Manuscript Hoarder

Posted by on Oct 22, 2010 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

In a way, I gave birth to these, didn't I?

At long last, I’m moving house next month. I have wasted too much emotional and mental energy pissed off, anxious, nonfunctional, miserable, distracted, and stressed out because of my downstairs neighbors. Life around here is like a bad movie.

I’m talking yelling, screaming, hostility. I’m talking a rotating gang of adults and children and dogs and cats and loud trucks. There’s no solution. Except to leave. Start fresh. Find myself a home that will feel like a home. I need a home so I can write.

So I’m moving, and I’m purging my belongings, which feels fabulous. Last night, however, I started in on my office and hit the hoarder wall with my precious hard-copy manuscripts. I can give up mementos from past boyfriends easily enough, but not these pages! My fiction feels like the most real part of me. The manuscripts ARE me.

Is that weird?

Maybe on a far grander scale, this is what hoarders feel about their belongings. Like they won’t exist anymore without their stuff…

Hmm…

I’d better watch out.

I carried the manuscripts out to the living room and turned on the boob-tube. I thought it might be easier to decide in favor of recycling if I was distracted. I turned on CSI. The episode? About a hoarder! I thought, this is a sign. I SHALL recycle these manuscripts. I SHALL NOT end up rotting under a truckload of paper.

Lisa, she lived and died for her fiction. That’s not what I want on my gravestone…On the other hand, wouldn’t it be cool to be cremated with our stories?

Hmm…

My future death aside, at some point today I gazed at those grocery bags full of my words, and my scribbles, and my labor, and my life, and I decided to keep the manuscripts around for awhile longer, after all.

9 Comments

  1. I’m happy to hear you kept them. How many things in the world do we really have that kind of visceral attachment to? Why give them up if you don’t have to? As long as you’re not hanging on to old newspapers, food wrappers and junk off the street, then you’re good to go.

    • So few things, and fewer and fewer as the years go by, that’s for sure.

  2. Beautiful. You’re my hero! I think it’s OK to keep the things that are important to you with the proviso that they’re gone when they’re not. Why would you keep unimportant things? Irrefutable logic of a fellow “hoarder”? I think not.

    • You’re right–it’s as simple as that: the manuscripts are still important to me.

  3. There is a beloved legend about Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury sharing a bottle of brandy one night while they each burned a million unpublished in the fireplace.

    I love that image. Hang on to those manuscripts, and when we each have a million unpublished words, we’ll share a Diet Coke and do the same.

    • We’re on! Except I’ll probably add some rum to my Diet Coke :-).

  4. Glad to hear you’re moving out. It doesn’t sound like your neghbours are conducive to a peaceful writing life. As for taking your manuscripts with you, brilliant. Mine all have a second life: kids draw on the back. (But I have to make my older two promise not to turn over and read what Mama’s written. I wonder if they listen?)

  5. Moving out seems like a good decision! I totally relate to your qualms. I have a cabinet full of paper… and I dread the possibility of us moving away, as I’ll need to do more than take a look and close the cabinet doors…

  6. Hello! I found you via the Writing tag, and have been enjoying looking around your blog.

    Here’s my two cents: Do not throw away your hard copies…ever! Like you said, your manuscripts ARE you, so don’t be do anything crazy like putting yourself in a dumpster, all right? 😉

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