An inside job

I have written very little since my last check-in. I had guests, visited family, and started an intensive paper-taming project. How intensive? I had to “rest” the shredder until special-ordered lubricant arrived!

The weather inspired me to tackle this dreaded task. I started sorting files and editing content during record-breaking heat.  On rainy days, I hole-punched, created dividers, and labeled 3-ring binders. As I finish this project, flood watches are in effect. (Thankfully, I see no sign of locusts.)

The objective was to create a time-saving system for handling important paperwork like medical records and legal documents. However, the bulk of the files contain newspaper clippings, acceptance letters, and oh-so-many unpublished pages!

I wanted to rebury them as soon as I unearthed them – as I’ve done many times before – because they inspire strong emotions.

Nostalgia aches, but regret burns like acid. Then there’s the renewed energy that makes me want to stop what I’m doing and throw myself into reinvigorating those old drafts. Not to mention anger.*

I forced myself to apply the same strategy that I used with work-related papers. I sorted, labeled, and bound. A delightful by-product accumulated as I worked: contentment. Perhaps it’s the result of time, but I can read these old writings with the same attentive eye and open mind that I use with other writers’ works-in-progress. My younger self’s writing shows talent and improving skill, but also naivety. I cared only about writing, not about genres or markets.

Now my mind focuses on practicalities. And I see this unpublished material as a treasure-trove of raw material. I’m particularly excited by the quantity of short pieces! There was no market for flash fiction when I jotted them down for class exercises or just as wordplay. Some are beautiful gems that need only a little cutting and polishing to make them shine.

For now, I can only label and file these once-and-future projects. But when my novel draft is completed, I have dozens of rainy-day (or blizzard) ideas at my disposal.

*Not at myself. I rediscovered a critique of work that I submitted to the online writers group that made me abandon the writing life for a long time. The critique began with an apology for the lateness; she had put my submission in an electronic file with her own work and forgotten it. It was the same *$#&!! who accused me of saving her work on my computer in order to plagiarize. (If I ever write romance novels set in the frontiers of the American West and populated with anachronistic feminists incapable of getting pregnant, please have me arrested for Grand Theft Novel.)

2 thoughts on “An inside job

    • Thank you, Derrick. Not just for your well-wishes, but for the way you’ve been sorting and presenting your own treasure-trove of photos and memories. I’m grateful for a good role model. 🙂

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