I took a writing course … wha-huh?

If you follow this blog, you know I’ve been engaging in that horrid pastime of housecleaning this month. On Friday, I tackled a stack of papers, spiral notebooks, and writing magazines. When I reached the bottom, I found a ring-binder. When I opened it, I saw this heading on the first page, “Writing the Romance Novel.”

Oh yes, I thought, these are hand-outs from the RWA chapter I joined after I started writing my first novel. (No, it wasn’t a Romance, but at the time I thought it was.) I had opened this binder before, had the same thought, and put it back down. However, this time I looked closer.

I saw now these were printouts from a website, dated January and February 2000. These were lessons from a Virtual University course. I started paging through them and the name Anne Elizabeth Garrett caught my eye. Hey, I thought, I once named a character Annie Garrett. I started reading—Duh! This was a two-page bio on that character. I had in my hands the homework assignment I’d completed for that week’s lesson.

So … yeah.

I know my brain’s a little creaky, but it really creeped me out to realize I’d taken a writing course I didn’t remember. At all. Unfortunately, though I have all seven weeks’ lessons printed out, I have homework printouts for only two. Did I not complete the course, or just not print out the homework? Have I just not run across the other pages yet? Could these assignments be on my hard disk in some obscure folder, or were they written to floppy disks, which I burned last year, but couldn’t access even if I hadn’t?

Does the fact I’ve never written a Romance novel hold the answer? *Sigh* The world may never know.

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18 thoughts on “I took a writing course … wha-huh?

  1. At least you’re writing course wasn’t an event as important as a death, personal illness, or long-distance travel. It’s scarier when the big memories are just… gone.

    I try to keep a physical memento of every class, travel, and major activity I take part in, as I’ve learned that I am capable of forgetting anything and everything. My plastic bins of mementos, organized by major periods of my life, are opened every year or two. Every time, I rediscover an event or project that I feel I shouldn’t have forgotten but did.

    This is another reason that sharing life stories with other people, writing them down, or keeping notes as you go seems to be good practice. It doesn’t help only with fictional storytelling.

    One of the brain’s most remarkable abilities is to forget. Useless information dissipates (or whatever happens) to leave room for the important stuff. We’re supposed to repeat what we want to keep, I guess.

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    1. I was just talking about this the other day, Ann. I’ve watched my mother ‘lose” memories and thought I should write down the memories I would be saddest to lose, though at some point in the future I might read them and think they were only fiction.

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  2. I think it might be interesting to find out how Annie has changed over the years. Maybe you could write about that?

    I know my writing is different than it was ten years ago.

    About housecleaning, I don’t know. Don’t do any more than is the bare legal minimum.

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    1. In that Romance version, Annie was the heroine, later she was demoted. I was proud of the degree of detail in the bio. And yes, my writing has changed in ten years. I’m not so free with those adjectives now. 🙂

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  3. Linda, I always think of reading my old manuscripts/novel notes much in the way I do about old love letters–I can’t bear to throw them out, and yet, I can’t bear the idea of actually reading them either! Much in that same vein of knowing I’ve come a ways since those days, but I suspect I can’t read without wincing…does that make any sense?

    Luckily for me, all my old manuscripts are on floppies (which I keep, even though I have NO IDEA how I would ever access the files now. Talk about not making sense!:))

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    1. But Erika, wincing is good because that’s the indicator you know better now. Although I had everything stored on floppys, I also kept transferring my writing files from old computer to new. I’m still hoping one of those old ideas will turn into the next blockbuster novel. 😉

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  4. Maybe you have written a romance novel… If you find that disk there may be another long lost assignment. Wouldn’t that be cool! The forgotten novel. (Okay, I’m being silly. I guess I’m just in a silly mood, but I would love to find a long lost story or even character sketch)

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  5. I like your photo for this post. She looks so shocked.

    I had my novel packed away for a few years when I had neither time nor a computer to devote to it. When I found it, I started to throw it in the trash. I decided to browse though it first. I’m glad I did.

    Maybe the novel you first wrote and are now revising will turn out to be your best work (your second to be published, of course). You never know what the future holds, but why not believe it will be good?

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    1. Ha ha, that’s an old photo of someone dear to my heart. 🙂

      I’m too much a packrat to throw away writing. Even if you don’t find anything usable, it might be evidence of your growth as a writer.

      And, yes, why not believe the future holds good things?

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  6. Linda, amazing you can’t remember the course. I recently went through two files. I threw everything away in the first one. And in the other, I found some old writing that I’d forgotten about. I have so many stacks and files I need to go through. I would also like to read through all my notes from past workshops. You never know when some little tidbit is going to click in.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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