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What Do You Keep?

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  • What Do You Keep?

    Mike, as such a prolific writer/editor, how do you keep track of what you've written over the years and how much original material do you have? You've said elsewhere that you used to give stuff away all the time, including manuscripts, plus there are collections like the one at Texas A & M (that makes fascinating reading in itself), so do you have a copy of everything you've written? I wondered because you said in the restored Stormbringer that you had to borrow the original Science Fantasy magazines off Dave Britton to restore the book, so you couldn't have had the originals for that?

    Similarly, a story like The Frozen Cardinal, dating originally from the 60s(?) didn't see publication until the 1980s. And The Golden Barge, which was originally written in the late 50s wasn't published until twenty years later. So did you have the originals available or did you have to obtain them from somewhere?

    Robert Silverberg has said he was very meticulous about all the stuff he wrote, keeping a record of story length, where he sold it to and so on. Do (or did) you do any of that?
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

  • #2
    I'm probably the opposite of Bob. In my very early days I tended to keep a record of material written and paid for, but I was a working journalist and it was probably necessary, but I stopped doing that by
    the early 60s. Almost all my papers are either in the Bodliean Library, Oxford or Texas A&M. I keep my journals, which go back to the 70s,
    and I keep some manuscripts, usually until the book comes out. I
    don't even have my own file copies in order, though I'd guess I have
    most editions of published work. I don't have any record, however. I
    keep them all in a cupboard. They won't all fit in the cupboard now, but they are stacked immediately outside the cupboard. I really need to get
    them in some sort of order, but since we're planning to move in the next year, I can't see much point in doing it until I've resettled.
    Spare copies are stored in a special air-conditioned room. Much of that will probably go into storeage or be sold to a dealer when we leave
    the Texas house.

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