Finding myself with some unexpected free time the other night, I decided to go through a box of my old writing that had been sitting in storage for years. Opening it up was like opening a window to the past, all these notebooks full of childish handwriting... poems, and unfinished stories. To this day, I've never finished an entire book. I always get so frustrated at my lack of perfection and end up doing re-write after re-write until I finally give up. Lately, I haven't even bothered with the re-writes. I just give up or don't bother even starting. When did I become such a cynic?
Anyway, I got a kick out of some of those old stories. I would spend hours flipping through catalogs, looking for just the right characters, and then cut them out and paste them on the cover page. On the first page of one of the notebooks I had written, "Don't miss the other books in this exciting series:" and then carefully penned the title of book one, which consisted of four chapters! I think my sudden outburst of laughter woke my husband. But it felt good to recognize my flaws, how blissfully naive I was, and also the raw talent. It caught me off guard. I didn't expect some of it to be as good as it was.
Of course, much of it was redundant. There were at least four or five stories about twins that were separated at birth and later found each other. A bunch more about large families of children who had been orphaned of one parent and had to set out to find the long-lost other. But there were a few surprises in there as well.
In the end, I found I couldn't part with any of it. Notebook after notebook, each with it's own story, went back into the box to be stored away for the next time I am ready for a trip down memory lane.