When the past becomes the present

Okay, that title is a little obscure. This is the story behind it.

In my thirties, I pretty much made a living doing freelance article writing for newspapers and magazines. That’s how I made cash. I didn’t need to work because my husband’s salary was more than enough and we both wanted our child to have a parent at home, not both of them always working. At the same time I was writing a great deal of fiction – mainly short stories – and had lots of success with awards and publications. I was also harboring a secret: I was writing book length romantic fiction and murder mysteries. I never attempted to get them published. I wrote them simply for my enjoyment when I had a few hours of time to myself. I liked my stories and I didn’t really care if anyone else ever saw them.

Fast forward a few years and I went back into the workforce as a favor. I didn’t have the time to devote to any kind of writing – freelance or fiction – so I let it slide for about 15 years.

A few more years ahead now. One day I was downsized at my job. Not let go,  but my hours were severely cut. My daughter was gone and on her own, my husband was still working full time, and now I found myself with more time for myself than I’d had in a decade. There is only so much house cleaning and working out at the gym that you can do in a given day, so I decided to pull some of my old fiction stories out and reread them.

Here’s the part of the story that’s weird. I don’t even remember writing most of them. There was a four year window where I actually penned 8 full length novels – each  300- 400 pages. During this prolific time I was shuffling my daughter to school, dance class, karate class, etc. I was making entire home cooked meals EVERY NIGHT of the week and my house looked great. And I still managed to spend all that time writing. I had an entire series of books devoted to one family. I started rereading them last year after I was down sized. I couldn’t remember what I’d written so it was like finding a new author and a new set of works to delight in. Some of them were pretty good, I thought. A little dated, because they were written before Iphones and such, but I started reworking them and modernizing them.

Lo and behold, two of them won contests and the editors at two publishing houses asked for complete manuscripts. I’m waiting to hear back from them as I write this.

It’s a funny thing when your past endeavors come forth to the present. I wonder if I’d tried to submit them for publication back then if they would have been accepted.  Or, did I need to write them and then put them away, only to turn to them again at this stage in my life.  I’ll never really know the answer. Suffice it to say, I had a great deal of fun rereading and reworking them. If this leads to publication, so be it. If it doesn’t, I know I’ll still be writing into the next decades of my life.

And who knows: maybe I’ll find something in the future that I’m writing now and will be surprised by all over again.

Like I said: it’s weird.

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