Today I trashed a story I have been working on for 8 years. Word docs, notes, character sketches and all.Sometimes, it is simply necessary to “murder your darlings” and start fresh. And after 8 years of never making it past Chapter 1, I think it was finally time to say goodbye.
I started writing Lucy during a rough time in my life. My parents had just gotten a divorce, family relations were tense, and I was starting to develop what I would later be told was a panic disorder. ‘Lucy’ became my escape from reality, a way to release all of the anger, fear, sadness, loneliness…whatever emotions just happened to be controlling my mind that day. When I couldn’t go to anyone else, I ran to Lucy and I would bleed into her for hours.
I had dreams of getting the story published. I had Lucy’s entire life story planned out. It was going to be a best-seller.
But as time went on, finishing the book became more frustrating than fun. I would spend hours spilling words onto a page, only to read back through the nonsense I’d written and erase it all and start over. People would ask how my story was coming along, and they’d ask to read it; but I had nothing worthwhile to show them.
Not only that, but every time I sat down to re-write Lucy, I found myself dredging up all the garbage that had made me miserable so many years ago. I found myself ripping open wounds that really just needed to be left alone to heal (or scar).
So, after much thought and an hour-long stroll down by a gorgeous Washington creek…I decided it was time to let go of an old dear friend and move on to new things. Maybe one day I’ll come back and have another crack at telling Lucy’s story.
But for now it’s farewell, “Lucy”. You were an amazing story to work with.