Here’s the thing: I have a flower petal problem. I know. What a problem, huh? But like many things in life, it’s all in the way one views it.

My home in Southern California doesn’t have a garage. It has a carport. Above the carport blooms a thick vine of thorny red flowers. The vine grows down a white trellis where it becomes part of a large flowery bush. These flowers grow everywhere. Strip malls, gas stations, in patches of land between busy streets. They are called Bougainvillea.

Everyday, like falling snow, dry wilted petals drift onto my driveway. Hundreds of crunchy red petals scatter my lawn and carport. Everyday, we trek flower petals into the house. They stick to the bottom of our shoes. They float with an afternoon breeze landing in our trees. They line our garden, sticking to other flowers in our flowerbed. I sweep them up or blow them away and they return the following day. Day after day, flower petals. Never ending flower petals.

And so, what am I trying to say? In reality, flower petals are lovely. These flowers have been called “flower machines that explode in color.” To passerby, they are a delight to look at in hues of pink, purple and red. Sometimes they are white or bright orange. But when they cause me to work or end up in unlikely places, they’re not so delightful.

My point being, the words in my stories are like these flower petals. Sometimes they are a delight, lovely to look at. And sometimes they’re a nuisance, a bothersome mess that gives me grief.

Words or flower petals, or whatever else life offers, good or bad, we can choose to view them as positive or negative. In my case, if I’m being honest with myself, whenever I find a flower petal stuck to the bottom of my shoe or peel one off my entryway floor, I often think, “There are worse things in life than a flower petal stuck to my shoe.” And there really are.

I am a writer. Nothing will ever change that. And so I think: there are worse things in life. There are worse things in life than being rejected over and over. And over again.

Some days feel like there isn’t. But there really are. So I say as I flick a flower petal off my sweater sleeve.