It rained today, after thunder and lightening put me to sleep last night. I love snuggling under the covers, hiding my head, when the thunder sounds like it’s just hit the house, when I know it hasn’t, of course. Went right to sleep. Woke up with renewed energy and decided to clean out a 4-drawer file cabinet, pared down to a 2-drawer file cabinet. That deed is done, thank to an amazing recycling bin we have in the garage that holds the many trips of papers, file folders and old notebooks carted outside, not to mention a table full of empty notebooks for a trip to Good Will tomorrow.
Cleaning out file cabinets necessarily leads to cleaning out the office storage closet, and years of notes of writing a novel I’ve yet to write. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have written this story in my head two different times, and hundreds of part-time stabs at various chapters, editing the whole thing, writing on NANOWRIMO (National Writing Month) in November any number of years, and tons of files I’ve kept on agents, publishers, book sellers, conferences, writing classes taken and not taken, web sites printed off and kept. And why? To make myself think I’m writing a book? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just been a hobby for the last 25 years. I don’t know. What’s gone before is gone before, and today in the midst of my great throw-away I actually picked up the huge 3-ring binder holding the latest printed several hundred pages of what I loosely call ‘my novel’ and pitched it without ceremony into the giant blue recycle bin in the garage.
Now I have a dining room table full of several large file folders, waiting to be sorted. I think I had become an information hoarder. We used to joke that my mother did the same thing, trying to track Pensacola, Florida hurricanes on paper, as if she might discover something the weather people with their computers and scientific means would somehow overlook. Maybe I’ve done the same thing collecting all of the paper notes and VIP .. very important papers, only to discover they really are not magic, not important, and not needed. Right this minute I swear I am breathing easier. I look outside my little writing office window and see the grapevine just outside the window, swollen heavy with rain and dark green leaves, with one vine reaching out towards my window, actually touching it. It feels to me like Life is reaching out to me once again.
After my last post, about our granddaughter’s car accident and being in the hospital here in Spokane for five weeks, she is now healing, rid of her ‘turtle shell’ torso brace, arm cast is gone, surgery scars are healing and she’s in a walker now and shedding the wheelchair quickly. Best of all, she did manage to walk down the aisle at her best friend’s wedding this past weekend; my little mom has turned 95 and enjoyed a pizza party the care givers at Sullivan Park provided for her, along with a nice sheet cake from me, and flowers, balloons and many card from friends. We all seem to be healing around here and personally I feel like a plant that is also reaching out to myself, all watered and healthy. I wonder if all of this culling and pruning was necessary for me to now write my novel?
At least I no longer feel worn down by 35 years of writing notes! Sitting here now I am making a list of stories I’ve been asked to write by editors of anthologies .. no promises of acceptance or publication, but ‘Get writing. Love the idea for your story,” and that kind of encouragement. In my organized state I tell myself I’ll hop right on this tomorrow .. and then get back to the novel, this time with space to think and a fresh new outlook.
At the very least I don’t have cumbersome notes to go back through. Those are all out in the recycle bin. It’s so heavy I won’t be able to budge it on recycle day. My hubby will have to push it to the curb. Am sure he’ll tell me it feels like a dead body inside. And you know what? He’ll be right! I always read about authors who say they wrote their first novel and had to throw it away after a few years. I always shuddered at the thought, yet marched out to the garage with my ‘novel’ this afternoon with a clear head. I guess it was just time!
Tomorrow I’ll get started on those anthology stories, get them submitted, and then think about … well, the novel.