Monday, November 14
Where do you keep your memories?
What do you do with your writing that you decide not to use? The first chapters that never go any further. The essays no one but you would enjoy. The things you’ve sent out over and over and over again to no avail. The “under the bed” manuscripts that must never, never see the light of day.
Back in the days—yeah, I’m dating myself here. Not a problem; I am old—of typewriters and (shudder) carbon copies, you sent out the original and kept the carbons. I actually have some of these in some folders in my files. Then, along with my first computer came floppy disks. I have tons of them, but have found out they don’t really “keep” well. Now there are shiny CDs, memory sticks, and on-line storage. Plus you can print things out if you like, and file them with the carbon copies in your files.
I’m not always good about saving things. Years ago, I was writing a story meant oh-so-hopefully for Harlequin or Silhouette Romance, aiming for 55K words. It was a pretty good story until along about 50K. When my hard drive crashed and took it with it. Every single word. Being a confirmed pantser, I didn’t even have notes.
My first book-length manuscripts are probably gone. I’ve loaned out the hard copies and the diskettes are no longer viable.
I wish I’d been more careful. Because I think sometimes about The Growing Season and Sycamore Summer, those first two Godawful attempts at category romance. I think about the heroine Tolly—that would be Francesca Tolliver Carpenter; what a name!—and Ben who loved her. I think about essays I’ve written but didn’t keep. Not that they were so good, but they were who I was then, and even though the woman I am now is way different, I kind of liked the younger one, too. Old writing “stuff” is like baby pictures; you might not look at them a lot, but oh, the memories they bring forth!
So what do you do with your old stuff, the writings you never want anyone else to see? Are they filed, stored electronically, or on a special shelf in the back of your heart?