You never know how much of a pack rat you really are until you actually start trying to clear out the clutter.
In the interest of Operation Organization, I’ve begun going through old notebooks and gathering all my handwritten drafts of projects yet to be completed and filing them appropriately – and yes, the trash bin was an appropriate place for some things.
And in the process I’ve uncovered poems, letters to old boyfriends (because even back then I had a penchant for writing things twice), short stories, etc. from up to ten years ago.
It’s obviously hard for me to consider anything useless where writing is concerned. I feel I’m going to use everything at some point, crazy as that sounds. It doesn’t matter how small the passage or dialogue, I fear if I get rid of it, I’ll one day be thinking back on that scrap of paper with those words that would be perfect for the story I’m working on.
I’ve been able to part with about half a notebook so far though, which held the handwritten drafts of both Dissolve (Best Women’s Erotica 2004) and Burn (Swing!). That’s a start, I think.
Of course there were some things I just didn’t want to part with, like my first acceptance letter for a story published on a webzine in 2000, the first three chapters of the first novel I ever tried to write.
I do understand that I need to get past this need to keep every little thing if for no other reason than to preserve folder (and brain) space, but it gives me a little kick to go back every now and then and read over this stuff. Even if I am just shaking my head over what a sap I was.
So what I think I’ll do every now and then is post an old letter, short story, whatever and title the post Nostalgic Friday or something like that, just to get these things saved somewhere and eliminate the paper. Feel free to either skip said posts, read them, or laugh your ass off and tease me about it. It’s really just for preservation’s sake and I may include a little back story with them but no names, of course.