This is a pleasure only writers get: to notice something in your filing system (in this case the Scrivener file in which I keep short story starts) that you can’t remember what it contains, and to read again your own words.
If things are not written down, they vanish in the mists of time. We constantly add to the database in our heads: what the world looks like outside the window, where the ‘super storm’ the weather people warned about was instead one single line of thunderstorms which left the grass and street wet. The way the guest bedroom in the house looks when a weekend guest has left – and how little, usually, it takes to restore it to order because you worked so hard to get it clean before she came. The pleasure of looking at a fresh repair in the bathroom of a tile problem that’s been there for several years.
The system is that fresh memories crowd out the old ones, that some memories are almost completely forgotten as they fall irretrievably out of the short term memory because they were not impressed in the long-term storage system (though I’ve had them return – or maybe re-triggered – which feels like deja vu), but that the right trigger – image, smell, sound – can bring things from deep storage I had thought lost forever.
But writers write them down, and the words can serve as that trigger.
I’ve had that happen today. For some reason I can’t remember 🙂 the Short Story Starts Scrivener file was open, and the phrase Eternally Woman lay in front of my eyes, and I had absolutely no memory of having written it. CFS brain fog? Maybe. Probably. Or possibly even just the normal process of attrition and dejunking of memories the brain goes through.
I don’t know what I’ll do with it, now that I’ve found it. But the words brought back the same feeling of adventure started, just as fresh as when I wrote it down, just as vivid.
So I thought I’d share:
As any being who shares a lifetime with a mortal man must, I paid my respects to my beautiful Joshua as they laid him in the ground, and I prepared to start again.
I am the Wife of Bath.
I am she who could take the time – out of what has already been an eternity – to love a man, to be submissive to him in the delicious way, and to bear his children – and watch them all die in the Black Plague. There was no thing I could do to save them, as I do not breed true: my beloveds were as mortal as their father. And as beautiful. My sweet sons, and their even sweeter-smelling sister – for I kept my babes cleaner than their contemporaries, for as long as I could.
I had done my grieving then, as each one came into my life, and from that moment on, had put away from all thought that each would go before me into the dark earth.
No regrets. But only that I could not tell: I would not ruin their only life, their love with bitter envy.