In a varied writing and reading life, interspersed with some absolute highlights, I often have to balance the good and bad. So it is that:
I don’t remember having to track down hundreds of ‘lost’ footnotes (keeping track of them was a horror, and not a highlight for me!), but I do remember being complimented on my ‘clean’ referencing.
I don’t remember the trauma of travelling to meet my interviewee for a magazine article, but I do remember the good humour, great conversation and ‘highlight’ article that resulted.
I don’t QUITE (qualifier – this was huge and messy) recall redoing a heap of thesis work, but I do remember the graduation that followed, and the sense of achievement and worthwhile research.
I don’t remember the messy proofreading involved for a client who didn’t have time to write well, but I do remember the polished final result and the sound of relief in their voice.
I don’t remember having to trek into university on winter weekends to do track down resources, but I do remember the joy of finding wonderful books and hidden gems that I’ve retained ever since (not the actual books, just the good quotes and passages. I’d hate to imagine a late fine for those books – this was the early 1990s!)
Now it starts to head down to a new generation. As the aunt of two little girls – aged two and ten months respectively – I’m building a whole new list of moments. One day, when they’re both a bit older, I will say to them, hopefully while reading a book or writing a story:
I don’t remember when I started reading and writing – but I’ll always treasure the worlds and wonders I’ve found through both.