(“Found object” associated with a series of fantasy novels I wrote in my early teens.)
One project for this year is to get a handle on 30-plus years of papers, correspondence, rough drafts, and what I would call “project histories.” This includes a lot of material from before email and the internet, which means sometimes quite long letters with other writers and people in publishing, some of them well-known at the time and some of them now quite well-known but obscure then. It also includes all of my wife Ann VanderMeer’s correspondence and history with projects like her indie press mag The Silver Web (fiction and art) and from her five-year stint at Weird Tales. And because we were active in small press in the 1980s-90s, there’s a treasure trove of old issues of horror and fantasy magazines not only now defunct but also not much mentioned on the internet, because they existed pre-internet or just on the cusp.
(My sister Elizabeth and me, in Fiji.)
The project histories are things like a complete record of correspondence, process, editing, and PR for Stepan Chapman’s The Troika, which we published in 1996 and was the first book from an indie press to win the Philip K. Dick Award. But also the complete histories of most of our anthologies–putting them together, etc. Ann’s been very good about keeping that stuff organized in filing boxes. In addition, I have a pretty good record of my start as a poet submitting to poetry magazines and of my various magazine projects in the 1980s and 1990s. Lots of stuff connected to fantasy/SF but also to the literary world.
Then you add on top of that my (sometimes chaotic) history of drafts of novels and stories, along with editorial correspondence, and right now it all fills a rather large storage unit. Especially since some of the stuff dates back to when I began writing when I was eight or nine.
(My first, self-published collection, with illustrations by my mother. Still have the original layout pages.)
I have no idea if any of this stuff is valuable to anyone, or of use, but I do have a general sense that I shouldn’t dump it all in the backyard and have a bonfire, either. Hopefully this year at least we’ll get around to cataloguing and organizing the stuff that needs to be gone through.
(Correspondence from Thomas Ligotti and Rikki Ducornet, two of my favorite writers.)