Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sorting through my life

Not my best photo, but this is how I spent much of the afternoon—sorting through boxes of clippings of book reviews and magazines articles I wrote in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Hungry to be a writer, I wrote about everything and anything. My bent for western history was evident in the book reviews, mostly for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when Leonard “Sandy” Sanders was book editor—a glorious period of book reviews now long gone. My reviews are on crumbling yellow newsprint, but interestingly enough I attached my copy of the typewritten review to each—on a thin, onion-skin paper.

Then there were articles for a wide variety of publications—the Dallas Morning News had its own Sunday supplement called Scene, and I wrote often for them; many articles for the American Osteopathic Association magazines for lay readers called Health; a few for American Baby Magazine and some for a now defunct publication called Fort Worth Women. I was nothing if not eclectic.

These things will go to my archive at the Southwest Writers Collection, Texas State University-San Marcos. I wrote Steve Davis, curator, to say, “Are you sure you really want this stuff?” and he assured me they did. So when Jordan and I go to Austin in March, we’ll take them that far and arrange for pick-up. Maybe they’ll be an object lesson for some future writers. I am always surprise that the archive thinks I’m important enough to have my papers.

What surprises me about this collection is how wide-ranging my nonfiction was, how many publications I wrote for on what a variety of articles. It was my salad days and I guess I was anxious for any publication, but I think the training stood me in good stead and built the foundation for my later career.

I checked each magazine, discarding duplicates, being sure that I could find something I’d written. I gave Jordan one thick magazine and asked her to check for an article by me—she tired of it and went back to her phone. But she carried out the trash we discarded and loaded up two boxes for the archive. And she kept me company and served me wine. It was an eye-opening afternoon, revisiting things I’d almost forgotten.

And on a bright note, Jordan took this picture of my Valentine roses, which were delivered early for last night’s happy hour.

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