Anxiety about the clutter building up in my house motivated me to clean out my writing files tonight. Even as I tossed materials from old articles--zoo guides, Cove Fort maps, and Dungeness Spit brochures--the memories made me smile. Some treasures I couldn't bear to throw out my handwritten interview notes from man who lived in a train car for twenty years while he resurrected the Lake Whatcom railway. He reminded me that I might be able to use the train material in a different article--everybody loves trains. I also stumbled on files I had completely forgotten, like the article about St. Cuthbert that never got published, which could be rewritten and submitted, or drafted stories about trapped ducklings and badminton and Thanksgiving turkeys that just need a little tweaking.

Who knew you could get inspiration going through your own material?

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