Filing isn’t something I enjoy doing. I’m always threatening to do the filing at the end of every month, which never happens, but I do usually try not to leave it for longer than three months. Last year (2010) I had very little time for myself, except for those glorious three weeks in August that I spent touring Italy and Austria with Dorette, my sister. Other than that break away, I had little gaps here and there, but then I would be simply too tired to tackle anything as exhausting as filing !! Well … in January, with the Christmas and New Year celebrations a thing of the past, I emptied out the trays in my study and discovered, to my dismay, that I hadn’t done any filing since July last year. I could feel myself drooping as the weight of what lay ahead of me began to settle on my shoulders, but strangely, once I got going, it didn’t seem so bad after all. I ended up devising a whole new filing system and at the same time got rid of stacks of papers that I’d been hoarding unnecessarily.
It was this whole cleaning up process that got me thinking about something else that has been troubling me for a long time. I had Short Stories (English and Afrikaans / published and unpublished) and Scribblings (articles and such) lying around all over the place. Some were in a file in the filing cabinet, some were in a large brown envelope in another drawer of the filing cabinet, and others were in a box in my study. I also, unexpectedly, found some saved on my computer.
The crux of the matter is … I hate loose ends, and I have always worried that I might leave my children one day with the problem of having to sort through all my stories and scribblings and having a tough time of trying to decide what to do with them. Well, my darlings, I am in the process of saving you that hassle. I have gathered together everything I can find that I have written over the years and I am busy putting them on to the computer. Some of the stories were written forty, maybe fifty years ago, so they need a little brush up here and there, but the object is to leave them as they are with all their many faults. Some of the stories are scraps of dialogue that don’t quite make sense to me yet, and others don’t have an ending. Worst of all, I don’t have the foggiest idea what I had had in mind all those years ago when I had initially scribbled down those first few pages. I can’t leave them unfinished, that’s for sure, so I’m going to have to do some serious meditation to see if I can pick up the threads I had let go of so long ago.
I am finding this all very exciting. The idea is that, when I’m finished, the stories and scribblings will be printed and bound together in a book. That should save you all a lot of trouble, don’t you think? You don’t have to keep a copy either. As it is I shan’t have many copies printed, and I shall be selective about whom I shall give one to.
I miss the days when I used to write for Mills & Boon. Those were the happiest years of my life. What I am doing now is also affording me a great deal of satisfaction and, with it, has come the realisation that I am not happy when I’m not writing. It’s a need within me that refuses to be stilled. Not many people understand this side of me and as a result I don’t have anyone to talk to about my writing. We writers need stimulation, and that is something only someone with the same desires can provide.