Sunday, April 06, 2008

Slash & Burn

I've been in purge mode lately. I've been deleting files like crazy. Old letters. A few of my Journals. Some sloppy attempts at fiction. Even worse poetry. I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff that I have written over the years.

I've been burning the hard copies, zapping the hard drive. Killing the words. Some of it I remember EXACTLY what I was doing when I wrote it. Some of it I find in folders and drawers and wonder when the heck I ever came up with that. All but a few favorites are going down the drain. I've got a pile of Zip disks I have yet to go through...haven't decided yet what among that stack I'll keep and what I'll add to the junk pile. During certain periods I've been crazy prolific with writing so there is a lot. I'm ready to wipe the slate clean.

I find the PROCESS of my writing is more valuable to me than the product. I write. I read it. I think about it and ponder. Putting thoughts and feelings into words helps me to sort out the uncertainty and ambivalence that storms in my brain over so many things. But I would be mortified if I were to get hit by a bus and these pages were left for others to find. So out it all goes. Goodbye words.

4 comments:

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm feeling just slightly ill at the thought of all that writing being destroyed -- are you really sure it needs to go? Almost every piece of writing can be salvaged into something beautiful. You may look at it and think it's okay to get rid of it, but you can never recreate any of it, and it just may have a spark of something you'll use later.

When I was twelve, I wrote my first attempt at a historical novel, and it really wasn't good. But I saved it, and I'm using the spark of an idea for a book that will turn out to be good (because now I know what I'm doing.) If I had thrown it away, I wouldn't have the chance to redeem it later.

Belladonna said...

Tristi;

Yeah, I appreciate your point of view, which is why I've held on to a lot of this stuff so long. But my problem isn't just that the stuff in no good. Actually some of it is the best writing I've ever done. The problem is it was NEVER intended for other eyes. A lot of it is dark stuff that I would not want anyone else to see. As a genealogist I have letters written by my great grandfather and other ancestors. They are a wonderful glimpse into their lives. It gives me the shivers to think some future member of my family would ever read THIS stuff.

I'm not sure I'll ever do writing for public consumption. Most of my writing is strictly cathartic.

My "Smelly Stories" were an exception - I had thought I might actually put together a collection of short stories with the common theme of scent being a central component of each story. But most of them turned out to be just lame.

The idea is still there...I kept a couple of them. Perhaps one day I'll polish them up a bit and try again. But honestly, it's no great loss to anyone for most of this stuff to go away.

Ruth D~ said...

I did something similar last weekend. But there is always a remnant I hang on to. Feels good to junk the stuff though.

Tristi Pinkston said...

If you're sure, Belle, I'll trust you. :) There are definitely things I've written down that I wouldn't want someone to see. I just have a hard time with someone throwing away their writing. But you know how I am. :)

Hey, you haven't posted anything for a long time on Waters of Mormon. How come?

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