There is one of those plastic storage boxes in the corner of my living room. The translucent green doesn’t hide the years of papers and folders long forgotten. One of those folders houses my writing.
There are 40 beginnings to different novels in there.
All forty different false starts, outlines, sheets of legal paper with long-hand notes written out in flurries about the characters’ personalities sit in this box now, but this is rather new to them. Since their initial creation, they have sat in various filing cabinets over the years. Some metal, some wood but all filled with the amazing scent that was a mix of ink, hope, and confidence in that all the novels I dreamed of in my late teens and early twenties would eventually be completed.
After all, everyone was always complimentary of my work, from teachers to parents to friends. I would share the first couple of chapters of one of my novels and it never occurred to me that they may have asked for more out of politeness.
Neither them nor I understood why, by the time I reached Chapter Three, new ideas would spark and I was compelled to work on them before I could continue on the original work. I was always terrified that if I didn’t pick up that thread of thought and follow it through the chaotic web that was my mind, then it would be gone forever. It proved to be the result each and every time I tried to resist the lure of a new mental adventure.
Sadly, I could never go back to those original first few chapters. I would be so over that set of characters and wasn’t ever able to garner enough interest to finish any of them.
Forty different starts to forty different novels.
Even though I haven’t opened the folder in almost two decades, I remember a couple of them quite clearly. The *big one* was the Women’s Fiction piece I was going to base on my clique of girlfriends in high school, but I was going to change everyone’s hair-color, make us adults, glamorous and rich as we all tried to win the one guy’s heart. Most of the rest were Harlequin Romance style ones with the heroes resembling many of the crushes I had growing up as I imagined what the adult lives of those boys would be like.
I hid in the books I read and the words I would pen on reams of loose leaf sheets paper. I pushed everything bad that had ever happened to me into the deepest recesses of my soul and didn’t even hint of any darkness in the tales I would start to create. Until one day that I just gave up.
Earlier today, that storage tote came into my peripheral vision. Since starting on the ADHD medicine, I REALLY notice things now. I almost seem to see too many things that have been in the shadows the last twenty-odd years. So I noticed the box and wondered how much of my inability to finish any of those beginnings stemmed from no one knowing at the time I had ADHD.
I am thinking of opening that box.
If you already have 40 Beginnings, what’s one more?
xoxo ~ Melissa
P.S. I had so much fun linking up with yeahwrite.me over the weekend, I wanted to try one of their challenges.