BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

This may be the last of these for a while ...

CS-98-01-coverSo, over the weekend I got out another 250-poem volume, POEMS : 1998-2001, which covers (unsurprisingly) those four years. After 11 years in a row of writing 250 poems a year (and in most of those averaging 21 poems a month), "the wheels came of the cart" and I only wrote 109 in 1998, 12 in 1999, 15 in 2000, and 114 in 2001 (needlessly to say, my OCD was focusing on getting exactly 114 done in 2001 to make it 250 poems for those four years!).

This does, of course, make the 12th volume of 250 poems available now, meaning that I currently have THREE THOUSAND poems "virtually in print", as it were (ah, that liminal state that books exist in via the print-on-demand channel!). However, the last poem in the current volume is titled "FOUR THOUSAND WAYS", which notes that it was, indeed, the four thousandth poem by my accounting at that point (having been keeping track since 1976, so stuff I wrote in high school "didn't count" ... although ultimately, I'll probably want to find that stuff - when I was rhyming and playing with formal structures like sonnets, etc.).

Unfortunately, my on-disk files (of my 3.5" floppies that I transferred over to flash drives) only went back to 1986, so when I went to go work on the next volume (which would have been 1985-1986), I was stymied by not having the 1985 poems "on hand". Now, I'm reasonably sure that I can find the 5.25" floppies that have my earlier stuff on them ... they used to be "right over here" on a bookcase shelf above my desk, but said shelf (being 30-year-old fiberboard) had a collapse a year or so back, and all the contents of that shelf went into a box and "went elsewhere", said location being somewhat hazy at the moment. Fortunately, I do still have a couple of working computers that have 5.25" floppy drives, so when I find the disks, I can read them ... probably needing to copy them to 3.5" floppies which I have a external reader for that works with my netbook (yes, these systems are old enough that their OS doesn't know what a USB is, so there's no flash drive option, and it might be amusing to try to get on-line with them ... via a phone line to AOL).

IMG_0425rOf course, I'm really hoping that the disk-to-disk-to-HD option will play out, because if I can't find the disks, I'm faced with another "project". Now, "back in the day", I made annual collections of the poems, and I know I put these out for all those years (in various combinations of smaller-output years). However, these were hand-xeroxed/comb-bound editions of 12 copies of which I kept 2, send 2 in to the Library of Congress when they were still insisting of "deposit copies" to register the ISBNs, and distributed 8 copies (for xmas ... ho, ho, ho ... enjoy my decades of suicidal ideation - it's so festive!) to friends and family. I, unfortunately, have NO clear idea where those two file copies of each volume ended up, as most went through 2 moves. I had a vague idea, but when I searched through the closet in question, I found some poetry stuff, but it was a later "experiment" where I was making monthly chapbooks (on the lunatic idea the I could sell subscriptions to my angst), and not the yearly books. I suspect that these might be in another closet (see pic ===>) Which is behind a stack of boxes that are at the space between two bookshelves, which have two desks in front of them, my big "stack o'printers", and various file boxes. If I'm lucky the poetry stuff will be in a "file bin" (a rolling furniture thing for vertical files) that's under most of those boxes, and I'll just need to get into that, otherwise I'm going to have to move nearly EVERYTHING you see in that picture to get into the closet (which has, obviously, not been touched in well over a decade). And, there's no guarantee that they'll be in there, but I have a pretty solid memory that a leather shoulder bag that I used to keep my poems in IS in there, so it would be a "logical" place for those to have ended up.

Needless to say, this is the main reason I've been referring to having to go looking for the old poems as an "archaeological" project.

Of course, if I can't find the floppies, and do find the comb-bound editions, I'll be faced with a whole hell of a lot of scan/OCR work. If I can't find my file copies either, I'll be faced with the embarrassing task of having to go back to folks "from way back when" and asking if they, perhaps, did NOT throw out those poetry collections I'd sent them, and could I borrow them back if they still had them. I'm sincerely hoping to find the floppies without having to get into major digging!

I had initially put out the poems from 1976-1986 in seven volumes, but I think I'll be further combining years to make it five volumes, with poem counts from 140 to 260, and one (1984) being 250. I don't know how closely I'm going to hold to the "10¢/poem" pricing (hence the books with 250 poems having a $25 cover price, despite page counts that have varied from 286-360 pages and corresponding printing costs), as I'm thinking "round numbers" might be better.

There is also the matter of poems written after 2001 ... I have files for some of those (about 200 poems from 2002, 2003, and 2004), but if I have files for later poems, they're probably still on old system HDs ... which is a whole 'nuther project. I'm also thinking that a LOT of that stuff may still be on my "dead" 2tb external drive, which I had gotten all my old files organized on, so they weren't on my desktop HD (a precaution I was taking, having had a number of main system C: drives go bad on me over the years) ... I had not anticipated my STORAGE drive dying on me. I actually had been gifted some money to deal with that last year, and had gotten a NEW (3tb) external HD, and identified a place that would likely be able to recover the data for what I had budgeted for it ... but I've not been in an emotionally stable enough place to actually go deal with it (I don't want to be faced with a "nah, it's bricked, we can't get anything off of it" - unless they do something ridiculously expensive - response sending me spiraling off into further "suicidal ideations"). {sigh}

Anyway ... there are now a dozen volumes ... containing 3,000 of my poems ... available. It would be lovely if some day somebody would actually buy one (none have sold at all at this point). I'm planning on buying full sets (when I get all the above stuff done) for various school libraries (2 grade/highschools, 2 colleges) and a set for the Poetry Foundation's library (whose swank new place is in the neighborhood), and perhaps the Newberry Library (likewise just a couple of blocks away), to at least have print copies out there somewhere. Then I can take that long walk into the sunset knowing that there was something I did while breathing this planet's air.

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