Waste Not Want Not

One problem I've always had with my writing is that I start out with an idea and then have trouble letting go of it when the story goes in a different direction. When I was in newspapers, editors were always telling me my leads were great, they just didn't have anything to do with the rest of the story. I get attached to my own brilliant writing and find it hard to let go. Which, ironically, makes the writing slightly less brilliant.

So I was working on an essay about wintertime parking in Boston and the suburbs and I had this really cute lead. But it totally doesn't go with the rest of the article. So I took an idea from Chris Baty's book, No Plot? No Problem! and put the offending paragraph in a cut file. Pretty self-explanatory, but the idea is you put the bits that you take out of your story and put it in another file just in case you need it (wink, wink).

I was right, by the way. The paragraph had no business being in the essay. But it's still cute. And I am a New Englander. As we like to say: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. So I decided that it was a shame to let my cute lead go to waste. And I thought, Why not make a blog entry out of it?

God, I am so clever. Anyway, here it is:

From the Cut File

Boston is a place of mystery and mythology, of characters, history and tradition. You see a rainbow? We see Ho Chi Minh. In fairy tales, curses last either three or seven years. Ours last 83. Our mobsters are notorious mass murderers, sure. But they’re also kind of likeable. Our tea parties are revolutionary. And the art and war of parking when and where space is tight? As sacrosanct as the sacred cod.

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