and.” Self-indulgent? Perhaps. But in listing things he had regrets about, vastly important. To use “or” suggests that he is somewhat careless, somewhat flippant about his lost opportunities.

For instance, being regretful about not studying the right subject at university or dating the right person. Which one is it? Do they matter that much?

But if you change the “or” to an “and,” things shift. If he regrets the subject as well as the romantic object of interest. Well, that’s different, isn’t it? We’re talking about two different people here.

And that’s why I love writing.


Image: Photo by Bert Heymans (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).