by tabithapang

I can’t find the first few chapters of the story I started writing a few years ago. Where are they? I’ve tried every possible word.

Writing. Chapter 1. Write. Word. Novel.

Nothing! Nothing comes up! My search yields NOTHING. I think I’ve been searching for an hour. And all I can find are thousands of lessons, worksheets, presentations, my students’ stories, their poems, their grades, and yet. I can’t find my ONE chapter. You know. The. Most. Important. Chapter. of my NOVEL. It’s lost.

And I’ve been thinking about them on and off all day. And by them I mean my main characters. I don’t think they were all that great. I’m sure they were more than contrived. But I named them. They lived for a few pages. They had memories. Maybe I deleted them. From existence. I pressed delete. On the first people I ever tried to create. Was it painful for them? To be deleted??

I’m trying to channel Pico Iyer. Who lost all of his manuscripts in a fire. And could look back on all those words and say, nothing lasts forever.

But I really want to find those chapters. I decided while driving home today that I wanted them to continue the rest of their journey. This is the reason.

While eating dinner tonight, I ask mom. What does that say? The painting on the wall. The Chinese calligraphy on the fan. What do they mean? I’ve always known they belong to my grandfather. Mom’s sixty. Grandpa had them before her birth. The painting and the fan are both likely around a hundred years old. He studied Tai Chi and his teacher gave it to him. What do they mean? The words? The words. She’s going to study them for me with my aunt to figure out their meaning. These words and their meaning, I am convinced, have significance for my story, for my characters.

They are lost. Living somewhere in a portable hard drive. In an email. In a text? I write everywhere and I leave things everywhere. I’m going to dig deep this month. And recover them. If not from digital memory, from my memory or my grandfathers.