Somewhere, on one of these four flash drives, (or possibly my old laptop, definitely my old desktop, but that one isn’t speaking to me at the moment) is the flash fiction that you, my liebchens, have earned by hitting the magic 450 followers. Where I know I have it for sure is in the notebooks where I originally wrote it, in a storage unit a two hour drive away, and several boxes back in from the front. Possibly behind furniture or kitchen equipment, or miscellaneous items that really do need a new home. In short, it’s been a while.
I’d originally planned to post the flash fiction today, and there is one piece that made it onto one of the drives, which may end up being the one, but that overthinky part of me wants to look for another one. A particular one. No, maybe two. The first piece of fiction I ever sold was a story poem, that I still kind of like, but not sure if it needs to be aired out again after all this time. The particular story I have in mind isn’t a romance, though it does have a strong romantic element. Women’s fiction, I’d call it, if I had to shelve it right now. It’s a tragic story, and I still remember how wrapped in the emotion of it I felt as I wrote it. It’s complete as it is, a snapshot (or sketch, in this instance, as the viewpoint character is an artist) of one particular moment, so I don’t feel a need or even desire to spin it out into a full novel. Not every story is meant to go the entire distance, and this one is what it is. I recycled the name of the secondary character, though the book that used that recycled name is, while not miscarried, in suspended animation (protect your voice, and protect your vision; these things, I learned the hard way) until all of the “bad juju,” as BFF terms it, has burnt off. There was a lot. This may take a while, and what ultimately comes out of it will probably bear very little resemblance to what I first envisioned, but the core will still be the same.
Apple trees, as it were, can only grow apples. Trying to force an apple tree to suddenly grow tangerines, even if the neighbors are huge tangerine aficionados, and/or tangerines are now the hot fruit in the produce world, isn’t going to work. These bits of things, on these assorted drives (the small orange one is my current drive, but problematic, as the slightest touch, including that of air currents, seems to throw it into a tizzy; the big black and red one has given up the ghost, and taken its contents with it; the blue one shares writing folders with Sims content, and the black one has surprised me with its longeviety) are all part of my foundation, each a step in the road that got me to where I am today.
When I look through these files, it’s like seeing old friends, reliving close calls, bullets dodged, lessons learned, both the positive and negative, and I’m not sure how I feel about that at present. Were there some things I would have done differently? Certainly so, but the time machine is being serviced at present, so I can only go forward from where I am at this moment. Are there things I once did, that I could do again? Again, absolutely. Some of those may need some modification, and that’s okay.
What I feel most when I look through these files is hard to give a name to, but if I had to guess, it would be “recognition.” This is how I did things before life took a big freaking detour through the unexpected. This is how it was when I was confident and, at times, if caught on a particularly good day, feeling basically bulletproof. It’s my own personal history. Genres tried on and set aside, experiments that failed and those that succeeded, and always, always, the way I got back on my feet to try something else yet again. We have a history, these drives and I, and I’m not getting rid of the black and red one, because, even if I can’t access the files, it’s still part of me. If, someday, I can, all the better.
Some of these stories, files, ideas, manuscripts, are dead and buried. Some, we’re not going to talk about and pretend do not exist. Others have gone to seed, and will give new life to something else. There may be a few nuggets of gold in there, which, after some sifting and polishing, might yet have their moment. One or two things are patiently biding their time, waiting for me to finally be big enough to handle what they already know they want to be. What I do know for sure is that these drives hold my history, and some (but not all) of what is yet to come. A bit of old, a bit of new, a bit of now; it all mixes together and takes on a life of its own.
I will admit that going through these drives and their files feels a smidge Doctor Frankenstein-y, digging up things long buried and looking to make new life out of them, but that’s an occupational hazard for may writers. When we put something in the figurative earth, sometimes we don’t know if we’re burying a body or planting seeds. Even then, what comes up may be plant or zombie. The only thing for it is to keep on moving forward. The more targets we shoot at, the more targets we are likely to hit. So we keep at it. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, pen on paper. The harvest will come.