First, the physical condition is embarrassing. I’ve had this address book for a number of years and it has been beaten up, the pages are tattered, the tabs have pulled off and my Little Man uses it as a coloring book (Mommy blue!). I have an unnatural attachment to things sometimes and this is something I’ve had pre-baby and pre-husband. I guess in some way it is an artifact of my single life (and yes, there are names of past boyfriends in it too).
Second, it is not just that the pages are tattered and that the tabs have been pulled off that make the interior unsightly. There are a lot of original entries, crossed out entries, additions, crossed out additions and cross references to other entries added and/or crossed out that it takes an expert cryptologist to decipher what is written on the page and what is actually up-to-date information. Fortunately, once the tabs fell off I was no longer restrained by the alphabet and I could put entries anywhere there was room.
Why all the editing? Because life is constantly changing. People get married and their names change (most often if they’re women), people get divorced and their names change (again, mostly women), the spouses have to be added or subtracted, they have kids that have to be included, they move, they get new phone numbers, cell phones, and email addresses, the kids move out or get married, or sadly, sometimes people pass away. Then there are those entries that I have no idea who those people are. And with each change there is the asterisk (*) denoting the reason of the change or commentary. For example:
Jane and123 Main St. *she got the house
John Smith Doe
*she finally dumped the jerk
Mary and Tommy (the kids) *hope the bum pays child support
So, I find that it is now time to get a new address book and to start anew; rewriting the entries cleanly and clearly as the current state of affairs exists, leaving out those that have been removed from my acquaintance for whatever reason (or who I don't remember) and leaving behind those that have passed away. It is simultaneously refreshing and nostalgic.
I recently printed out what I have completed writing of my novel (I’m about two-thirds complete!). I know I’m still writing and I should wait until it is done before I start the editing process, but I couldn’t resist the urge to read it. I did resist picking up my red-teacher-correction-pen from my teaching days to edit (or slice and dice) what I had. That will happen in good time. And just like my address book I will make additions, cross things out, and I’m sure people (characters) will pass away (be written out). And once all is said and done, I will probably rewrite a lot of my novel. I expect the editing process will be as bittersweet as getting a new address book.