Needle in a Haystack

Wednesday 10 September 2008

I am submitting a short story I wrote last year for my writers' group anthology. It has to be something I wrote last year, because I haven't written any fiction this year. My fiction mojo has gone travelling through Uzbekistan until further notice. But hey, that's okay. Since she's been gone, I've made some new friends with clay and paint. And of course there is always my dear Discombobula. And a few poems that vomit themselves out here and there. So I'm not going to pressure fiction mojo and nag her to come back (I can't anyway, she didn't take a phone, duh) .

I found the original version of this story I want to submit a few weeks ago. Came across it by random chance while I was searching through a pile of papers for something else. Picked it up, read it, and realised anew that often the first draft of something I write has the best ending, and then I go in and tinker with it and make it worse. So those two pages I put down. Which is the problem. Because putting down two handwritten pages that I wish to find again is no mean feat in this place. So tonight, I searched. I searched the pile of stuff in the loungeroom. Searched the other pile in the kitchen. The pile on the coffee table. The several different piles in the playroom. Started sweating. Went through my two folders of three-pages-a-day-every-day morning pages to see if it got stuck in there. Even went through the cupboard where I put all the paper and cardboard to be recycled, in case I'd accidentally put it there. Thought with dismay of the pile of papers I have already discarded into the recycle bin and which are now sitting in a large community pile at wherever it is the truck took them.

It's times like this I promise myself that I am going to organise my filing system more, and put away the stuff that hasn't made it there yet. But filing scares me. Categorising things does my head in. I always feel like I am forgetting major filing categories or that the ones I have created are really dumb. Oh, if I was rich I would pay someone to come over and file my stuff. I really would. Filing discombobulates my head.

So I didn't find those two pages. I did, however, find the last page of the original original draft. Which was of course in the filing cabinet. Not filed away, though. Just in the filing cabinet in the giant pile that's made it into the confines of the cabinet but not made it into a folder. Which is more than I can say for the 4 million other piles lying around this bloody house. Sigh.

(The good thing is that I only came out with one extra thing to read from this search. Usually when I go looking for something, I get sidetracked and come across other things I want to read that I've forgotten I've put away to be filed. Or I start reading one of the 300 short stories that have been begun and discarded. And so I put the things I want to reread into a new pile of "Things to Read Now." Which sometimes ends up getting mixed up with the "Bills to Pay" stuff. Or the "Things I Was Going to Read Last Week But Now It's Next Month 'Cause This Pile Got Covered Over With a Book". Oh, it's organised chaos, it really is. I haven't been to jail for unpaid fines yet, and I don't seem to forget anything dire. So all is not lost.

So tonight I only added one thing to the "Things To Read Now" pile. Tonight's read is called "Art, Faith and the Stewardship of Culture" from the 1999 issue of Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion. I'd kinda forgotten about that magazine actually. Even though it's been filed in my "Writing: Markets" folder, which is in the filing cabinet. But this mag sounds like a pretty good researchable market for me to aim to maybe write something for someday. In 2019. When the info I've printed about it resurfaces from under a pile that contains an unpaid gas bill from 2016 and the original draft of my short story.

God, send me a bookkeeper. Right now.


  1. I was a profuse writer as a teen, but when I grew up and got married, most of what I had written ended up in my parents attic.

    Got married, had babies, did the whole "church controls my life" I took a looong break from writing...and just picked it up again on and off the last 3 years.

    Well last week I was helping my parents clean their attic because they are moving house soon, and came across three huge boxes of crap I wrote as a teen. It was holy cool! Stuff I have wondered what happened to it...what a window into the person I used to be, and what is cool is I have come a long roundabout way back to her of late.

  2. Oh WOW! How fantastic! That's like something I would dream about :)

    How cool for you to come back and read all of that stuff again ... especially as you say you are coming back around again back to her. Nice :)

  3. I cleaned my desk for the first time in months yesterday... you know those people that get buried under stacks of newspapers and die... that was going to be me:)

  4. Monk - heh :) Well, as long as you didn't find half eaten bits of food and used Band Aids and stuff then it's not too bad. I could think of worse deaths :) But oh, don't it feel grand once you've got that thing cleaned? I always say, "This feels so good. Clears up big bits in my head. I'm gonna do this more often!" And then suddenly realise it's been 2 months since I last confessed that :)

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