Confessions of a Tree Murderer

Paper is trees.

How many times have I heard this said since the first Earth Day in 1970? So Yay! for the digital revolution. As a writer, I can now do my part to save the planet by penning everything without a pen…or paper. Yeah, right…until I need to edit. I have yet to find the digital equivalent to scratching out stupid things I’ve written and then scribbling less stupid ones in the margins, and using copious arrows and asterisks to instruct me later when I’m typing in all the changes and have no idea what I had been thinking. I edit on paper and, because I can always find flaws in everything I write, I work multiple drafts.

Observe my stack of tree bones, the horror of it. I could recycle it all once the book comes out, but think of the dissertation potential that would be lost for an eager future doctoral student examining the writing process of a then-dead famous early 20th-century novelist. Of course, that’s presuming I become famous…and die. Immortality is not completely off the table in terms of future possibilities. Sure, I could scan all these drafts and store them in a cloud, but who has time for that? (Immortals) I could insulate the attic, but the R-rating of plain bond paper is probably not as good as the soybean foam we’ve got up there already. So, I stack them on my desk, a paper trunk, as proof of both my productivity and environmental sins. Then someday, like a scene out of E.L. Doctorow’s novel Homer & Langley, I’ll be crushed to death by this constructed tree of hoarded paper. I guess I can live with that.

Drafts of my YA novels guarded by an origami boar my son made.

Drafts guarded by an origami boar my son made.


One thought on “Confessions of a Tree Murderer

  1. What is the work-in-progress that those thinly-sliced logs are for?

    I was going to mention that I always edit on the computer, with the WP, but on second thought, that obliterates all your drafts as you go, which is probably dangerous if you’re a serious writer, which I’m not (I try to be mostly comic).

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