We’ve been having some building work done at home, basically turning our attic into a library so we can have actual stuff in the flat. Not our best bit of timing, as we chose same month or two when I have a hardback lauch, a paperback coming out and a manuscript to deliver. We did it all this year with everything we own in three inches of dust.
But it’s done now, and I’m done with the launches so we’ve been moving books around, throwing rubbish away. Thing is I can’t help noticing there are a fair few plastic crates up there full of old notebooks of mine, diaries, and plot notes. (My plot notes are normally pages of A4 with ‘what happens now?’ and ‘why’ written on them in big letters then covered with doodles, by the way). So I’m wondering why they aren’t in the skip. These are the reasons I’ve come up with:
1) Nostalgia. Probably part of it.
2) Thinking they might be worth something one day? Hmm, interesting. I can’t help feeling if I become well know or successful enough for these bits of paper to be worth something, then I’ll be living off my royalties in a penthouse. In which case I won’t care about the money.
3) Thinking they might be valuable cultural artefacts? Meh. I doubt it. Whatever becomes of me in later life it’s still just a bit of paper with WHY? written on it.
4) To remind myself I’ve worked hard on my writing? Yeah, maybe. I opened a couple of the notebooks and found pages of beginnings, avenues of ideas from the first two books that I had completely forgotten about. I also found a lot of very bad writing. Really. A lot. There were odd sentences that were ok, but it was good to be reminded I am a better writer now than I was three years ago. It gives me hope that in three years I’ll be better again.
5) My crippling hoarding instinct? Fair cop.