When You Have Lots of Unpublished Writing in Boxes

From Jane Friedman:

My mother kept meticulous files full of articles and brochures about the places she wanted to travel to, although there was no indication she would ever get to any of them. My father was deeply uncomfortable leaving home and wanted to venture no further than the garden out back or the workbench in the garage, and she lacked the daring to strike out on her own. As a teenager, I looked on my mother’s files with disdain and, later, with pity. How sad, I thought, to just move papers about and never really do the things you want to do. How tragic, to lock up a life in a box.

Many years later, I came to see that I too had much of my life in a box. I had—and still have—file cabinets and straw baskets and big black binders and cardboard boxes and computer files and even their backups. These files are filled with my writing. Writing about falling in love and having my heart broken; about adventures in sex and sexuality; about getting married and heading to divorce; about becoming a mother and holding my children in my arms for the first time and, later, worrying about the complex and unstable world they will inherit; about caring for my beloved mother when dementia struck, witnessing the awful progression, being with her when she took her last breath, not knowing how to go on, and finding a way to go on; about my struggles with confidence and other secrets and lies; about my spiritual questing, my deep love of life, and my fear of dying before I wholly and fully live; about friendship and the beauty of yellow tulips in a vase; about the miracle of having just the right people appear in my life at just the right time, and longing, longing, longing—to break free.

Continue reading at Jane Friedman.

Image source Jane Friedman.

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