I thought I'd made all copies disappear.
Sadly, I did not.
While going through file boxes, I found a copy, buried beneath notebooks upon notebooks of story ideas. I had written at 19, when I was adorably naive about how the publishing industry worked.
Against my better judgement, I read my first novel for the first time in more than twenty years.
I cringed, I cried, I rent my hair at how awful it was. I vowed to drag out the barbeque pit, toss the manuscript in and light it up. I wanted Gothic, dark and dramatic music to accompany my foul curses.
But I also found bright little nuggets of absolute joy in it. Some of the humor held up and I found myself wanting to journey back into that little world I'd created as a teenager.
I still have all the notes I kept for it, the histories and timelines, character lists and backstories.
The story I wanted to tell in this world wasn't the one that needed telling, which is probably why I kept everything attached to this first novel. But there are other stories that can be told. The right story will present itself to me when it's time.
And when that happens, I will have a wealth of material to pull from.
In the meantime........
Who wants to read this truly awful first novel?