I knew that my old external hard drive contained a bunch of documents from the past — loads of my writing dating back to the 1990s. I wrote before that as well, but I have no ideas where those files were or if there were any. I might still have a box of spiral notebooks filled with writing in storage. I think. I don’t even know anymore because I lost track. And all that writing I did on my Mom’s manual typewriter of course is gone because I sent all the pieces out as letters to various people. Or I handwrote letters that were stories.
Even here on Creative Caffeine Daily, I have over 200,000 words since March 2020 when this application began. That’s a lot of words. Probably more than anyone else. I was also a part of the original Creative Caffeine Janis set up in 2009. We wrote in documents or emails based on the prompt we’d receive and then sent them to our partners. We’d receive feedback via email and then send another piece. Janis said I was with that Creative Caffeine longer than anyone else, and boy did I write a lot.
So, I guess you can see that yes, I am a writer in the true sense of the word and that I must write. I’m finally working on a draft of my memoir that I actually like and hope to finish by the end of the year. It’s actually only part of the story though, which of course had to happen because otherwise, the epic adventures of my life would never end. Then there’s my children’s book, Free Stubs, which I wrote as a screenplay when I learned how to write screenplays at DeAnza College back in 2013 and 2014. That was before I moved to Oregon. I love screenplay writing. It’s completely different, but for some reason, it’s easier for me in some ways (but harder in others). I can FINISH a screenplay! They’re usually around 110 pages long (each page is a minute approximately).
The other day, I opened one of those old documents entitled, “2002v6 StressedOutSingleMom.” The document took a few moments to open. Turns out, To my shock and surprise, it is 448 double-spaced pages and 132,000 words. In some sections, weird codes showed up because of word processing programs I had used must have been super old. I groaned as I scrolled through the voluminous document. What the heck happened here? Luckily I had chapter headings. Some chapters were short and some longer. I also inserted dates into the chapter titles. The saga began in June 1999 and ends in early 2003.
I wanted to cry as I continued to scroll through this mega memoir. I wrote all this. I didn’t do anything with it. I just let it sit there for years. I’ve retold some of the stories in other places. I asked myself why had I done that? Why do I continuously sit on my writing like that? I am better than I used to be. Was I deliberately attempting to make myself suffer? Or maybe there were things in this epic memoir I didn’t want people to know. Yeah, I think there were. I did some pretty crazy stuff back then. It’s all in this book. Everything. All the good, bad, and the ugly. Several times I mention that I want to be a writer — sit at a picnic table overlooking the ocean with a double mint mocha and write. I longed for it, pined for it as one would pine for a lover. I wanted it badly, but in reality, I was a single mom with four kids who counted on me. I had to work all the time.
I went through the entire 448 pages and marked each chapter Heading style. Then I ran a long and tedious spell check mostly to get rid of all the weird codes embedded into words and some punctuation. Then I ran the table of contents. Wow! There are 83 chapters in this mega-manuscript.
I am working on another manuscript right now, “How Can I Explain This to My Kids?” I have quite a few edited chapters, and I feel good about how the story is going, but I somehow feel as if I cannot let this mega-manuscript from the past go. People have read a few of the chapters because I’ve reshared the stories, but I have never shared some of them with anyone. It’s raw and real and needs loads of editing.
Perhaps I could share a chapter every day on my blog, which I’d call, “Stressed Out Single Mom’s Journey to Sanity.” Or is that too crazy? No crazier than writing 132,000 words and leaving it to sit for 20 years.