I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How long to hang on

Not ours but similar, sort of, kinda, almost, not really.

We’re downsizing.

This means we are planning to apply some lipstick on this 4200 sq. ft. porker and put her on the market. When we moved in 11 years ago the house was all shiny and new and a dream come true. How we got here is the stuff of moviedom (story in process) but with the kids grown and gone it’s time to slink into who we are becoming, all-on-one-floor ranch livers.

To go from a house as large as ours to a small home will be a challenge. We’ve already cleaned out the walk-up attic and the walk-out basement. The spare bedrooms (3) look like Holiday Inn without the express. The master is what sold this place to me and the attached, but separate, one bedroom in-law apartment will sell the place for sure.

I have always liked this house, a lot, but I never let myself fall in love with it, because I knew it was too big for a couple approaching the wish (and dashed dream) of retirement.

A couple of months ago I started to pack up all my ancillary collectibles, rearrange the bookcases and take down all the photos. In other words, I’m editing my life.

And, I am good at that.

Because my writing (column) follows a strict word count, editing is my friend. I pride myself with dusting the darlings off the shelf and by saying what needs to be said, in as few succinct words as possible. It’s my thing.

For instance, this post started out twice as long. I mean really, do you need to know the jetted tub has only been used six times in ten years, and two of those times, it was because we were in the path of a hurricane and had to store water for flushing. (Not a good selling point).

Having said all of this, I’d like to share that I have a few Staple’s cardboard file boxes full of manuscripts I am considering deep-sixing. How do I edit that part of my life? Do I take it all with me, and continue to store the forgotten dreams of all those stories and essays? It is not in my heart, just yet, to let it all go.

How long do you hang on to the past of your words and the writer you once were?   

7 comments:

  1. It's super hard for me to edit my life, as my daily clutter can attest!

    This especially applies to my manuscripts, though thankfully they aren't in boxes but rather just files on my computer. I DID have my epic fantasy novel that I wrote during high school...but I became aware of how bad it was, and did in fact trash a considerable chunk of it (hand written on loose leaf...)

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    1. The manuscripts I have in boxes are hardcopies off of very old computers and assorted stuff from before computers. Everything else (last ten years or so) is on computer and saved up in some cloud somewhere. Everything is backed up in writer's heaven, easier to get to after I croak.

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  2. I'm still stuck on "ranch livers." When I first read that, I couldn't get the taste of beef liver out of my head.

    Seriously, though, I think what I would ask myself a few questions..., when you read some of that older stuff, how good is it? What are you thoughts about anyone else reading it after you croak? Oh, I know, embarrassment IS kind of difficult from the grave, but does any of this writing share who you were/etc? Is it part of that history you've mentioned several times on other blogs? That story that caused the threats? Uh, that I think I'd keep. Ultimately, this is what I think. If you haven't parted with it all this time, it must mean something to you. Maybe you just figure out a way to keep it, b/c you don't know...maybe the place will have just enough room for it.

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    1. Ha, I love how you describe ranch livers. I mulled over the term and figured, aw hell, I'm just going to go for it.
      Not ready for all on one floor yet, although the dog is, but we will be eventually. God, I hate liver.
      I haven't traveled into those boxes in years.
      When I do read some of my old stuff, like compiling the old columns for the memoir, I am amazed by how decent some are and yet doubly amazed by how I've grown as a writer (liver term aside). I'm not embarrassed by how bad I might have been but I do know how some of my thoughts regarding my mother, changed, when I read some of her personal stuff after she died. I'll be dead, so that part doesn't matter, but what about the whole legacy thing.
      Does it really matter anyway, dead is dead, right. And does it really take up so much room? And is it really such a big deal? Maybe I should just dive in and discover who I was or thought I was.

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    2. I hate liver too. When I was about seven, my mother cooked it with onions, made gravy, and she, my brother, and Dad all ate it. I didn't, she cooked me a hamburger instead. They all got sick. I didn't. I thought it served them right. :)

      Anywho, I still regret not having two things. The diary I had from the time I was 8 until I was 24. When I got my divorce, I moved out of the house, and unwittingly left it behind. That and my first ever short story. Regret, regret they are gone. I think this is what I think about when you talk about getting rid of some of your earlier stuff. Like that shirt you thought you'd never wear again, and sent off to the local charity. Somehow, an occasion crops up and you get this idea for an outfit in your head and it involves that shirt - six months later. Keep your stuff. You'll find room for it.

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    3. There's only one piece I regret not having. It was a school essay, not assigned, I just had to write it, during the weekend of the Kennedy assassination. It was the first time my writing was read to the class and complimented, not only by the teacher, but by the kids. It made some of them cry. (I felt powerful). That was the piece that made me realize I could write.
      You know, I think I've decided I'm going to hold on to the boxes until I get a chance to go through them. If I never get the chance, so what. My kids can laugh after I'm gone.

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