Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting busy

I had a miserable cough and cold for the past three weeks. I finally have my energy back and I've begun going through boxes of old folders on a "search and destroy mission". My desk is surrounded by a half-circle of brown paper grocery bags for purposes of recycling, shredding or tossing. I'm really enjoying it--not only because I feel productive, but because of the reminiscing and occasional insights into the person I used to be.

I've kept a folder for every creative writing class I ever took. They each contain the notes I took as well as the writing exercises.
*  From a class I took on novel writing from Judith Guest and Rebecca Hill, "You want to start and finish a novel while you're the same person". 
Wow, that is such great advice! Too bad I didn't keep it in mind. I began a post-apocalyptic novel back in 1996 about a St Paul woman trying to survive after a plague has nearly wiped out civilization. Over the years, as times have changed, and I have changed, the novel has become so different from my original concept that I feel like I've betrayed both my protagonist and myself.

Worst of all is the recent spate of books and movies that mirror my vision. Every time I read one of them and find one of my oh-so-creative ideas used, it's a kick in the stomach and another bruise to my confidence. I couldn't even finish Carla Buckley's The Things that Keep us Here. Next week, the movie Contagion (about a bird flu epidemic) will open in theaters. Well, at least it won't be as dark as The Road or Book of Eli.

Sigh...


8 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

Love that little kitty at the keyboard. I can see how taking a while to write something would cause some problems. Interesting, that I never really looked at that, but it's so true. Thank You!

Linda Starr said...

Don't you just hate that when you have a good idea and someone else beats you too it. If only.

Boy that is an interesting thought about how one changes can affect how they work and what they would write.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

That is a great insight that wouldn't have occurred to me. I'll bet they had other wonderful things to say as well. I've never had the urge, let alone the courage, to start a novel. But I do understand the fun of going through old papers! Maybe a short story or a couple of blog posts will emerge from this process. In any case, enjoy!

gayle said...

I need to go through my papers and get rid of most of it but it's so hard. Good for you!

Abraham Lincoln said...

I think creative people all think alike. It is universal. If one thinks of something, chances are they all think of it, especially if it is unusual.

Santosh Kumar said...

Nice picture of creative kitty. Take care of your cough problem, In India , we use basil(TULASI)leafs to cure it.

Good ideas are always rare to find, whenever you get one, note down it.

I am inspired to clean up my desk too. Thank you for sharing.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Lovely post.

I am just spending a week or so on old notebooks and new ones, filled and nearly empty of words, while the effects of steroids is still with me. I have enjoyed seeing some of the old stuff once more.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Glad you are feeling better. I just got hit with a nasty cold yesterday and fear it will linger for a very long while.

Cleaning files and hauling things out if a good feeling. Love the advice you got from your writing class about being the same person start to finish on a book. That makes a lot of sense for a lot of things!

Keep up the good work, jj