Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Drawer Full of Memories

By Keith Fisher

While searching for a lost something the other day. I pulled on my center desk drawer. It decided to be free, and came all the way out. I sat there, with the desk contents on the floor, and threw my hands in the air. I needed to go to bed, so I left it.

It was still there this morning, when I went to post my blog. The drawer lay on the floor with the contents strung all over. I sat and stared at the mess. It was kind of like those I Spy books we give to kids, only I was reliving memories with each object I spied. I looked at the Dutch oven tag from the Japanese Dutch Oven Society, expensive pens I haven’t seen for a long time, Dutch oven hat-pins, and a miniature sword letter opener.

Of course there were stamps and checkbooks, Drafting tools and colored pencils. The charcoal pens I used to make headstone rubbings on our trip to Pennsylvania were there. As well as old hunting and fishing licenses, Keys, and spare change. I found the whistle that was given to me by Chuck-A-Rama restaurants in a Dutch oven cook off. I wondered where that went. The one thing that grabbed my attention most, however, was the old Duty to God Award.

When I was a teenager in the early seventies, it wasn’t cool to get merit badges in scouts or work on any thing like a Duty to God Award. It was cool to skip church, break the word of wisdom, and go inactive. Consequently, I never received a Duty to God Award.

After I got married, I rode my bicycle for exercise. I was riding one day, about 14-years ago, and found an On My Honor Award lying in the street. It is givento Deacons who are on their way to Duty TO God and it had obviously been discarded because of the way it lay in the road. Someone had even driven over it with an automobile.

I picked it up and took it home. Every time I examined it, I was intrigued. What would make someone throw it away? It seemed pretty callous considering I foolishly never received one. I had served an honorable mission and wished I had remained righteous and pure through my teenage years. Someone had, and they were discarding that.

The Duty to God Award is now a medallion, but back when I was that age, the award was a real medal, with a pin for attaching to a scout uniform, like the Eagle award.

The Duty to GOD Award, coveted by me, stands symbolic of a committed soul. A soul, that puts God first in his life. I keep the award I found, as a reminder to be, that committed soul. Perhaps my desk drawer is not the best place to keep it. I think I’ll hang it above my computer so it can remind me.

Now, the part about writing, my desk drawer is a great analogy of the editing process. Sometimes it’s hard to get the story right. We search, and search, for that one little flaw. "Why doesn’t it work?" we ask. We start pulling on the drawer by tightening the sentences. Still, there is something wrong. So we pull harder.

Like my drawer, we end up with our story all over the floor. Editing and tweaking are essential to a good story, but it can be overdone. Recently, I tweaked a chapter before taking it to critique group. When I got it home, I noticed one of the suggestions was to change something back to the way I had it before. My group didn’t know that, but they all agreed.

There is a time to quit editing and step back. Give it to someone else to read, while you work on your new project. Don’t pull too hard on that drawer handle.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.


L.T. Elliot said...

Your posts always stir me but this one in particular came at a good time. In regards to the editing and the committed life part, both. I found myself wondering which of my hard-earning accomplishments I have thrown by the wayside. You've given me a lot to think about. As always, thank you for this great post.

Keith Fisher said...

Thanks for reading. I hope no one noticed my error. I had to go back and fix this blog. I called what I found a Duty To God award, when in fact, its A On My Honor award. Its part of the Duty to God award, but is given to deacons.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Great analogy, Keith!