I admire anyone who takes scraps that someone else might discard–or has already–and makes something beautiful or useful out of them. Broken furniture and odd accessories are salvaged to decorate a home (Wendy’s mother does that in Bird Face). An outdated garment is transformed into a trendsetting outfit. And a writer builds a story.
That’s why writers are told to keep a daily journal. To collect scraps worth saving. But even if we don’t journal ( and I never have), scraps are in our memories to pick up when we need them. A mother’s or child’s smell when they’re not around anymore. A old conversation with a school friend. The feelings over a silly grudge. A despised first job. An ex.
We are all made of scraps, I think. The most painful ones may be the most valuable. While others may discard or try to shove them into the far corners of their memories, writers use them to build their craft.
If you are a young writer still in school and haven’t yet done so, start saving the scraps. The sad, disappointing, irritating ones. The joyful ones will save themselves.
What kinds of scraps made you the person you are today? Will you use them in your writing or another endeavor?