Among the many perks of being a writer, I'm expected to be have a lot of trash. I devote three pages a day to trash writing: collected random thoughts, run-on sentences with no end in sight, ideas that may never survive the muse's harsh axe. This, as well as the scattered paperwork I have collected over the years. Bank statements, term papers, commencement programs, various magazines, class notes. I am an eclectic collector.
On occasion trash has to be taken out, that is the nature of trash. It is collected, bagged, curbed. Often I have thrown out trash at major and minor life turning points. Starting a new job, beginning a new semester, selling old furniture. Currently I am in the midst of redecorating, I will soon have a new office and a new bedroom (the old office will be the new bedroom and vice verse). The process has made writing challenging at times as I clean out desk drawers and move things around. The next installment to Tales from the Square
has gotten nowhere. I can't call it writer's block, since I'm writing just fine at the moment. More like the chaos spreading all around me -- books and file folders piled on the floor, spare mattresses leaning against the wall, a desk lamp underneath my desk -- is slowing down my fiction generating machine.
Inside the mess I have found gems. Small trinkets from people I haven't seen in years and may never see again. Reminders of my past. And old writing has resurfaced, even the manuscripts from before I consciously decided to make writing my career. I found notes for my first novel from the mid-2000's (an incomplete manuscript, maybe five-thousand words of sword and sorcery, and an juvenile failure). Scattered across several notebooks and folders are over a decade's worth of poems beginning in the late '90's. I may even start anew on putting together a poetry collection. Words of Gravity
sounds like a cool title, but maybe I've been listening to a lot of Astronomy Cast
Buried in an obscure place at the bottom of one closet was a stack of neatly paper clipped papers filled with editing notes and marginalia -- my first draft of a story set in my Enchantment
world, which had been my first 2-Year Novel project. Holding this manuscript in my hands was the equivalent of striking gold. I couldn't help but smile as I flipped through the pages. Nine chapters, a completed story. I chronicled the writing of this one here on LJ under the "enchantment" tag, and I very specifically remember using the Write Or Die website
to complete it. From the editing marks I didn't get very far on making a second draft and the quality of the writing itself is okay at best (haven't taken the time to sit down and read it yet).
But to my eyes it is a beautiful story. I haven't felt this giddy in awhile. I very much want to read it and maybe even publish it in some form or another. The characters still evoke strong emotions in me. I'm still very much in love with the Gamla Uppsala (Viking-era Sweden) setting. Deep inside me I've got this connection to the story that never quite died even when I forgot about for a few years. The muse never totally nor irrevocably axed this project, the little spark sputters on and perhaps with some care I can grow it.
Perhaps when the muse refuses to swing her axe at a project and instead buries it among clutter, it's best to let the work germinate for a time. I imagine the editing didn't get far because I lacked the necessary tools. I hate editing to no end, but maybe now I can re-write the manuscript or retell the story in a new way. Finding random buried treasure is never totally random. This manuscript is ready to be read by fresh eyes. At worst, the muse is grinding her axe. I can only imagine what I'll find years from now as I look back on my three-page mind-dumps.