Your Old Paperclips May Not Be Archival


For the past two days I have been scanning nearly four decades’ worth of manuscripts and other paper-based ephemera. My fingers smell like rusty paperclips; there are copious microinjuries. When a certain variety of paperclip, presumably manufactured in the ’70s or ’80s, gives in to decay, it sheds a shiny outer layer that is twisted, somewhat sharp, and snags in carpet and flesh. I feel at risk for tetanus. And yet, this hazardous undertaking is not unrewarding. I have filing cabinets full of text I generated (or as we old timers might say, “stories I wrote”) in a distant pre-digital era. It has made me nervous to think that almost none of that stuff exists anywhere else, except in increasingly fewer increasingly moldy magazines and paperback anthologies.

I’ve now got around 60 old stories scanned and OCR’d, which I am going to be cleaning up and posting here on my website. Most of it will go into the Online Fiction section, though there are a few odds and ends that are harder to categorize. Found the full transcript of an interview with David Lowery of Camper van Beethoven, done during the Key Lime Pie tour, of which only bits and pieces appeared in Mondo 2000. A thing called “Michael J. Fox as Wormboy” which is really just the most extended dream-journal I ever wrote, following a dream so weird that I woke up and promptly spent most of a day writing it down. But mostly it’s just stories, old ones, with some new Author’s Notes appended.

Stories such as “Spawn of the Ruins,” my first real publication, from 1977.

And “Sneakers,” the only story I sold to the late Charlie Grant for his celebrated Shadows series.

I’ve got more to clean up, a lot more, and I’ll post them as I go. Some of the formatting is a real mess. Old dot matrix manuscripts don’t play nice with OCR, it turns out.

And if you spot any errors or typos (I am sure there will be plenty), I would be much obliged if you would drop me a line at the contact page and let me know!