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Turning unpublished manuscripts into art

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’re bound to have a collection of unpublished manuscripts stuffed in drawers, packed in boxes, organized in binders, or shoved into closets. Most, you assume, will never see the gleam in a publisher’s eye. But what to do with all this pithy prose? I mean, you are thinking about posterity aren’t you?

Well, thanks to a brief note over at Maud Newton’s blog, I thought I had found a possible solution: The Brautigan Library. According to Kevin O’Kelly over at the Boston Globe, “The 325 works in the Brautigan Library are diverse, to say the least, ranging from the short-story collection ‘Sterling Silver Cockroaches’ to the economic treatise ‘Three Essays Advocating the Abolition of Money’ to the poetry collection ‘A Shoebox to Hold the Unknown.’ But they all have one thing in common: They’ve never been published. From 1990 to 1996, the Brautigan Library accepted manuscripts from all over the world, as long as the authors paid binding costs.”

Humph. Not once during my five two-week residencies at Vermont College in good old Burlington did any of my instructors mention the slightest possibility of a home for my brilliant prose. I bet I passed by the place plenty of times during our afternoon beelines to the local Ben and Jerry’s for the daily refueling.

You might know all those unpubbed manuscripts are now considered “installation art.” Before you get too excited, you might also note the Brautigan is following in the footsteps of Publisher’s Row and has declared an end to their open manuscirpt submission policy. I hear they won’t even talk to agents. Anyone up for creating the next Brautigan collection? I just might have a few . . . .


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  • http://sketchblogs.com J

    I am so over run with papers.. but at the same time, I am loathe to rid myself of even one.

  • http://sketchblogs.com J

    I am so over run with papers.. but at the same time, I am loathe to rid myself of even one.

  • http://clear-lake-reflections.com Mark

    It’s daunting to think of all the manuscripts lying around attics in the world.
    Here’s an interesting site on the kids/Texas theme: http://www.tobystexastales.com/
    That little dog looks like Emerson!

  • http://clear-lake-reflections.com Mark

    It’s daunting to think of all the manuscripts lying around attics in the world.
    Here’s an interesting site on the kids/Texas theme: http://www.tobystexastales.com/
    That little dog looks like Emerson!

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Mark and J,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a few words. I love the site you suggested, Mark. And you are right, that certainly looks like our pal Emerson.
    J, let’s NOT talk about papers. I completely sympathize, althought I’m not sure the local fire inspector would share our sentiments. BTW, I love your daily posts and sketchings. They’re getting better and better each and every day.

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Mark and J,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a few words. I love the site you suggested, Mark. And you are right, that certainly looks like our pal Emerson.
    J, let’s NOT talk about papers. I completely sympathize, althought I’m not sure the local fire inspector would share our sentiments. BTW, I love your daily posts and sketchings. They’re getting better and better each and every day.