First read through the pre-first draft

I’ve started reading through my Collection of Recollections, that long piece of writing that I’ve been pounding out on my typewriter over the last year. I’m only 20 pages in and it’s shit.Tonight, I read what I wrote just over a year ago about an ex-girlfriend. I wasn’t sober when I wrote it, but I was when I read it. Reading through it made me really uncomfortable. I just didn’t enjoy the experience.

The writing is fragmented. It doesn’t flow. Each paragraph is its own vignette. So many thoughts are left incomplete.

Reading about what I had to write about my ex-girlfriend felt too real. It was hard to read because I was able to place myself back on that riverside pathway, at that birthday party, standing at the pay phone in Finland, in my university apartment five years after the break up. It all felt too personal.

It’s all too clear that I’m going to need to do a lot of revision. I’m going to have to spend a solid amount of time rewriting most of what I’ve written, if not scraping much of it. Just following through with a coherent story is going to be my first challenge.

It’s not that it hurt to read what I wrote about her. It’s that it still rings true. How, after so long, can the truth of something not have changed? Surely, something else must’ve happened in my life. Surely, my thoughts and feelings about that time together must be muddied by the clouds of new experiences and change.

How am I going to write this story well enough for others to want to read it? I used to think that I was a good-enough writer but reading through this is making me question that. Some of my word choices and phrasing are so clearly a desperate attempt to sound more piquant than I, or my story, am.

After reading what I wrote about her, I feel like I need to apologize to someone. Her? Me? I don’t even know what I’d be apologizing for, but an apology is necessary. To you?

This is my first attempt at writing something that is the length of a novella. Reading through it is tough. Striking ink on a blank page was easy, despite the soreness it induced on the tips of my index fingers.

I’m sorry.

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