Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Worthless crap that's not so worthless

The price of gold is at record highs. My first thought upon hearing this was to hijack a cargo ship carrying gold Krugerrand in the Caribbean.

Though that worked fine for the crew in Making Waves, I decided I should have a backup plan just in case. I did the next best thing and cleaned out my jewelry box.

I was a little surprised at what I found in there. I had at least half-a-dozen earrings that have been missing mates since well before I was doing any mating of my own. Ditto that for rings, one of which was a gift from a high school boyfriend, and the other a childhood present from a relative who believed a December birthstone ring was an appropriate gift for someone born in August.

I gathered all these items in a little baggie and headed to a local event that advertised cash for silver and gold. I waited my turn in a roomful of people nervously clutching bags of old flatware and coins.

When my turn came, I dumped my bootie on the table and watched while the appraiser performed an array of tests involving magnets, several chemicals, and possibly a chicken foot.

“Here you go,” she said as she handed me a fistful of money. “That’s $70.”

“Seriously? For a bunch of crap I haven’t even looked at for 20 years?”

She pulled the little pile toward her and smiled. “Your bunch of crap is worth something. It’s getting a whole new life.”

I pocketed the money and promptly went home to see what other crap I might have that could be worth something.

Then I thought about what might be lurking on my laptop. How many old stories are buried in files I’ve considered renaming “crap I wrote before I knew what the hell I was doing?”

How much of it might be salvageable? A sentence here, a plot point there? While there are a few manuscripts I’d prefer never see the light of day, there are others I still love with all the passion of a throbbing baloney baton. I do hold out hope that some of them will be worth something someday.

Perhaps more than $70.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised to discover something you thought was worth nothing actually had value? If you’re a writer, do you have little gems tucked away that you hope to someday take out and polish? Please share!

I’m going to paw through my jewelry box one more time. What do you think I could get for those brass nipple clamps?


Shakespeare said...

Brass nipple clamps... hmmm... can't say I'm interested.

However, I've done all I can to save every scrap of what I've written. The novel I just revised (for the umpteenth time) was my first novel... but it's salvageable, or I wouldn't be working on it ten years after its first draft.

Sometimes old short stories--or even short poems--can turn into something golden. I look forward to finding out what you discover as you forage!

Sarah W said...

I have files and files (paper and electronic) of premises, story scraps, snippets of dialogue, and shipwrecks. I even keep the bodies of my murdered 'darlings,' in case I can do a Dr. Frankenstein with them for another story.

As for the bronze clamps, I think you could get 30 dollars or 30 days in parts of Georgia . . .

Sarah W said...

And no, I'm not telling you which parts of her . . .

Matthew MacNish said...

Wait. Rings have mates like earrings? Shows what I know.

I never delete anything I write; maybe someday I'll do something with some of it. I bet you've got some hidden gems.

Writing gems. I meant hidden writing gems.

Linda G. said...

What could you get for those brass nipple clamps? Depending on how you use then, arrested. ;)

Malin said...

When we moved my grandmother to an assisted living home, we sold a few of her stuff. Apparently "that old china" we had used for years (without any consideration or cautiousness) was very valuable... Oops? :D Well, things are made to be used!

I have a few stories that I've lovingly put in a box not to be opened but I must say that I can always find something to cherish in everything I've written. Even if it's just the cool phrasing on page 2, line 12.

Tawna Fenske said...

Shakespeare, I've gotta be honest, I'm not entirely sure I'd even know what nipple clamps even look like.

Sarah, ha! Love the Georgia humor, especially since that's where one of my critique partners lives.

Matthew, LOL, I see I could have worded that sentence a little better. I meant the rings were also acquired before I was doing any actual "mating."

Linda G, will you test out that theory, just to see?

Malin, wow on the china! Were you able to sell it?

Thanks for reading, guys!

Leigh Royals said...

I love salvaging my older work. Some are worth it, others...well, meh.

As for the jewelry, I have kept everything. Some I want to fix, other just for posterity... seventy bucks huh?

Malin said...

We sold the china. None of us dared to use it after that! :D I kept a much fancier looking and much less expensive set of coffee cups instead.

N.M. Martinez said...

I just started thinking about the weird little stories that I have hidden away. I pulled a couple out, and they were not as bad as I thought they were. I'm thinking I'll start a pen name for those probably, lol. Less embarrassment in case they do turn out to be as bad as I first thought.