October 11, 2008

As a chronic in-the-mail letter writer, I am stupid for repeatedly destroying my correspondences on occasion. Letters are usually the first thing to go when I try to divest myself of acculumated mass. Papers surprising weigh a lot & take up a lot of space--hence, libraries. For me, the use value of most of the letters has passed. An edited correspondence book later, should I merit one, would greatly depend on the other side of the exchanges.
Yet, there is a mostly undiscussed market for such things. As an archivist, Geof Huth can maybe address this better than I can, but basically libraries purchase archives of letters, drafts, notebooks, ephemera etc . . . of folk who even moderately "make it." That Poe was ignored in his lifetime sort of argument.
The point, if you are able, collect what you can of your own & others: it may be worth something to you (financially) later on, as libraries pay good money for good archives & through this act of commerce, you may actually assist the "tradition" and academics as a whole. Baudelaire's letters to his mother pleading for some extra scratch help us in 2008 at least understand the circumstances under which he wrote: seriously broke & desperate.
That said, I'm off to write a letter on my Smith-Corona Sterling that probably will fall through the cracks.
You should write a letter to your mother. She will be surprised and love it.


Post a Comment

<< Home