Letting go of lingerie is kind of like…

This is a sad tale. Really. The top left hand drawer of my dresser is stuffed with forgotten, ignored, wrinkled lingerie. Many of them I received at bridal showers over ten years ago, when I was an excited bride-to-be sitting in a cozy, decorated room, surrounded by my best friends.  We joked and laughed and oohed and aahed over all the pretty little garments while nibbling on desserts and sipping coffee. Most of the beautiful nighties I wore on my honeymoon and my first year of marriage.

Then, I moved to New England and started living in an old house with drafty windows. And my left hand drawer stayed closed. Because I don’t like being cold. At all. And then, well, I had kids. So the drawer stayed closed a few more years. And then I discovered my love of fleece pajama bottoms. And I think the drawer is stuck shut, warped by time.

But I can’t get myself to throw any of it out. Sentimental reasons, I guess. They were gifts from people who loved me and were excited for me. How can I just toss them aside? I can’t. Kind of like the rose made out of white chocolate in my freezer, we had as favors at our wedding, that my kids keep asking if they can eat.

But words? Story scenes? Unnecessary characters? Cute phrases? Clever alliteration? Vague thoughts?  Aha. These I can pull out of my writer’s top left hand drawer and throw into the goodwill bag. Is there a sentimental fondness toward my words? Yes. Is it hard to cut lines that I think are terrific? Yes.

But, sometimes I have to for the better of the story. I listen to the tiny doubts that niggle at my brain when I read over a line or contemplate a scene. If I’m doubting at all, then it’s a sign I need to press delete.

And write something better.

Do you have a hard time cutting words, paragraphs or scenes that you love, but that don’t seem to fit?


15 Responses to Letting go of lingerie is kind of like…

  1. Kris March 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Only until my awesome crit group gently points out the words that are too small, too big, or too out of fashion! Then, I lovingly put it all into a big trash bag…and stash them in the basement. After all, I might need them again! 😉

  2. Jennifer Shirk March 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    It is hard. I wish I could be more merciless. 🙂

  3. Kristen Torres-Toro March 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    I look forward to days I’m ruthless. They are extremely rare. But when they come along I take full advantage of them!

  4. Jennifer M Nunes March 10, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    I have a hard time cutting. Maybe that’s why I’ve been in the editing phase of my book for forever, because I don’t cut what I need to the first time!


  5. Kelly Polark March 10, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    You crack me up. I can totally relate to the ignored lingerie in the drawer. I could really use that space, too! But still I keep it!
    I can cut words but I am not merciless, but I suppose I need to cut more than I do!

  6. Laura March 10, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Kelly, Kris, Kristen,Jennifer – I think it’s hard for all writers to chop mercilessly. And I think most woman have lingering lingerie from the good ole days. 🙂

  7. Terry Lynn Johnson March 10, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    I love your lingerie story! So vivid, and I’m with you in my love of flannel.
    Yes, words. Hard to cut.

  8. Laura March 11, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    Terry Lyn – Flannel is nice too. I have some of those. But fleece rules. 🙂

  9. Karen March 11, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    Ha, I keep picturing a scene in my head with your kids asking if they can eat the white chocolate rose.

    Cutting. It’s hard. Sometimes I can find snippets to put elsewhere but others they are just gone to word cut heaven. But in the end, the story is better for it.

  10. Laura March 11, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    Karen – I like the idea of a word heaven or a story heaven. Alliteration heaven. 🙂

  11. Robert Guthrie March 11, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    I’m a second (or third or fourth) round cutter. I know the sentence or paragraph is supposed to go, but I leave it there and think it’ll work better on the next read. Or the next. Until I finally cave and get rid of it. And the following read… bliss – so obvious, why hadn’t I cut before?

    I feel the same way after throwing stuff out. After a month stagnation, then purge. I love it. I don’t think the difference is that I’m a guy. My sister is the one who taught me to be ruthless getting rid of stuff.

  12. Laura March 11, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Robert – You’re lucky you learned that lesson early. And I do leave some lines/paragraphs/scenes around until the very end, hoping my crit group will love it or that my feeling of doubt will go away. Sometimes, it’ll stay until the very last draft. And sometimes, I go back and put it in if I continue to miss it.

  13. angela March 11, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    Boy do I ever. I will fight to keep it through many a draft, and then at some point I clue in that it has to go. And it’s funny, but I almost feel relief, because all along I knew it needed to happen but couldn’t do it. Then it’s like, “Whew, finally I did it and I can let it go!”

  14. Heather Kelly March 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Sometimes I don’t want to throw something out, even if I know that it will be cut eventually. But, I think that it’s because it is a seed of a thought I need to develop further. Those seeds need to stay in until I figure out how to root them, and then, I don’t need the seed anymore, and then I purge. So, even the ugly stuff sometimes needs to stay for awhile. It may be why my revisions are so big!

    I never throw away lingerie. Never.

  15. Laura March 11, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Angela – Thanks for stopping by. I think after a certain point, all writers kinda know what when they need to chop chop. It’s not always fun.

    Heather – The good thing is -we’re not going to forget about a line or phrase that might need to go. Same with you, sometimes parts don’t get cut until the final cut.

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