Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's Hiding in Your Drawers?

I guarantee this post isn't as peverse as that title makes it sound.
Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld that featured the Soup Nazi? He was a tyrant of a shop owner who made such delicious soup that everyone followed the rules of his soup line or they weren't allowed any soup. He had tossed Elaine Benes out of his shop, but through Kramer she ends up getting an old armoire that belonged to the Soup Nazi. Unbeknownest to him, the recipes for all his soups were inside.

This episode makes me think of how I discovered an old envelope of stories and poems I had written as a teenager in a box during one of our moves. It has been well over a decade since I last looked at them, but I distinctly remember a poem I wrote, titled The Sights and Sounds that Fill the Night. I can even visualize myself writing it late one evening as I gazed out over the street from the window of the three-room apartment our neighbor lived in. I also recall the two stories I wrote after my mother's death from cancer, each of which amazingly had a female protaganist who's mother was dying. And then there was the Scooby Doo type mystery I penned and hoped to turn into a play.

What use are these stories now?

Not only do they serve to remind me of the things that were important to me when I was that young; they could also spark a new story idea. Maybe I might find one that still seems pretty darn good, revise it, and mail it out. Since I love to write for young people, this might just give me a glimpse into how to speak to them without talking down to them.

How many manuscripts do you have tucked away? One, five, ten...just sitting around collecting dust when they could be making you money. Maybe it's time you pulled open the manuscript drawer to see what you have hiding in there.

Who knows, it might be the makings of the Great American Novel.

4 comments:

Dorothy Thompson said...

Terrific post on all levels, Cheryl. I have too many to count, that's why I thought I'd bring them out one by one when I thought that the timing was right...I'll never have an empty drawer because I keep stuffing more stuff in there! An empty drawer is like a writer with no new ideas...

Cheryl said...

It's finding that right time that's an issue, right Dot?

Margay said...

Could be upwards of 20 for me - I have too many ideas kicking around!

April said...

Great post, Cheryl! I have notebooks and binders full! It's insane.