Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Refrigerator



There is one in every house. Sometimes, there are two. Some are small, some are large. Some have drawers and some have orifices that spew ice and water.

The refrigerator. You were told it's a place to keep food fresh. They lied. It's a place where food goes to die.

You fill it every week with milk, cheese, salad ingredients and tubs of yogurt. There are jars of pickles and jam. But death lurks.

In the back.

If anything makes it to the back of the fridge, consider it useful as a lethal weapon. I had a jar of pickles (with one pickle floating ominously in the murky liquid) that stayed in the back for months. Literally, months. It may have been longer, but I refuse to say. When I finally got rid of it, I'd swear it winked at me.

Then there are the mysterious containers; those opaque food-savers you bought thinking they'd be so useful. What evil creature lurks within? Beware. It is possible when you lift off the lid that slimy green hands will reach out and pull it back on. I tend to stay away from containers I can't see into. My logic is if I'm going to conduct scientific experiments, I may as well see what's going on.

Writers have refrigerators unique to them - it may be a desk drawer, or in your document list, or in a file cabinet, but it's that place where you've stashed that project that you'll get to later, or the one you got frustrated with.

At the bottom. You have to bend down (literally or figuratively) to get at it. Food makes you reach back, writing makes you reach down. Significant? Symbolic? Perhaps.

Gather your courage and reach down. Take it out. Open the lid. Yes, it might truly be a disaster - but you just might have invented penicillin.

You'll never know if you don't lift off that lid.

18 comments:

  1. YOu are oh so right, Elspeth. I actually love looking thru old files to see what still might speak to me.
    Karen

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  2. Karen; It's good to look, isn't it? You just never know.

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  3. Did this just last night. A few things struck me and I don't know why I put them aside. Actually worked one in to a "to be used" blog post.
    Entertaining reminder post. Thanks.
    Maribeth
    Giggles and Guns

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  4. A good reminder to clean out my fridge and look through my manuscript graveyard!

    Thanks.

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  5. Elizabeth; Best of luck to you with both endeavours! One might be scarier than the other. However, I'm sure you're a better housekeeper than me, so I'm probably wrong.

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  6. Elspeth - I just love this analogy! What's interesting is that some refrigerated things (like catsup, spices and so on) stay fresh much longer than others (milk, cheese and yoghurt). Some writing projects also stay fresh longer than others, and can be taken out and worked on again and again.

    As I was thinking about your analogy, I was thinking about freezers, too. I wonder if writing projects that are put aside long enough get, well, refreshed more, so that they're better when you take them out again, just as food that's frozen stays fresh longer than food that's just in the refrigerator...

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  7. Margot; But what about freezer burn? It's true things keep better in the freezer, but those things went in ON PURPOSE. I don't know if I've ever put any writing away in the freezer, just the fridge - where it eventually molds and grows scaly appendages.

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  8. It's a requirement that you save food until it molds so you're justified in throwing it away.

    I was just thinking about a scene I'd written and cut wondering if I might have use for it. I'll have to go back and look more closely.

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  9. Months? Months? I laugh at you. I have stuff in my fridge from the last millennium! (Actually, we bought a new fridge since then, but I transferred my stuff over. Yes. I. did!)

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  10. Alan; With a quick flick of my wrist I toss the scorn back in your direction. You didn't think I'd reveal all my secrets did you? Really??? And you'll note I did write "It may have been longer..."

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  11. I've got a story I wrote several years ago for me and myself alone. I love the concept. In fact I think it would be a great series. BUT... I'd have to rewrite the entire thing - probably without even looking at it. One of these days... :)

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  12. I love looking through old writing! It's either good for a laugh, good for my shredder, or good for a future WiP. No matter which one, it's always fun!

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  13. So true. I cleaned out my refrigerator this weekend, and perhaps it is time to do the same with my other one.

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  14. Jemi; Who knows? Maybe something you wrote just for you might be the best thing.

    Laura; That's a wonderful attitude to have. Good for you.

    Rayna; Perhaps - just don't go in unprepared. Good luck!

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  15. Hmmm ... something just stirred in the back of my mind. (wink)

    Hey Elspeth you were in the top two best contributors on my word challenge post yesterday. I shouted you out today ... stop by if you get a chance, ok?

    Marvin D Wilson

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  16. Another great analogy. Is today analogy day? I sometimes re-visit my old novels because the story is never really finished. I love all the stories that come in my mind. However, they didn't get started when I was learning to write so they're pretty amateurish. I may write them later in my career and watch them sprout.

    CD

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  17. Old Silly; I already have! Thanks for the shout out.

    Clarissa; I should think that's a fairly regular occurrence; it certainly is for me! I've had many stories where the plot is good, the characters are okay, but the writing stinks = simply because I hadn't had enough experience. Hopefully, I'm better now!

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