I mean, like, literally. Each of these boxes are about fifty pounds, I’d guess:
Also the other kind of heavy, though—the Back to the Future kind of heavy, except this is about the past: those are all my papers. Every manuscript, all my undergraduate and graduate files, a bit of teaching stuff, my PhD comps, every convention and festival and conference program I’ve saved, every floppy and Zip disk I made at some point, all the posters I’ve got, twenty-seven years of journals (which is a whole box on its own), and a whole lot more besides (but mostly manuscripts).
They’re all headed to Texas Tech’s Southwest Collection. Why TTU? Easy reason is that that’s where I stumbled into when I was eighteen. That’s where I met my wife. That’s where I did so much growing up. But also because I came back to Tech after my doctorate, after I’d hurt my back and needed a desk job. The person who hired me to catalog books at the library my books will now be at, Diane Warner, is now the librarian buying my papers. So: they’re in good hands. I completely trust her with all of them. FedEx? Not so much. It’s truly terrifying to put all this stuff in the mail, and just watch it leave forever, after years of keeping it all so close.
But, I mean, I’m forty-six, right? I got time to build up that many boxes all over again, I figure. And I can still go visit these, I expect.
Why also? Because Tech’s library is books on the outside, too. Was always so cool, driving in to work when work was a line of books:
However? That’s not the Southwest Collection. The Southwest Collection, which I remember from undergrad as not being a building at all , is:
Though I’d guess my papers will be more in here, underground, climate-controlled, available by request:
Maybe someday I’ll write a book about my time on this campus. I mean, Zombie Bake-Off is set there, I guess. But maybe I’ll do something there again. Having my papers there, anyway, with the person who’s responsible for hiring me into academia, it’s . . . I want to say full circle, but it’s more like a series of hoops. Ones I never want to stop running around.