Friday’s Essay – Dating My Writing

Cary Grant

My Archie

In one of the blogs I read one of the authors said that she had taken to dating her fiction writing. What she meant, of course, was that she wrote the date upon which she wrote something at the top of the page.  This helped her see her progress as a writer.  Now, those of you who know me will see where this is going.  And, those of you enamoured with plays on words will have figured the direction of this post by the title.  When I read ‘dating my fiction writing’ I imagined that the author was in some sort of relationship with her written work.  She didn’t mean that, but it took me a few seconds to reconcile what she meant with the meaning I had read.

But, we (and by ‘we’ I imagine that I am part of a community of writers) are all in some kind of relationship with our writing, aren’t we?  There’s that first rush when an idea hits you out of the blue.  Sparks fly!  Electricity crackles between you!  The words bat their eyelashes.  The ideas wiggle their tushies at you.  It’s all glamour and first blush excitement.  Then you get closer and more intimate with the work.  You start to get an inkling of what kind of relationship this is.  Is it some quick one-night-stand of a poem?  Maybe he’s a short story?  You’ll go all the way, but it’ll be a little while before you let him put his hand up your skirt.  Maybe this damn thing is some sort of booty call – you keep going back to it because it’s easy.  Could this be The One?  Maybe he’s a novel, a character, a series, you know you’re going to be with forever.  Some days you’ll take him for granted – chapters languishing in the desk drawer – but, you’ll be back.  He’s patient and true.  He’ll wait for you to look into his eyes and remember all the reasons you fell for him.  And, as though no time has passed, you’ll be going out dancing and making passionate love all night again.

I’m now reminded that in spite of the sparkly new poems calling me and the solid historical article in line for submission to a magazine, I have an old boyfriend I need to see again soon.  I was dating Archie back in November – ah, the heady days of NaNoWriMo!  I’m starting to miss Archie.  Maybe enough time has passed that we can talk again.  I don’t think he’ll be angry with me.  We’ve been around the block a couple of times now.  Archie and I will pick up right where we left off.  We’ve been going together – on and off – for over a year now.  We’re getting good at this dating thing.