Old Things

I’ve had a really good week as far as writing goes. A short story idea has been rolling around in my head for months, and I finally sat my rear end in the chair and attacked it. The first few pages came quickly, and for a while I was convinced it would only take three writing days before a draft was complete. I should have known better.

As soon as I’ve nailed down one aspect of the story, something else decides to be a problem. The strange part is, I’m excited that it is being difficult. I want to be pushed and stretched. None of this effort means the story will be any good, but it will be rewarding to finish.

The only real distraction is another idea that popped into my head while I was reading a book called “Slow Boat”, by Hideo Furukawa. I’d written a story more than a decade ago that shared similar elements to one chapter of “Slow Boat”. As soon as I finished the book (it’s wicked short), I went to my computer and opened the file. The story was still in very rough condition, and I remembered I’d only loosely edited it after finishing the first draft. Reading through, I liked the flow of the story, and thought it would only need a few tweaks to be ready for sharing. Four hours later I’d rewritten most of it, changed the overall tone, and given the story an entirely different ending. It was the most fun I’d had with writing in more than a year.

Finding life in one old idea got me thinking about other abandoned work, paragraphs, pages, two or three lines that had promise, but I either lost interest in or wasn’t skilled enough to write at the time. I’m making a list of texts that need attention, and it is a good long one. I’m certain many of them won’t become anything more than they already are, but there are likely three or four that have some serious potential. The prospect is keeping me up at night, pondering.

What about you fine people? Have you ever gone back to an old idea and found it had new life? How did you approach the project? Were you successful?

One other note-

The shelf I was using to display my vinyl was near capacity, and I was not excited about the prospect of using crates or boxes to store things. I dislike clutter. Over the weekend, we picked up this fine shelf from IKEA.


I’ve triple the space now. You should all come over and we can have a listen party. You bring the drinks, I’ll provide the food and music.





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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

9 responses to “Old Things”

  1. artistpath says :

    That’s a great looking shelf! I need one for all my books. As for going back to old ideas, I do that all the time with my poetry….one line jotted down months earlier is given new life. I can’t really explain how it happens, it’s as if the seed is planted and needs time to grow before it can bloom.

  2. Jim says :

    We should play chess one day.



  3. Liesbet says :

    I love your idea of a party. Even a vinyl party. I love listening to them, but you’d have to get up all the time to change LPs and that would interrupt our conversations! 🙂

    I have many unfinished projects in the form of article ideas and beginnings, so I know what you mean. One day, I hope to get back to (some of) them, but for now, there are bigger fish to fry in terms of bigger and more “urgent” writing battles.

  4. jmh says :

    Beautiful shelf! So much better than crates or boxes.

    I love that you’re having so much success and inspiration. My book Lost is the retelling of the novel I wrote in college. It was a ton of work to rewrite it completely from scratch, but I’m so glad I did. It’s still something I’m extremely proud of.

    • fenster says :

      It is indeed a lovely shelf. As for inspiration, I take it when its kind enough to present itself. I’m becoming more convinced that old ideas are a wellspring of opportunity, a chance to get it right, finally…

  5. Crystal Collier says :

    Oh yes! I have SOOOOO many old ideas that it would be impossible for the answer to be no. In fact, my debut novel was originally a 100 page novella, written on a whim. My how things grow if we give them the time and distance they need, eh?

    Love the shelf.

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