Tallulah Bankhead - star of stage, screen, and wise woman - image courtesy of

Tallulah Bankhead – star of stage, screen, and wise woman – image courtesy of

I recently found a wonderful quote from Tallulah Bankhead. Since today is International Women’s Day I thought, what more appropriate day to Tweet it and write about it.

Ms Bankhead said, “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”

Now, for those of you who don’t know about Tallulah Bankhead, she was quite a character. She was a star of both stage and screen who had it all; talent, beauty and brains. Moreover, she was a very modern woman in decidedly unmodern times. She was politically, socially, and morally progressive; so much so that, in her time, she was quite scandalous. But most of all, she was a woman who knew her mind and never failed to speak it. Tallulah lived her life to the fullest. She never missed a chance at experience and, when the tables turned on her, like in the famous ‘monkey incident’ on opening night of a play in London, she never failed to laugh at herself and make the best of things. That attitude made her admired and appreciated.

We can all learn something from Ms. Bankhead. So many people say, “If I had it to do over again, I’d [insert change here].” But to make that change would be to change the essence of who and what you are. I think that might be a terrible mistake. You see, as romance writers, we believe in hope, goodness, and the prospect that things will work out for the best. But we also recognize that, as human beings, we are the sum total of our experiences – both good and bad.

If you are not the person you want to be, change, but build that change on the wealth of experience you have already had. Scientists and inventors recognize this principle. When confronted with the fact that he had not yet come up with a viable incandescent light bulb, Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It’s the same with who we are, and who we are becoming. We are not failures, we are just finding out which personae we really are not.

A panoply of Edison bulbs - all working! - image courtesy of

A panoply of Edison bulbs – all working! – image courtesy of

We believe that Ms. Bankhead recognized and embraced that principal. Her quote reflects a comfort with who she had become and a determination to preserve the essence of her personality, even in the face of being given ‘another crack at it.”


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