A visit to the archives

Two tall metal file cabinets for work or home use
Two tall metal file cabinets for work or home use (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Picture this:  A basement, a very large basement with filing cabinets that go up to your chin lined up in pretty rows off into the distance of what appears to be infinity.  The cabinets, a dull gray with handles that have wear patterns from all the times they have been opened.This is the vault, the archive, the place where all good story ideas end up stewing in their own juices until the time, the gumption, and the inspiration comes back to give these ideas the light of day.

….  Or you can just picture a file folder on your computer with over 200 documents in it with barely started stories or mostly completed books that fell apart for one reason or another.  Whichever suits your fancy.

I periodically go in to scope out the scene, open the filing cabinets and skim the file names just for the heck of it.  Or, I do it because I want to write and can’t seem to spur myself into writing more on the current projects.  When I do this one of three things happen.

1.  I read a paragraph or two, make a grumpy type of noise and move onto the next one…and the next one…and the next one until I wasted a good hour making noises.

2.  I giggle and laugh, stare at it and realize that there isn’t much I can do with it at the moment and move on.

3.  I do something with it.  It can be a bit of editing, maybe an attempt to rewrite, or maybe post it somewhere else…you know, like on a blog…..

ANYWAY, this exercise is what led me to working on Ancient Magic, the newest obsession of mine next to Life Without Parole.  Because of that, I still practice it like I did today.  In doing so I found a document that I titled “Reality” and it’s short so don’t you worry, but it’s dialog.  No actions, only slight deviation between the two talking, but it always manages to make me smile.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll make an image out of it…but that’s another subject.

For the moment, I’ll share it so here it is:  The scene is always pictured in my mind as a darkened bar, two men nursing beers talking about whatever the hell comes to mind.


“You want to know about reality?  Here, I’ll tell you.  Reality is what happens when you’re not looking.  You can stare at something until your eyes fall out, but you won’t experience it until they do.  That is the reality of our lives.”

“What about truth?”

“Ah, well, the truth is that your eyes will never fall out of your head.  How’s that for irony?”

“What about power?”

“That depends on what type of power you’re talking about.  I assume you don’t mean electricity.  Now the power to move men, that’s an illusion.  A single person can’t move a man, only the words that they speak can do that.  Men with the power to put those words together correctly are the ones we remember.  They are the ones who have the least power though.”

“What is that?”

“Because while they can throw the words out, they can’t stop the rocks people throw back.”


That’s it, in a nutshell.  I don’t know why I like it, don’t know how or where I’d use it, but who knows, maybe one day I’ll craft a story out of it…..only time will tell!


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