Rough Drafts from a Writer's Life
And then there are the clippings. What will happen to them? Perhaps no one "clips" the papers anymore. For those who never experienced clippings, they were done with scissors or a skilled hand with a razor blade or an Exacto knife (my father's method). Then they are saved in creamy manila file folders (color file folders did not exist). The file folders go into file cabinets to be retrieved in the future (perhaps rarely, but a comforting plan). When I lived far away from family I often received legal length envelopes with these clippings and notes written on the edges or a date). Bits, whiffs of real news, cogent political commentary. I have saved numerous clippings---news, book reviews, a lengthy essay on Mario Savio at his death. They are in my office file folders, not used much, but perused with great affection. Some are tossed, but those that survive to continue to be saved are wonderful. Brownedged and brittle, they greet me from the past with an affirmation of what I or a left-wing parent or friend saved for me.
What a wonderful description, Teddy. My mother was an inveterate clipper of newspaper articles and I still have many of her clippings. I've considered throwing them away but never quite could stand to do it. The loss of these "creamy manila folders" reminds me of the loss of those thumbed cards in library card catalogs -- the evidence that real hands had touched real books -- a physical reflection of a shared cultural and literary experience. Do you think the new generation will feel the same about their FaceBook accounts? It'll be interesting to see (if we oldsters live long enough) what the tech generations are nostalgic about.
Great post, Macy, and great comment, Teddy. My mother will loan me a book and always somewhere inside it there will be one of two somethings she clipped from one newspaper or another. Sometimes I understand why she clipped a certain story or cartoon, sometimes it's a mystery.I once got, from the archive room of our library, a copy of a "program" from a long-ago funeral (what are those called?) that was found during the renovation of an old chapel here. Someone had pasted news clips and obits into it (this was more than a century ago). I tried to find a common link in them but failed; it, too, remains another fascinating mystery. (Although I could just ask my mother about her clips.)
I think the whole thread about "clippings" here could make an interesting essay in itself -- Teddy? Gillian? Go for it! It fascinates me that "cut and paste" is only a metaphor now; over the weekend I bought two new pairs of scissors, and Ted commented how nice it was to have a pair that are sharp...but scissors (or the wonderful exacto-knife Teddy mentions) aren't really part of the literary life any more, as they once were. Our physical lives are changing.
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