Time makes a pretty good drawer.

Warden's desk by you.

I read somewhere, or someone told me, I forget, that Stephen King writes a novel or story straight through and then when he’s done he throws the thing in a drawer (not sure whether that’s a literal or figurative one) and doesn’t look at it for at least six months.

There’s something to be said for that.

I was at the dog park, and something, I’m not sure what, triggered a memory of a short story I had been working on in the month or two before I returned to a full-time job. During the seven months since I began that story I focused so much on my job that I forgot the story’s very existence. Really. I had no recollection of the story or its characters. Until now. When I got home from the dog park I raced upstairs and opened the file on my computer. There it was: Ten pages of an unfinished story. I read it from start to finish and by the end, though there are several hugely important scenes missing from the middle of the story, I was smiling. It wasn’t half bad, if I do say so. And I was excited to write the missing important scenes.

What’s interesting is that I had been, seven months ago and 8 or so pages in, convinced that the story needed to be shelved. That the perspective was off, that there were missing conversations, etc. etc. I convinced myself that the story, though it wasn’t done, wasn’t any good. I am constantly amazed at the way it’s possible to become so mired in writing that you can’t see, pardon the cliché, the forest for the trees. Time, it seems, has a way of providing a clearer view.

(Photo: The warden’s desk at Alcatraz, taken Nov. 10, 2007.)


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