Burying the Past

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Random Thoughts
Tags: , ,

Ugly babies and past loves. Writers have drawers and file folders full of them. Some of them we never want to see again as they remind us of our past sins. Perhaps they remind us of a time in our lives when we were running with the wrong crowd. Who knows why, but we keep all of these reminders of our past.

My Past Lives Drawer is actually a compilation of disks, notebooks, and file folders. I’m the type of writer who can see an advertisement in a magazine and imagine a story that has to be told – and then drop it. For awhile there, I was writing short stories about Folger’s coffee commercials. Lame. The commercial itself told the entire story and any addition on my part would have only mucked up the happy ending.

Knowing they rob me of valuable time won’t get to me destroy them. They are, for better or worse, a part of whatever I was at that phase of my life.

When I was in my twenties I wrote an entire book about my grandmother’s funeral, as a comedy. In truth, I laughed at a funeral once. When the pastor began to speak he reminded me of Sylvester the cat. Imagine Sylvester saying “spring flowers and blossoms” and you’ll get an idea of how low of a person I can become. I find humor in everything. Back to the story.

Having arrived early (as I do for all events), I sat next to the casket and had a heart to heart chat with the dearly departed. Pouring out my heart to my sweet-mean granny as other guests arrived; I appeared to belong at this funeral. After all, I was wearing black. Soon, however, I realized that none of the guests arriving spoke English. It took me a New York Minute to figure out I was at the wrong funeral.

Throughout the years I’ve wondered how the same scene can be interpreted in different ways. To me, it was an embarrassing, comical misstep. To the family of the deceased, it was anything but funny. There, in a black lacquered casket, was an old man who had probably lived a good, moral life. His widow must have seen the blonde in the tight black dress as the person who always hung up the telephone when she answered in the middle of the night. I should have stayed, apologized, and let the old guy go into the ground in peace. I know better now that I’m older.

Old manuscripts need to be treated this way. At some point I need to stand next to them, apologize, and let them die in peace. Well, in theory that’s how I see it. I’ll let you know if I ever find my nerve to let go of any of them.


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