Hoarding Words

I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. I began with poetry because it took me a while to warm to story telling, but I eventually wrote two novels at high school. I use the term ‘novels’ loosely – I hand wrote them and I reckon if I typed them up they’d be more like novellas. Also, they’re awful. Really awful. But still, I wrote them at a time when I was less afraid to simply write, and I’d love to return to that writing fearlessness. And I finished them, which for me is some kind of miracle.

Let me get back to the part where I said they were awful. They were awful. So awful I can’t even bring myself to type up an excerpt.


But I can’t throw them out. I can’t seem to willingly remove them from my life. At every clean out, I find them again. I read a paragraph and I remind myself, again, how awful they are and put them back where I found them unable to do what really needs to be done. Like, start a bonfire.

I don’t even know why. It’s not like I’d want anyone to read them. If my house *touches wood* went up in flames, they’d be the last things I’d miss. And *touches wood* if I died prematurely, they are certainly not the kind of words I want to be remembered by.

Then there’s my husband. At the end of each school year he threw out everything but his most-prized school work. I have a shelf, a full shelf of old school stuff, old assignments and essays, and on that shelf barely 1% is my husband’s. Even as I write this, he’s reading over my shoulder asking about it, because he doesn’t remember still keeping any school stuff and he might not need it now.

All the while, I’m clinging on.

I think it is easier to hoard words these days. With these fandangled computers, you only have compatibility issues with new versions of Word. I have my fair share of hard-drive hoarding too but I can’t press delete like I can’t light a match…

And I can’t because I feel like I’m throwing away time. It’s like admitting I needn’t have bothered, or I wasted three years of my life getting a degree.

That being said.

It’s not like I can get it back.


Do you hoard words? Do you have stories in storage or your entire education cryogenically frozen? Do you keep or dispose?


3 thoughts on “Hoarding Words

  1. I’m not sure you even need me to answer this – you can probably guess.

    Yes, I hoard words. Under the stairs, in boxes, is every piece of paper I photocopied during my doctoral studies, with several drafts (400 pages apiece) of my thesis in various stages of binding and unbinding, none of which I need. None. In my parents’ house – unless they’ve chucked them out without telling me – are piles of old schoolbooks and school copybooks and whatnot, which I should really do something with one of these decades. I have biscuit tins full of old poetry (*sooo* bad) and scribbled writing from my schooldays, and of course a pile of old diaries, which are always good for a cringe. I really need to get a grip and realise that if I haven’t needed to look at something at any point in the last ten years, I probably don’t need it any more – but it’s harder to do it than say it! 🙂

    • Easier said than done, for sure. My parents don’t have any of my school stuff, they made me take it with me! So I’ve *had* to be brutal. I don’t know what to do with my diaries either, they’d be tediously boring so why can’t I give them up?

      Sentimentality is weird, isn’t it? 🙂 (I always think that’s why they put the ‘mental’ in ‘sentimental’)

      • I love that! ‘The mental in sentimental.’ Brilliant! Yeah, my parents wanted me to take my school stuff, too, but I played the ‘I don’t have room, wail!’ card. I reckon they’ve probably stealthily chucked it by now. Diaries are boring, true, but they’re also (unintentionally) hilarious. I wouldn’t throw those out. Schoolbooks and schoolwork, yes. Maybe. Keep a few representative samples. 🙂 But keep the diaries. It’s always good to see how far you’ve come as a human being! 😀

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