Thursday, June 25, 2009

Things Forgotten

So, I'm moving. Which as anyone who has been through it will likely attest to, sucks. Sure, there might be someone out there who enjoys the process... but they are sick, sick individuals and not to be trusted. However, it's a process that does come with its own reward, not least of which is an opportunity to winnow out some of the stuff that's accumulated over the years and yet hasn't been used in decades. (No exaggeration there - I found an old backpack frame that I had back in high school. The camping backpack type, not the books for school type. I figure it may be a while before I can do that again, so it's "hello, Craigslist!")

More importantly though, with that winnowing comes the chance to revisit things I had forgotten about. This includes items of nostalgia (which reminds me, there was another blog entry on that subject I meant to pen a while back...) which, though I'm not keeping them, provide a momentary and pleasant side-trip down memory lane. There are also items that, having suddenly found them again, warrant dusting off and bringing out into the light to be used again. Those are the type of things that you look at them and wonder why you put them away in the first place. Sometimes the answer to that becomes apparent after a moment's reflection, and sometimes you never quite adequately answer it.

I suspect you all see where I'm going with this.

I was sorting through my folders the other day - digital ones, not the physical ones - and came across a number of story ideas that had been started and then for one reason or another not finished. Looking at some of them, I realized that while the idea was good the execution wasn't, and so they need to be filed away again in the idea pile until such time as they germinate into something more. I haven't deleted them, because being digital files they take up hardly any room, but I did right down the central idea in my little writing notebook, alongside other ideas that occurred to me in dreams or bookstore restrooms. (Yes, a bookstore bathroom. It was either the notebook or the toilet paper, and the idea was good enough to merit inclusion on more permanent paper.)

Some of them, though, are gems. Or if they aren't yet they can be with just a little polishing. I am noticing that most of the better ideas - and the ones that made it into better stories - are the ones that are more recent. Though that's relative, because the most recent any of these had been looked at was at least four years ago. Some of them stretch back farther than that, though, back to the time when they were stored on 3.5" floppies. That puts them back in the days when I was in college.

(I have no short stories from high school, as while we did have computers my first one was an Apple IIc. The kind with no hard drive. So anything I wrote on that old monitor, with its black background and strangely fuzzy tri-color text font, has long since been lost unless there is a print copy somewhere in my parents' basement. ... Given the quality of some of the things I wrote then, I would hope not.)

Yet even among the ones layered in feet, not inches of digital dust, there were some concepts worth exploring. If nothing else, by taking them out and looking at them it helps me appreciate not only how long I've been at this, but also how far I've come since I've started. And that's something I can take with me wherever I go, and it doesn't even need bubble wrap or a cardboard box.

1 comment:

Kmcelhinny said...

This is a really great post. I found myself thinking of the last time we had a garage sale (only last year) and we dug all of our old crap out with a lot of "Oh my gosh... I forgot about this." Good work!