Fiction Daily.
A blog on writing, writers and why we read. Posted most mornings by Marion Blackburn.
Lost manuscripts
My first day in some time with my creative manuscripts and notes and I started with the discovered short story, Turning Day. I was suprised at how well it aged, since many of my short stories, after the years, I realize are just steps on the path and fine as they are, in a personal file only.

This story had very nice moments.

Surrounding us, the old facades, suddenly animated, begin to converse, and with the bell towers, steeples and roofs, make a muffled chanting. I can barely make out the words, some kind of small talk, dense and polysyllabic, a crowd of voices. The unseen city has opened to us, not because of our merit, but because we are aimless. I am too young to know the value of an instant like this, seeing a metropolis white in snow, ice and moon. I know what comes next, the delicious ache of desire, the ache of loss.

The day's most interesting pursuit was only beginning -- when I searched my computer for the story, I couldn't find it. I plugged in my previous lap top, and it wasn't there, either. I dug out my old IBM ThinkPad from 1994, which still powers on though the screen is bad. There it was. I copied it to a floppy disk but realized there were scads of stories trapped on that hard drive.

Yes, I understood what a devastating loss to the literary world it would be if those stories were somehow lost. So I copied what I could on to a floppy, working with the old button mouse on the keyboard, the screen that seemed impossibly small.

I transferred those stories to a floppy, but it was so old it wouldn't read on my current laptop. So I transferred to my other, newer, laptop and from there, to here.

I felt a little panicked knowing all that work could have been lost.

What was even more interesting was the sheer quantity of work I found. I found stories I couldn't even remember. One about a nightmarish spider that was pretty well done ... except that it had no ending. Another one called Red Shoes ... haven't opened it up yet. Another called Sex Lives ... that one will stay in the personal file.

I also found the sentimental favorite, my first short story ever, which was about a blues musician. Imagine ... it was languishing on that old ThinkPad, forgotten! Tragedy averted.

After the excavation of old MS, I worked on "Turning Day," with a light revision on some rough spots.

Today I'll revise again and start looking for a place to submit.

2007-12-06 14:34:47 GMT
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