Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Word Hoarders

As I take down and parcel my household, my manuscript is receiving a similar treatment. I found a giant credibility hole in the first few pages of my manuscript, and I am rewriting (yet again) my entire first chapter. (Not the best remedy for MOVING FORWARD with my manuscript, but there it is.) (Actually, I think my first page had enough because it is now unexplicably in a read-only mode.)

I think that writers are a lot like hoarders. Last week a mover told us of a household he'd moved in which it had taken an hour to inventory the family room, a family room that included two rusted-out refrigerators. And I have to wonder what this person's emotional attachment was to these refrigerators. But aren't we the same with our words? Our words will collect, go to files we may never open again until they are attacked by literary rust...but can we really let them go?

Well, I can't because I know how much time I spent on those words. However, I'd have to say that taking time off from my manuscript (which I did and somehow decided to start writing again in the middle of this crazy move) has made it easier to cut scenes. But not permanently. They still exist, piles of words stacked in my harddrive, cluttering corners and covered in dust.

What about you? Do you hoard words?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't You Dare...

I am purging my house of junk before my move. That's my goal anyway. My problem is, I start going through my "junk" and suddenly minutes turn into hours and hours turn into a whole evening of me looking through old files and pictures and letters and journals. I've been in a college time-warp the last few days. I am not even going to break open the Pandora's Box that is high-school me. (Actually, there are two "Pandora's Boxes" that look more like giant storage bins.) I would be trapped for days revisiting teenage me...and I'm not ready for that journey of emotional ups and downs. Maybe I'll look again when I want to write a book for teenagers or something. Wait a second....

I found a folder of creative writing from the one creative writing class I took my freshman year at BYU. (For those of you who are somewhat new to my blog, I put aside my writing pursuits and became a registered nurse instead. Now I want to be a writer. Go figure.) And I had to laugh, really laugh, at my writing it all its awfulness. But it was sincere. Really, really sincere. And I wanted to squeeze twelve years-ago me and say, "Keep going! You'll get there!" (Am I "there" yet? No.) I loved all the comments from my creative writing professors because they were SPOT ON. And I remember now reading those comments then and not really getting it. In fact, I remember taking it kind of personally and thinking that they didn't really get what I was trying to say. (So, I guess that's why I turned to nursing. It wasn't personal. I wasn't ready to write.)

And tucked in that folder was an equally awful creative writing piece I wrote for a religion class. And you know what? I didn't have to find that piece to remember what my religion professor (not a writing professor (but a very brilliant man)) wrote. He complimented my writing, and it's stuck with me for twelve years. And sometimes it keeps me going.

Don't you dare do anything else with your life but write!

So spot on or not, I didn't remember much from my creative writing class, but I always remembered that this august scholar of scripture liked my writing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good-bye 2010, Hello Texas

I've been absent from blogging for a ridiculously long time, but other than the holidays I've been busy with the news that we are moving to Texas in February. Our recent Christmas mecca down south was spent hunting for a place to live rather than actual vacationing. So, I have one little month to pack up my life in boxes. It's kind of overwhelming.

I am excited...but also sad. When I walked into my house after two days in the car with small children, the sweet relief of being home was tempered by the fact that it would only be mine for thirty more days. And Kansas... Who would think anyone would be nostalgic for Kansas of all places? But I grew up here. My family is here and so are my roots. I mean, there are graveyards in Kansas with my ancestors. Kansas is a part of me.

And Texas is a part of my husband. But we aren't moving because Texas constitutes one-third of my husband's blood. (I constitute another third, while the final third is a mixture of basketball and actual blood.) We are moving because of my husband's job. (Yes, I failed to produce that NYT bestseller I set out to write two years ago. Dang it. It could have really come in handy in pleading the case for Kansas.)

So while I'm determined not to be gone for another three weeks (I missed you guys, really), I may be more sporadic than usual. Then again, blogging may be one of my few links to sanity when everything else around me falls apart (and then is neatly packed away and labeled)(until I get to the eleventh hour in which things will just be hurled into whichever box is closest).