Throwback Tuesday: Blazing of A Different Kind
Hello everyone! Queen of Spades here with a new edition of Throwback Tuesday. As a reminder, these throwbacks will come from contributions I've made to All Authors Magazine.
Today's feature comes from 2016 where I was ablaze, and I don't mean fire. Enjoy!
Blazing ... of a Different Kind
Greetings Readers, Writers and Precious Patrons. Welcome to A Queen’s Ramblings. Usually, when you read an article from me, it’s the one that was drafted on the first take. However, this will be a change of pace, because this is actually idea number three from my rampant mind.
Well, it wasn’t quite an idea.
You see, my first attempt was a bit on the dry side … like a wine connoisseur wrinkling his nose when he wants Moscato (very sweet) but gets Chardonnay (dry). The attempt after that had a strong start but started losing steam halfway in. I don’t like that pattern in things I read, so I don’t want to deliver that in things I write.
I scratched my head. I even said out loud, “What’s wrong with this picture?”—receiving a few befuddled glances from passing coworkers.
Finally, I concluded that the only way I could get past this quagmire was to share with the reading audience. At the least, getting it out might do some good. At best, I could get some really great feedback from all of you about what to do about this situation.
Before I lay out my angst, it would be helpful to share some truths about me.
Truth One: Having something to call my own is a big deal for me.
Everything I have received in life I treasure to the fullest. It has loads to do with my upbringing but even more to do with my circumstances. I learned over time that my family was considered on the poor spectrum. However, my guardians tried to provide for me so that it wouldn’t be obvious, oftentimes doing without their own wants and necessities.
Truth Two: Anyone taking or harming something that is owned is a show of disrespect—whether intentional or unintentional.
When I was a little girl, it was not unusual for kids in the neighborhood to stop by my grandparents’ house and even play with each other’s toys. One particular day, I had received a new toy and one of the girls stopped by to play with me. However, after everyone went home, I searched for the new toy but couldn’t find it anywhere. Once my grandma asked who else had been in the house, it didn’t take long for me to name that particular girl.
When my grandma went over there to confront the girl, her mom answered the door. My grandma and I spotted my new toy in the girl’s toy chest. Instead of the mother reprimanding the girl, she accused us of lying and said that she’d bought her daughter that very same toy two weeks ago. Even when my grandma pointed out that an identifying mark on the toy was tampered with (the label I placed on it had been torn off), the girl’s mom got upset and ordered us to leave. From that point on, my grandparents decided the neighborhood kids could not come inside the house anymore. Eventually, they were not permitted in our yard.
This second truth was solidified the first time harm came to something I wrote: intentionally and by someone else’s hand.
After that, extreme caution was my modus operandi when it came to trusting other people with something I treasured. In my mind, as well as my experiences, people took less care of possessions which did not belong to them. They did not share my act of care—being more attentive because of the fact that I was not the original owner. It also made me skeptical of not having my own, particularly as I started to compose more written material.
Before I owned a computer, I would handwrite first. Then, an additional copy was duplicated via typewriter. This is not to be confused with a word processor—I never owned a processor. I didn’t own my first computer until college, and I didn’t allow anyone on the machine. I never worried that my grandparents would touch my machine since they did not understand the ins and outs of technology. However, at the time, one of my sisters was living with us. She and I not only clashed on her requesting usage but also her excessive compulsion to have phone conversations with different guys. In these current times, it would not be a kerfuffle, but remember … high speed back in those days was dial-up.
Soon, I got accustomed to using a computer and retired my typewriter. As technological demands grew more sophisticated, I got with the times to embrace more functionality. Every new discovery filled me with excitement, especially because items were becoming more affordable. At one point, I possessed a desktop and a laptop. I mainly preferred to use a laptop during travel, or when I didn’t feel up to going to the other room to get on the desktop. When my desktop started having issues, there was no choice but to rely solely on my laptop.
Changes took place in my household last year—the addition of two people. Both of these individuals are heavily dependent on computers—one to do work functions and the other because of necessity (and it’s no picnic for anyone if said device is unavailable). After a few mishaps with machinery, along with being at my job during the morning hours, I made an exception to my rule and permitted usage of my laptop.
When I wrote, I still used my typical ritual—only this time, I used my laptop similar to the way I use pen and paper, prior to duplicating and transferring the work to another source. I adopted this method when working on a particular project … one I thought was just going to be a short story. As I continued to work, many layers began unfolding … to the point where it incorporated the makings of an actual novel—an unachieved feat by me thus far.
It was almost at the 10,000-word mark but then other ideas arrived—plots for short stories, poetry, collaborations, and the like. Rather than try to add more to that project, I decided to complete the other ideas and set aside time for the potential novel afterward. That way, my sole focus would be on my potential achievement—with no interruptions.
The other ventures were completed but the road to the finish line was rocky.
In layman’s terms, it wasn’t easy.
The screen had gotten cracked on my laptop due to someone’s clumsiness but the replacement for that machine did not match up to the comfort I experienced. It wasn’t long before that model bit the dust. Then, there was a machine swap-a-roo but it was no use. I had gotten used to my old machine and things just weren’t the same.
About a month back, the surge hit to work on the potential novel again. I searched my storage spaces but then remembered it was still on my laptop—the one with the cracked screen. All I would have to do is transfer it to storage and get started. Yet, when I searched, the device was nowhere to be found and along with it, 10,000 words of what could have been the “Blazing Ink”.
Despite knowing that the series of events was unintentional, I am experiencing a high level of anxiety.
Granted, there are more things I could have done, like outlined. However, I free write … it’s a habit I have when writing my poetry and my inspiration comes at the spur of the moment. Many say that novel writing is more disciplined but when I’m in the thick of the write, I’m not focused on the discipline aspect. Unfortunately, the initial flame for all of my writing endeavors begins the same, even if the final products are different.
The anxiety comes from a number of things. One, in seventy-five percent of my experiences, my first write is the strongest one. What if my second attempt is watered down, doesn’t have that same emotional engagement as the first? Two, what if my zest to compose this work doesn’t come back? Since knowing that it’s gone, my heart aches to even think about the story—I don’t even look at the book where the initial idea is written. I’m crushed because my goal was to take this year to see if I could complete the project but now, there’s nothing to complete and I’m at a loss on what to do.
Can I weave together enough elements to recreate my “Blazing Ink”, or will the blaze result in ashes that regurgitate the hurts and trepidations of my possessions being disrespected and destroyed?
Fast Forward: Present Day
The inspiration behind the talked about the project has not returned.
The manuscript was never recovered. If completed, it would've gone on record as my first novel.
The trauma associated with the loss has diminished. However, the person that used the equipment at the time of the project's disappearance has been extra cautious, fearful of a repeat.
I now make triple copies of my work: one on a portable drive, one in Cloud Storage, and one on the computer. In case the computer gets damaged, my work won't get lost. I would take it back to true old school but the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome a few years back limits the amount of time I can handwrite without experiencing discomfort.