During a nuclear spring house cleaning last week, I got into my closet full of newspaper and magazine clips, correspondence, college journals, love poems and short stories. About 25 years worth of work. Here were some thoughts that crossed my mind between sneezes:
• This is painful, because I see I wasn't as good as I thought I was back then, and so I'm probably not as good as I think I am right now.
• Gee the world sure demands a lot of energy from a feller. (Sifting through these heavy boxes, looking at each article and remembering how much work went into it—ocassionally finding evidence of the work itself in a stack of full notebooks—I stood a little in awe of my own drive.)
• I should throw all this away. But if I die young, at least Scout will be able to search my sophomoric thoughts for guidance and comfort. And then throw it all away, saving just a few items for her children to throw away. I have written more than a million words by now, and I will probably write more than a million more.
They will all be forgotten. Except some people will remember a fewm. And I don't get to choose which words, or by whom.
And here's how I know I'm a writer: That arrangement is fine with me.