Weather forecast is calling for a high this afternoon of 112. It wasn't even very cool at 4:30 a.m., but I decided to take advantage of the dogs' needing to go outside and spent about an hour in the studio. I had two objectives.
One was to continue work on this major crafting project that I really want to finish before I leave for my little vacation in Seattle. The project has reached the stage where it puts stress on my fingers and wrists if I work too long at one time, so I try to get in short sprints here and there. It seems to be working, as I am seeing significant progress.
The second was to initiate another major project, but one that has no urgency.
There are all kinds of little bits of "stuff" scattered around the studio. Stones and patterns and bits of fabric and notes on scraps of paper and tools and what-not. I knew I had a good-sized rectangular roaster pan in the workshop what was perfect for this new project. Once I washed it out and let it dry, I began collecting all these bits and scraps and what-nots into the pan for later sorting. . . and disposal. Just in the process of collecting the stuff, I found a few things that ended up in the trash, where they should have gone months ago.
By the time I brought both myself and the dogs in the house roughly an hour later, I had accomplished my two objectives. Neither project is finished, of course, but I'm well on the road. However, in gathering up the odds and ends, I stumbled upon some truly ancient paperwork -- the manuscripts brought to the last meeting of my last real critique group, probably somewhere around 1994.
I knew some of them were out there, so this wasn't a shocking discovery. What surprised me was how many of them I still had. There are at least a dozen, maybe as many as 20. I called on what little discipline I possess and resisted the temptation to sit down and read, so I didn't even go through the binder to see how many actual manuscripts were there, but it's a bunch.
With one exception, none of the writers in that particular critique group ever went on to be published as far as I know. One of the books has been digitally published by the author on Amazon. I picked it up for free a couple years ago when I recognized the plot line; the author used a pseudonym that I would never have recognized. At the time, it had a few reviews, and most of the reviewers agreed with my original assessment: the story was cute but just too far-fetched to be believable.
I'm not sure that that particular manuscript is in the collection I found today. If it is, it should have some interesting observations (mostly mine) written on it, because that implausibility was one of the main reasons the critique group never warmed up to this story. I was distinctly reminded of it while I was reading Breaking the Rules the other day.
It's now going on 8:00. I still have a ton of work to do before BF announces he's heading home from California, so I'd better get my butt in gear. Old critique group manuscripts may be interesting, but chuckling over them won't pay the bills!