We burn old love letters and photographs to be reborn. The action of burning is often a process. Find a match or a lighter. Put the papers in a container or can or shove them in a fireplace. There are so many moments along the way when we can have second thoughts, when we can decide to put memories in a drawer rather than reduce them to ash, but it is so tempting and comforting to watch the flames swallow our pain.
Every writer knows the frustration of staring at their own work, writhing at every imperfection. Sometimes a writer’s frustration can build up to the point where only burning the work into ashes can bring relief. At The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone writes on several instances in which writers have chosen such destructive paths for their work.