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Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday Sundries--That Which Would Be Thrown Away

Or deleted.

When I was doing some serious editing on my first in a series of novels, I took out big heaving chunks of stuff, scenes that were unnecessary, information dumps and awkward construction that was more easily rewritten than edited. It would have been very easy to hit the delete key. However, I channeled my inner hoarder. I cut and pasted into an archive folder that was saved onto a flash drive.

While those electrons may never again be seen, my paranoia would not allow me to let go. I am similarly fighting my compulsions in other areas of my life. Some things are easier to get rid of than others. I am going through my counted cross-stitch projects, so I can reorganize my craft closet in the office. There are a bunch of projects that haven't seen the light of day in over ten years. Here are a couple:
This is the center section (sleeve) from a pattern called Earth Angel. The designer is Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum and the company that put this pattern out is called Lavender and Lace. This is less than one twelfth of a very intense design.
I looked at it long and hard. I sent many other patterns from this designer to be sold on commission. Would I ever finish this piece? Would I ever even want to work on this again considering the hundreds of other patterns I had more to my taste? Finally, I grabbed the scissors and cut around the little bit of stitching. I was left with a large piece of blue linen and several small pieces.
This was my start on Just Nan's Creativity. I started on the wrong kind of fabric and it made it difficult to get some of the bands to come out correctly. This is what it's supposed to look like:
Again, I cut out the bands, giving me two large pieces on either side. I can re-purpose the bit stitched for a bookmark.
There were a few more, but there were still dozens I kept intact. And I still have more to decide about over the next few days. I'm proud of my progress so far, though.

I've also been going through a bunch of pictures. Those are just as hard to delete. I have to admit, I went through Mom and Dad's boxes and gathered a big zipper bag of what I called mystery pictures. I had no clue who was in them, many of them were out of focus or group shots that were at a distance. It was hard, but I gave the bag to some relatives in my home town. They took the pictures around to see if anyone wanted any of them. Here is one of the better ones I did keep:
That's Dad standing. I'm pretty sure it's his high school class get-together at a restaurant in our home town, but the other folks are long gone. Dad passed at age eighty-six eleven years ago. I'll post the picture on the Facebook page for our hometown and I'm grateful I scanned it in, but I doubt I'd put it in an album or anything.
Here's one of my girl cat I took the other day. She was not interested.
That's my husband laughing at her in the background, though, so I may keep it.
Here's one from later that's much better.
These are only a couple hundred kilobytes on a 16 gigabyte flash drive.

I was running into the same problem on my Kindle. It was freezing, taking forever to open and virtually unusable. I saw there were over 1100 titles on it, almost all freebies I'd downloaded whether or not I'd ever read them. The great thing about Amazon is those books are still on their "cloud." I deleted like a crazy person things I knew I'd never read. If I decide later I would like to, it's super easy and quick to download to the device again. Now, my Kindle works like it is intended.

So, there is much editing we can do in every aspect of our lives. Do we really need four ladles and five spatulas? Do we really need that background scene from a secondary character's point of view or can we tell that information in a throwaway bit of action or dialog with a main character? Will we ever do that project we were saving that paper for or should it go into the recycle bin?

What can you get rid of in your life or in your writing?