Monday, September 7, 2009

End of Vacation, Getting Organized and Throwing out Old Novels

Yup. That's it, folks. We're done. School starts tomorrow for the kidlets and I'm back at work after two weeks away. It feels like ages so I guess I must have had a long enough break.

Why is it that when the school season begins I feel like I need to get organized? I spent my last day of vacation cleaning out the laundry room for pity's sake! But there's something quite fulfilling about bundling up junk that's been stuffed into cupboards and thrown haphazardly into corners and sending it to the trash or, if it's something still useful but not for us anymore, to the Goodwill. Maybe it's because I know that with the schedule from hell about to descend I won't have a long stretch of time where I can devote to that kind of project. Thank God I've learned to write in snatches of time because otherwise I'd never have finished a book.

One of the cool things about cleaning up is you get to see stuff that you've kept that you've forgotten about - most of it sentimental. Old baby plates and first utensils, childhood sweaters, old school papers and, in a writers case, the books that will never be published.

You know the ones. Those first efforts you once thought so brilliant but now, years later as you re-read them the strongest feeling you have is an overwhelming urge to cringe. Still, you see the flashes of the writer you now are. The voice that has become yours. And while you know you should probably trash the pages (and the contest entries, course exercises and critique remarks that helped you become a better writer) you just can't bring yourself to do it. It's a piece of your own personal history and while you know it will never see the publishing light of day, you also know that every once in a while, when you clean up and you think "What's in that box over there" you will flash back to when you started writing and you thought every word spilling out of you just might be brilliant, just might one day, be published. And the disappointment when you realized you're not good enough. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

So even though these pages haven't been published and you know that they're taking up space you don't have, you just can't get rid of them. You know they're still important enought to keep. They are evidence of how far you've come and how persistent you've been. They are the beginning. And we all know how important beginnings are.

So, while I cleaned up a lot there were a few things I did keep. One box in particular. Really, it doesn't take up that much space...

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