It’s Sunday afternoon and I sat down here at 3:30 to write my post—I’m the Monday Wrangler in case I haven’t reminded you of that often enough. I wrote about 220 words, made a cup of tea, and trashed all 220 of them, so now it’s 5:25 and I’m still sitting here. These four lines are what I’ve written.
The 220 words were, regardless of my best efforts to make them less so, political. They would have alienated some readers and made some others say “you go, girl.” There wasn’t anything wrong with the writing, the opinions were my own, and, really, it was kind of cool reading…
But not for a writers’ blog. It was preaching to the choir. So I junked the whole 220. Which I hardly ever do. When I finish a book, I have pages in a folder entitled “notes.” While there are many notes in that folder, there are also paragraph after paragraph of stuff that didn’t work this time but I just couldn’t let go of. They are, I guess, outtakes.
I’ve used a few of them over the years. Either looked them up and used them verbatim or remembered them well enough to say “oh, yeah” and put the bones of them in another story. Sometimes, after a book is published, I open that file and end up laughing at what’s there. I’ll start to delete it, but then I don’t. Like the many first chapters of stories that didn’t take off, they’re still there. Still memories. Still “maybe somedays.”
Except for that 220 words. Already I’m wishing them back.