I cleaned my bed stand this week. It took an entire seven days.
I thanked the “Orchardist” book I never read for its service and sent it on it’s way. No problem.
But then I had to confront my forest of post-its.
I have an illness. I write down miscellaneous thoughts and one-liners that come to me in the middle of the night and occasionally at 4:37 in the afternoon in random and quick succession on post-it notes. This actually happens. Any writers out there that can back me up? I can be doing dishes and suddenly an idea will come to me.
I realized something during my purge though.
If my kids found my post-it collection that has zero context and makes sense to no one in the entire universe except for me, they would think I’m nuts.
Actually, they already think I’m nuts. The post-its would just confirm it.
So I almost threw them away. And, you guys, it’s a mighty stack of sticky paper and 3x5’s. M-I-G-H-T-Y.
Here’s what stopped me.
I’ve written thousands of pages. 98.9999999% of them won’t see the light of day.
Here’s a dirty secret, I’ve burned some of them.
Legit, in tears, burned pages I have written. Some of them made me feel too shameful. Others made me feel too hopeful. A couple made me feel too powerful. Those pages that made me feel things too big to breathe with, all became fuel.
I’m not proud of this. How could I be?
But here’s the thought that stopped me from throwing away my bed stand brain-barf notes. Those parts of my randomness, it’s more than a part of my process. It’s a part of me.
The fluorescent yellow paper and the ridiculous orange that matches nothing and has things like…
“Wednesday carriage ride” and “he likes confidence no matter what shape it takes” and “you cost us a deal”
There is also a charming antidote about a flower shop that I can’t quite make out but could be promising for another screenplay.
It’s messy. It’s unattractive. It’s embarrassing. It’s the roughest of the roughest drafts. Mere thoughts thrown down haphazardly.
But they’re my thoughts. My post-it forest. My randomness. They are still useful to me.
My words have done nothing to deserve a death by fire.
So the post-its live on! They received a “pardons” by me. They stay neatly tucked Inside my bed stand waiting for me to remember and incorporate them into my next screenplay. There’s also a fresh stack of blank 3x5 cards for my next midnight musings right next to the affidavit my husband wants me to sign saying I am of sound mind and body.
Here’s to not burning our mistakes or our randomness. Because it’s what makes us...us.