Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Destruction and Rebirth

I know, It seems like such a morbid post title. But really, it is only a parable I would like to express about the processes involved in writing.

With the warmer weather and Summer nearly here, I've been doing my best to get out into the yard and clean up, beautify, and groom. I bought a lemon tree a few years ago and planted in its own little section in the grass of my yard. The constant rain in the summer and the extremely harsh winter last year finally took its toll on the poor little tree, and by this Spring, it was nothing more than a stubby little stick full of prickly stickers. The poor plant produced a total of two lemons in its, rather unproductive life.

I decided to dig the little guy up and put it into the burn pile - returning life essence to the nether in a plume of smoke and fire. But, lo and behold, clinging to the mangled root ball, I saw little sprigs of green leaves and struggling root shoots.

I cut those sprigs off the root ball and planted them in a container with some good potting soil. The three little sprigs have since taken root and grown nearly an inch in the last couple weeks. I'm hoping that someday I'll have three lemon trees rescued and risen from my deadly hand and the torrent of weather extremes.

What does all this have to do with writing? The experience has convinced me to try and convince all of you to hold back haste when you think you've written crap. don't just burn it or shred it and throw it away.

You might find that inside the mass of retched decaying matter, there may be a nugget or two, or three worth saving. I cannot count the number of times I've let something go only to think about it years later and not be able to bring back the original magic the work brought with it. Thank goodness for the computer age. We now have the ability to hold onto those fleeting thoughts.

So, keep those little sprigs even if you want to burn the whole root ball. Those little pieces of work may just bring about inspiration, or spawn an entire story for you someday.