Cleaning out the files

So, since I’m working on several projects simultaneously, I need one of those desk files for the various project folders.  As it happens, I actually had one of these, but it was (1) filled with files, and (2) had All Sorts of Crap piled on top of it.

Careful excavation produced a nice metal-mesh file holder, which will do nicely.  I pulled out the dusty resident files, thinking I’d be throwing most, if not all of what was in there.

Ah, no.

What I have here are bits and pieces of scenes, story ideas, word lists — all for the Liaden Universe® and many of which have to still be considered “live” files.  There, I’m in a little bit of trouble, because some of the scenes were printed out on a nine-pin printer — which is what the dinosaurs used to print out their APA submissions — and the ink has already faded to the point that the words won’t scan.  These pages will have to be retyped, in my abundant spare time.

So, a combination of Argh! and Oh, hey! there.

Also, I find handwritten notes, also fading — apparently green ballpoint ink doesn’t have much of a shelf-life — which I will reproduce below.  As with similar incidents/finds in the past, no, I don’t have the least clue at this remove what these have to do with the story bits they were found with.

The following are possibly from the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs.  Either that, or I noted the title of the book in the margin because I wanted to remember to look for it at the library.


Better an old man’s derlyng than a young man’s werlyng.

Better be out of the world than out of fashion.

If you’re born to be hanged, you’ll never drown.

Care killed the cat.

A cat in gloves catches no mice.

A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

So that.

Next up is a single sheet off of one of those pink While You Were Out message pads.  The front — where you would write the message — is not filled in.  The notes are on the back of the page. This ink perhaps started off in life as peacock blue.

At the top of the page, closed off in a parallelogram, it must have wanted to be, is:

ref desk

…which happens to have been the extension number of the UMBC Library’s Reference Desk, often manned by a cheerful and knowledgeable woman named, if memory serves, Sierra.

Below that, carefully printed, is:

Ho bios brachus, he de techne, makre (gr)

Life is short, art is long.

I also have here story notes, some of which have been written, others of which I suspect will never be written, but if there’s one thing that you learn as a writer is that you never say never.  Also here are the outlines/synopses for the three Jen Pierce books, the lyrics to Shambalya by Three Dog Night, with werewolf story? scrawled in the margin, lists of weird and/or archaic words. . .

Sigh.  I love my process.  It’s so idiosyncratic that three-quarters of the time I don’t know what to make of my notes.

Oh, wait!  What’s this?

. . .

A list of the Houses of Fortune, including Luck, Hazard, Chance, Risk…Oh.  I remember.  That’s a short story…or possibly a series of short stories.

Well.  I’m glad I got motivated to excavate the file holder, but I’m not certain but what most of this needs to go right back where it had been.  Which still leaves me with a need for another file holder.

Isn’t cleaning grand?

5 thoughts on “Cleaning out the files”

  1. oh! don’t throw it away – please don’t throw any of those away! Write them, I’ll buy them – Hardback! I promise!!! (and have I mentioned that I am praying for a long and healthy life for you and Steve? totally selfishly on my own behalf?)

  2. This afternoon, in between appeasing the cat (she’s been acting up and out because of a *too long absence* last weekend, I’ve been resorting and cleaning out a bookshelf. Occasionally I realphabetize by author last names to better find books in a hurry and today I am also *purging* books. I now have a small pile of duplicates and *I haven’t read it in 5+ years and probably never will again* titles.

    The cat? Has been occupying a sun-puddle for the last hour or so and will shortly request dinner.

    Lee & Miller books? Have a place of honor all together in the big 9-cube bookshelf in the living room. Within easy reach of the sofa.

  3. I have a spare file cabinet in Oakland, and possibly some spare time for typing when next I am in Maine. We should contrive, eh?

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