Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Lost Manuscript

Hubby and I are cleaning out our garage. That means going through 25 or 30 boxes of stuff that we never went through when we moved here in '95. What a chore. Today we found daughter's lost social security number. No telling how it ended up in a box in the garage but it has since been replaced. We found a letter from son (my stepson) when he was eleven. He's thirty now and answering the same questions from his dad: What are you reading? Are you exercising much? Some things never change. In eleven year old son's sweet little handwriting, he wrote, "I'm not reading much or getting much exercise. Will you sponsor me if I do a read-a-thon?"

We solved the mystery of all hubby's missing black socks. We found them!

It's always fun to go through boxes in the garage. What treasures we come across! Books that should have been in the house, craft supplies that should never have been purchased, magazines and manuscripts.

Yes, manuscripts!

When hubby and I were writing mysteries together, he'd handwrite the stories, then I'd rewrite as I typed them into the computer. Today, we came across some of that work that never made it into the computer. Hubby started reading.

"This is good," he said. "I wonder if I wrote this."

I knew exactly what he meant. I've discovered stories in old notebooks and wondered if I really wrote them. Some of them seem too good for me to have written.

Hubby selected portions to read aloud.

"Yeah, you wrote it," I said. Sounded like his humor, his sarcasm about bad marriages, bad women and love gone wrong.

But the only part of the story I recognized was the name, Joe Mack Crawford, our series character. We wrote two 3,000+ word short stories, several chapters of a novel called Beginner's Luck, and, evidently, this mysterious portion hubby found in a box. It was dated so we pinpointed the time to when we were between jobs: daughter and I were living in Longview in what we called "the cracker box" and hubby was living with his sister in Houston and working at the home office until they could put us on another project. Evidently hubby was doing more writing than I was during that time.

"This is really good, I hope I finished it."

"Turn to the last page and see," I suggested.

"No, I want to read to the end."

Fifteen minutes later: "I can't believe I wrote 23 pages and didn't finish it!"

That manuscript was written in 1987 and hubby was 41. I was 39. Joe Mack was 40. I have a picture of the house he lived in. We knew him very well: Brenda, his ex-wife, Cole, his 17 year old son, and his neighbor Bella Carpenter, who liked to sit in a lawn chair under the trees and drink sweet tea.

How do we finish a book and stories that were written some 23 years ago? We were different people then. We've changed and aged; Joe Mack hasn't. Does age make a difference? What about religious and political beliefs? Who we are today isn't who we were back then, and it all plays a part in our writing. Joe Mack may not want to be cleaned up. :)
What do you think? Suggestions?


Amy DeTrempe said...

What a fun find. I would give it a shot and work on the manuscript again. You never know what could happen.

Charles Gramlich said...

that may be one you have to keep around to view every once in a while as if it were a time machine. I did start Wings Over Talera about 12 years before I finished it, but only had a couple of chapters done.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Fun stuff in the garage! I had similar experiences in our attic before moving to LA.

I say finish the story. Stories are timeless and ageless.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Finish it. I'm publishing today stories I wrote in undergraduate school. Some of the work from those days deserved to stay buried, but the stuff like you found, that still sounds good today, deserves a chance to shine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister Jes and fellow person of faith.
I'm a follower of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach (Christ Jesus) & new to blogger.
my blog is going to be work for me and I greatly value your support.
please leave a comment & any advise you may have.
also as this is my work please click on the ads which will help to support me in my work.
ps my favourite verses of Scripture are Isaiah 40 v 28-31
& James 3 13 living a life in wisdom#please also send more details of that manuscript!!!
thank you & bless you & all,

Carole said...

That is such a great find. Even if you never finish it, it says a great deal anbout hopes and dreams.

I don't envy you packing, moving, and all the stuff that comes with that. Good luck.