Friday, September 02, 2011

Three Bags Full

For thirty some odd years I was a prolific writer. I wrote a lot of poems, then short stories. With the publication of a book of letters written along with two friends I spring boarded into writing short stories and on to grad-school for an MFA in Writing. I wrote or at least began many novels and also non-fiction books chronicling my life.

I was honored with a fellowship to The Millay Colony for the Arts twice, and also Dorland Art Colony in CA. (the Dorland link is slow to load. Also, man have they spruced the rooms up since I was there!)

I had many short stories published, one book of non-fiction and one novel.I wrote features for the local newspaper. I gave numerous readings and was on local cable TV a number of times. I taught creative writing for adults in the evenings at the Cape Cod Community College.

It was a life, for sure. I havent written much recently. My brain has changed and the sort of focus needed to do this complex activity is not there. This week I sorted through four liquor store boxes (no it's not what you think!) full of manuscripts. I now have three bags full of pages to take to the recycling center.

Some of these are just duplicates of stories for which I kept the original. Many were typed on a typewriter so are not in the computer. Some are novel beginnings that I am sure I will never go back into. I am lightening the burden for me and for my son.

I still have three boxes full of novels and stories and also the publication contracts and notes for various writings. I also came upon a forgotten chronicle of the years 2004-05, 200 pages worth. I kept this as it tells of my having to leave 217 Country Road to be wandering without a beloved home for 7 years. This I may try to rework as the story is still going on. Maybe my feeble brain can find a pattern and reshape and newly shape something from this material.

It is hard for a writer to give up early works and works in progress. I may need a phrase or character from these pages. Ha! On the other hand, I feel relieved to have reduced this material. At another point in time I have even more material I can look through. A book of love letters I put together. I have about 4 drafts of that Mss.

Onward to whatever is next.

26 comments:

Lynn said...

suki it is so interesting to learn this about you and your life. I knew some of it but not ALL of it! It's exciting to learn and fill out this picture of you. I wonder if you'd keep any of the pages going to recycle to use in your art now? Thanks for sharing this other page in your book of life.

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

Thank you for sharing this with us...it brings to mind the cleaning out of files I am doing, knowing I may need to refer back to something. But I am not a writer in the sense you are and can always find the info by googling it, lol

Mystic Meandering said...

Your post reminds me that we are not the old stories of ourselves anymore. We're not the same "character" in our own stories, or even the ones we tried to write (or have written). We can't settle into those same identities anymore, so we empty out the old stories, and ways of being in the world, which actually is a good thing, I think. And step into the unknown...

I notice that my brain is not the same either :) Writing doesn't flow like it used to...

patti said...

So wonderful that you have been published Suki! Though it must be difficult to go through your writing and cull it.

Lynn's idea is a good one to recycle as art.

Caroline said...

Fascinating to read about you Suki! Must have been both a wrench and a relief to have that clear out. I too, like Lynn's idea of recyling some pages!

sukipoet said...

Thanks for the recycling suggestion. Believe me, this clear out was just the tip of the iceburg. I still have lots of pages to use in art should I wish to including the stack of journals that I am also slowly clearing out!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are an amazing lady Suki. Even though I am not near the writer you are I have tons of journals half written I could cull. It is a difficult thing to do. I think Lynn has a good idea to incorporate some of those cherished phrases etc into your art. You have so much to give.

I love the shadow shot on your header.

Marion said...

Oh, my goodness!! How courageous of you to go through your written words and cull them. I, too, have boxes of manuscripts and journals and papers with essays, etc...many written long before the computer came into my life. I have scanned some of them...yet, still, I cannot throw them away. Each one has energy and memories that leaps off the page when I hold it.

I knew some of these things about you, Suki, but this post is terrific in that I now know so much more. Thank you! xx

Robin said...

Suki, you are one amazing woman! And you know what.....you STILL are!

You are beautiful, courageous, humourous and of course, poetic and artistic...in every field.

We have discussed "letting go" of some things in life...but to put it into actual practice is so very hard - and even painful. Your "Past" is really never just that....it has woven itself into your heart and there it will always live...

I applaud you!!!! And I send you a big, warm hug....

Love to you and Bibitty,

♥ Robin ♥

p.s. the new header is gorgeous!

Umā said...

I really agree with Mystic Meandering's sentiment, that we are not the old stories of ourselves. I have been purging so much from the house this past year (especially this past month) including old journals and notebooks from when I was quite young. It feels good. But like you, I have a long way to go!

kikipotamus said...

Courageous indeed. Brava! I hope this shifts the feng shui in your heart and home and frees up some stagnant energy.

kj said...

ah suki, your talent. you are so modest, so it is just a joy to see your achievements laid out here.

i happen to be able to report that your book written with your friends is wonderful. new york times book review if i'm not mistaken.

this is a rule of keep it simple: unclutter your space and you unclutter your mind. keep it simple is a component of a happy life.

love love
kj

Tess Kincaid said...

I didn't know this writer side of you, Suki! Just like a book, our lives are made up of chapters...each one an integral part of the whole.

~Babs said...

I'm not surprised to learn you have been a prolific writer.

I'd think it would take courage to toss it out, but then I understand the 'cleansing' of it also.
But I do hope you will repurpose some of it into collage work. Maybe it is of the old you, but it's still you,and still relevant.

louciao said...

So interesting to learn all this background info about you! No wonder your poems are so good.

It's good to lighten the load and separate the wheat from the chaff. It's creating space around yourself to let more light (in whatever forms it wishes to manifest)shine in.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I appreciate reading the 'all' of your writing...a rich part of your life. I understand the ending or changing of focus and the need to set things in order and I know how daunting it can be as I just tackled one collage box. Good for you...it must have lightened you both in spirit and space!

kj said...

suki, i forgot to tell you that when i first saw thisphoto of the stack of papers i thought it was a sculpture you had done.

you have a magic touch, how nice that it would be so in all areas of life! (of course, it is, even when we don't know it)

i have zillions of pieces of paper. you've got me thinking

xoxo
kj

Katiejane said...

Such a prolific life you have lived! I had no idea. I'm sure it is hard to thin this out. I feel the tug myself, as I too am trying to carry a little less baggage. But if you feel this housekeeping is necessarry and makes you feel lighter,then it must be. I understand.

sukipoet said...

oddly both my books, the non- fiction collaboration and the fiction, had NYTimes books reviews. Just to toot my distant horn.

layers said...

congratulations on so many accomplishments with your writing..it is interesting how one part of your life morphs into another life change.

layers said...

p.s. I got my charcoal bamboo from Amazon.com.. you can order a very nice box of the stuff.

Lori ann said...

hi suki,
what an amazing accomplishment, all you've written and now in the letting go. i hope you'll always keep all your memories, i think theres always room for those.

i came over to talk about knitting, i read what you had written over at mim's and i wanted to say you are so right!! i did suggest that to mim (in an email) and she said she did swatch and still came up way off gauge. hmmm...? and i also wanted to say if i could ever be of any help, it would be my pleasure. i love to knit and talk about it too!

it's nice to meet you suki
:)

Andrea said...

Suki, thanks so much for sharing this act of braveness with us:) You inspire me to go back to the task of recycling things which I don't need anymore, cartons full of things. The lighter we live the better, that is what I think but have difficulties to live it:). Anyway, selfishly I am glad that you are not caught up in writing a novel or so, that wouldn't leave you the time and mind to write those delicious blogsposts which I ALWAYS read, even if I don't comment on them often:)) Thanks for that, ....have a great artistic day, doing whatever comes to your mind...

Kim said...

Hello Suki, I think this is an amazing feat for you to go through all of these thing and cull them. I understand how that can lighten your spirit beyond belief.

Also, thank you so much for bearing with me lately in my time of quiet. It is a good thing for me and has helped me a lot. You have always been right there when I was ready to do what I needed to do in my own time. Thank you for your loving support and kindness. You are a true friend. Hopefully, I will be posting a bit more.

Jeanne Raffer Beck said...

Hi Susan/Suki, what makes you choose to clear and sort these papers now? Is this a ritual of moving forward, of claiming a new direction and path? Is this a releasing, a gifting, a farewell? Every time I read a post or a poem that you write I feel as though something deep and true has been shared. I definitely enter your world and your story and always want to hear "what comes next."

soulbrush said...

try to publsi them, nothing written down is ever lots, all can be be read and re read again and again. you are such an interesting person, I would love to read some of these.