Thursday, December 29, 2016

Scanning crusades 2014-2016, and beyond

Two years ago, as we began to clear out my grandmother's house, which was my home for the first 24 years of my life,  in order to sell it, I was heartbroken. So much memorabilia. Memory loosened by random bits of paper. And things. I expected to write lots, because, well, unearthing the past... Instead, I was numb. Profoundly depressed. Useless.

So I collected small trinkets from my childhood, and began to create archives. Then, in order to save them, I began a scanning project. It started out small. The first year I scanned old family photos, then I created a large family photo archive on Dropbox. It's now a monster folder pushing seven gigabytes. But the entire extended family now has access to those photos. (Except for the stolen ones.)

I scanned a fair amount of odd flotsam and memorabilia from that era as well (still lots more to do). Some of the detritus of the past found its way to my blog by way of illustration. My story on Christian Burkhardt: Almost Amish, for example. 

Some of it gave credence to old memories that I've transcribed in this blog. Biggest mindblower was finding a photo of my mother and Lloyd Bridges for The Student Prince at Sacramento's Music Circus. I wrote a blog piece about Lloyd in Guys and Dolls.

This year, I focused primarily on scanning my own extensive travel photos, I am nearly done scanning them (I just finished scanning the USSR—monstrous pile o pix), and will add some photos to this blog when I process them.

I began scanning chronologically with photos from the 1970s. Of course, as I scanned photos, I began to remember all the missing ones. Sometimes I'd get lucky. Somebody would unearth a photo from a lost era. See, I was the family chronicler. All events and parties, I was behind the camera recording, recording. Now scanning.

Still to do are all my black and white negatives from the 1980s and 1990s, but I need a good film scanner for that project. Since they are mostly of poets, I've been in conversation with Carolyn Forché who was my mentor at the Napa Valley Poetry conferences in the early 1980s, to bring them into the digital age. Her husband, Harry Matthison, too is culling and scanning his extensive archive of photos from when he was a war photographer-correspondent with Magnum. At least he'll get four coffee table books for his efforst. I still don't have a forever home for most of my work.

Carolyn asked how we can fund these photo archives. I thought the National Endowment for the Humanities might be a place to start. I need to create a GoFundMe account to raise enough money to get the scanner I need. And look into a grant to fund my time. On the 2017 To Do List.

This year, I've also been also scanning my paper/poetry archives, and fluffing up this blog with old poems and memorabilia. (I'm up to 2002 published posts! Nearly 1k posts added this year.)

As I rounded out the blog posts for the early years (1980s-1990s), it became a numbers game. Did I have enough strong work from the old days to bump up my meager collection of posts from the 1980s—before computers! It's strange to relive the past via poetry, but now it's a timeline of sorts. Prepping for the Alzheimer daze...

My goal is to post 52 blog pieces of writing a year. One for each week of the year. Every year. Seems reasonable. Most years I did not meet my minimum goal, so I lowered my standards to 25+ pieces a year. There was some fudging of numbers as I expanded my idea of what I wanted to include in this blog. Posters of readings, and poetry awards were added, for example. Some random doodles from my poetry journals. Letters. There will be letters.

A few of the old yearly collections do meet my arbitrary criteria of 52 posts per year. (PPY). Nearly all of them meet the 25+ PPY criteria (finally), and then some— but I still harbor hope to fluff up those anemic years.

Then, there are the years where I wonder what the fuck happened. I have not scanned all my old poetry journals, so the ranks still might swell. These years listed below are seriously in arrears. I have hope, but I'm also running out of material to scan. Letters and memorabilia from poets will swell the ranks somewhat. Letters. There will be letters. I already said that.

Other stats: I seem to have 60-80 new poems for 2016; some are prose poems, some are haiku. Standard poems have CAPITALS for titles. I try & tag all my poems. I'm not always successful. I have at least 1000 poems posted on this blog, some are in manuscript collections, Building an Arc in the Dark of the Year, is really 52 linked prose poems. DREAM VESSELS —from collages by Marsha Connell, is another large collection, as is Elemental Portraits. (I need to create a page here for them! Here's the Unconservatory link.)

animal poem (29)
CPITS (196)
ekphrastic poetry (52)
found poem (14)
haiku (39)
poem (928)
Poem a Day (29)
poems (50)
poetry (3)
prose poem (73)
writing prompts (7)

 THERE'S MORE WORK TO BE DONE (self-flagellation in process...)
►  1978 (18)  (I have plenty of nascent work, but do I even want to post it?)
►  1986 (23) Not sure what happened, I wrote a few strong poems. Journals to the rescue?
►  1996 (25) A traveling year, more work from my journals will resurface.
►  1998 (12) Why so little work? Post car accident, my brain was offline, PTSD.
►  1999 (18) Why so little work? I began grad school—'splains a lot. 
►  2005 (10) Why so little work? Not sure. My cousin was nearly killed.
►  2006 (12) Why so little work? Some slovenly writing still to transcribe.

Most of my old writing did not make it to the digital era. In most cases, I opted to directly scan and upload my old writing as jpgs—as to enter them into the digital age was more work than I could possibly accomplish. I also added jpgs of first drafts and revisions (when I found them). Everything in one place. If I ever revisit that old work, I will have all the permutations to draw from. Reality? I probably won't revisit them, but something may come of it. Lost threads. But I did find a few nuggets here and there.

Some old prose pieces I dictated to my iPad and then cleaned them up for publication. My Napa State Hospital poetry journals proved to be a goldmine, and apparently that was also the genesis for many later poems I still consider to be solid. A nice surprise gleaned from this process.

Then there were the stellar years where I gleaned far more work than I ever expected to find.
►  1981 (64) The newly arrived to poetry years. Port Townsend, WA, BC.
►  1988 (59) The John Oliver Simon years, Latin America.
►  1989 (65) The heartbreak & recovery years, USSR.
►  1994 (54) The Sunny Lowe years, I was a stand-in mom.
►  2001 (57)  9/11; most of this was grad school fluff, papers, etc.
►  2002 (51) Ditto. Who writes decent poetry in grad school?
►  2007 (67) When I began this blog—but it lay fallow two years.
►  2009 (116) This is when I first began blogging in earnest, it's still an arbitrary filing system at work. I crammed everything from the past in the 2009 year, by subject, not by date. At one point, my filing system got so out of hand, that I had deconstruct my blog and refile much of it by year, which exponentially expanded my blog all the way back to the 1970s. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I could pre-date posts all the way back to 1970. I think that's the time limit. I may post old artwork at one point.

 My wall of shame as of October, 2015. Some progress has been made. Corrupted files, for the most part, have been corrected, via hard copy in 2016.
►  1982 ‪(14‬) was 10 
►  1986 ‪(19)‬
►  1991 ‪(22)‬    
►  1996 ‪(24)‬ was 10
►  1997 ‪(23)‬
►  1998 ‪(10)‬ was 6
►  1999 ‪(18)‬ was 4
►  2005 ‪(10)‬ was 8
►  2006 ‪(12)‬

This is where I began the task, uploading my flawed digital files (read: corrupted ASCII. I think it was in July, 2015. The task seemed insurmountable. I didn't have hard copy for many of the corrupted files. (I was later able to salvage them when I found, scanned, and uploaded my old hard copy poems in 2016.)

►  1979 ‪(5)‬
►  1982 ‪(10)‬
►  1984 ‪(15)‬
►  1988 ‪(9)‬       
►  1995 ‪(6)‬   
►  1996 ‪(10)‬
►  1998 ‪(6)‬
►  1999 ‪(4)‬       
►  2000 ‪(3)‬
►  2005 ‪(8)‬
►  2006 ‪(12)‬

The dearth of work from 1995-2000 was partially due to hard drive failure.

SOME ARCHIVE LINKS (for me, all in one place, as I can never find them when I want them...)

Posting old Photos & Facebook Memories April 2016. I filled in some blanks in my blog, with old Facebook Memory posts. I added a list of poems added during 2015-2016 that need to be checked. I fell off the documentary wagon in November, when I began to add all the scanned jpg poems from the 1980s. Too overwhelming. So there's no record of later work added. On the other hand, most of the work I added was jpgs of poems.

from 2015
Updating Old Poems  (7/16/2015)
Trolling Old Journals  (10/12/2015)
Paper Trail  (10/1242015)
Old work, new vision (11/19/2015): I made serious inroads publishing old work as I began with 20 weak years' worth of not enough posted work. Thus began the hunt for errant poems, and poems MIA. Through a series of mishaps, I've been able to pinpoint when many poems were written, and in some cases, post several iterations below the finished poem. When I finally process all my old papers and files in Forestville, it will yield many more poems, I'm sure. (And it did.)
Salvaging old files (again)  (11/21/2015)

from 2014: laid up by knee surgery, I began restructuring my blog.
Old Posts, New Posts (2/14/2014) I got the bright idea to store the ABC titled poems in January 2008, DEF poems in February 2008, and so on. It seemed like a good idea at the time. What could possibly go wrong? Filing my old news stories from the 1990s  amid poems and prose written in 2007-2009 was particularly frustrating. I couldn't find anything, and I was soon double-posting poems. Restructuring was in order. Plenty of space in 2007 & 2008 folders.

As I was moving posts to new homes, I accidentally typed 2005 instead of 2008 on one poem as I hit the publish button. The poem took off for the hinterland. I thought, uh-oh. I guess that post will disappear into cyber space. Lucky I have back ups. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could backpost work from previous to 2007, this is before this blog, and blogging itself, was invented. I proceeded with caution, thinking there's no way I could possibly publish 2001 work under 2001. It worked!

End of Year Writing Stats

from 2013
About Those First Drafts
Culling Old Files
Milestone Blogger stats

When This Blog Really Began—Aug 2008  I couldn't bring myself to sully the blank perfection of the cyberpages of my blog, founded in 2007—until August 20, 2008. My grandmother's birthday. Because I posted writing by subject, instead of chronologically by date, much of what I wrote in 2008, and in 2009 has no real creation date. I'm still sorting it out. Who is my audience? remains a large question. I guess I am my own best audience. 

My blog goal, in 2007, was to really to learn to write prose, and a blog seemed like a good idea. Adding my poems to the blog came later. Once I started, I couldn't stop. So much for the idea of keeping separate art forms. It was soon out of control. Still, this electronic filing system is far better than the piles of old horizontal paper files that threaten to overtake me in an avalanche of paper.

About this collection of poems, memoir and whatnot   As I opened old digital files, I noticed that some pieces (if I could open them), were missing chunks of text—most notably the end lines. So began the race was on to get all my digital stuff online. Most of this early stuff was posted mid-to late 2015. (For some reason, late July verging on August seems to be my let's fix this blog routine).  If I had any other substantiating info, especially the handwritten version, I posted that as well. Very archival.

Enough said. I'm ready for 2016 to die.

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