Ken Answers Four Questions on the Writing Process Blog Tour

So, here I am writing about myself. That’s a switch, my sarcastic friends remark.

But this time I have an excuse. I was asked to join a social networking exercise and write about myself as a writer by my good friend and book buddy Sue Katz, who was asked to write about herself as a writer by her good friend Elizabeth Woodcraft, who was asked by someone else, and on and on backwards to, I think, Eve and the snake, who were asked by Adam. My notes don’t indicate who asked Adam so maybe he started this thread. I know he started the tradition of writing in the nude, a tradition I must break today or else management at the Panera where I am currently writing will stop giving me free coffee, citing insurance risks.

But I won’t break this chain of writers writing about writing, which is now known as the Writing Process Blog Tour, and it will continue after me because, as per instructions, I have invited two friends, who I will introduce after I answer the four questions that all participants in this tour are expected (and delighted) to answer.

My Fellow Participants

But first I would like to introduce Sue and the other writer who Sue brought into this exercise, Leslie Brunetta, both of whom are my fellow National Writers Union members.

Sue Katz is one of my favorite people in the world; I’m honored that she has called me Cuz ever since I told her that there were Katzes in my family tree on my mother’s father’s mother’s side. Research on her first book, Thanks But No Thanks: The Voter’s Guide to Sarah Palin, was begun within hours after John McCain made his dramatic concession to the craziest elements of his increasingly delusional party and chose a polar bear named Sarah to sit in the on-deck circle in case he died in office. A horrified America took notice and voted for the other guy. Had they done otherwise and voted her to the on-deck circle, Sue would be a household name today because her book would have become a bestseller. Her recently released Lillian’s Last Affair gives hope to baby boomers as they reach their final one-digit decades that sex doesn’t have to stop in old age, and neither do the eccentricities.

Leslie Brunetta is co-author with Catherine L. Craig of Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating (Yale University Press), published in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. Leslie’s articles and essays have appeared in Technology Review, the Sewanee Review, various newspapers and alumni magazines, and on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She has recently written about her experience with breast cancer and about the role the theory of evolution has played in the treatment of cancer.

The Four Questions

(I know. It sounds so Jewish. Who knew there were Jewish writers?):

What am I working on?

I’m presently in the process of turning some of my early print books, Early Wachsberger, into ebooks and second edition print books. The first one, which is already online, is Your Partner Has Breast Cancer: 21 Ways to Keep Sane as a Support Person on Your Journey from Victim to Survivor, a survival guide that, karmically, was inspired by my wife’s breast cancer adventure, which we became aware of exactly, to the day, fourteen years ago today. (I’m writing this on May 9, 2014.)

My upcoming ebook is an amazing true World War II story about Bernard Mednicki, a Belgian Jew who fled Belgium with his family when the Nazis invaded, moved to southern France, posed as a Christian, and, through a series of events, found himself in the Maquis, the French Resistance. The original title was Never Be Afraid: A Jew in the Maquis. However, after the book, which is now out of print, came out I was horrified to learn that too many folks had no idea what the Maquis was so the subtitle didn’t grab them the way it grabbed me. So, this new edition, which will appear in e- and in print, is subtitled A Belgian Jew in the French Resistance—not as sexy but hopefully understandable and will give me a leg up on attracting Belgium’s English-reading audience. Expect it out by summer or earlier.

My next Early Wachsberger to go e- will be Beercans on the Side of the Road: The Story of Henry the Hitchhiker. Beercans (yes, I know, technically “beer cans” is two words but the spelling came to me in a vision so karma demanded that I go with it) was my first book and my only novel to date. It’s been called a cult classic, the story of Henry Freedman’s quest to learn what it means to be a writer while he experiences life on the road (including in jail in Houston for getting caught with two joints while hitchhiking). It’s not strict autobiography but it comes out of my journal that I kept in the seventies while I was hitching to all corners of the country and establishing my reputation as one of the premier experts on intranational hitchhiking in the seventies. It’s a funny story but if you get confused somewhere while reading it, Henry’s probably having a flashback or lost in a headtrip. By the way, it’s still in print so you don’t have to wait for the e- version to get your copy.

Meanwhile, a pun came to me one night as I was fading into sleep: “You’ll never get rich being a member of the loyal opposition, but you’ll earn a dissent living.” I thought it was hilarious so I posted it on Facebook the next day to see if I would get a reaction. Lots of funny responses told me I was on to something. So I posted a variation: “You’ll never get rich living on a mountaintop and working in the valley, but you’ll earn a descent living.” I got more favorable responses. (In the pun world, a groan counts as a favorable response.) For about two weeks, I posted puns about job searching and continued to attract funny responses. Somewhere along the way, I realized I had to stop so I didn’t get typecast, but I continued accumulating puns on my own—I couldn’t help it; they came to me—and realized I had begun a new book, Puns for the Job Searcher. I now have 128 of them, most recently, “I was looking for a good Jewish caterer to work for so I went online and did a Kugel search”; and then “I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be an anesthesiologist or a miner. It was an ether/ore decision.” I’m presently looking for an artist to illustrate the book. If there is a God, this one will go viral and I’ll be able to pay off the Visa.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I type left-handed.

What’s the genre for puns?

Bernard Mednicki, the subject of my biography, Never Be Afraid, was a story teller in the tradition of the great Yiddish writers Bernard Malamud, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Chaim Potok. But, unlike them, he told his stories. It was my great honor to help him get his stories onto paper before he died. The book was based on two rounds of six interview sessions apiece, the first following my question, “Where does your story begin?,” and the second as a series of Q-A’s so he could answer my questions that had come up during the first round. I had no expectations other than that he would be honest and answer my questions in detail.

Toward the end of the eleventh session I asked him a question that, unexpectedly, dug him deeper into his past than he had ever gone since the war ended. What followed was Bernard’s effort, on one hand, to answer my question, and, on the other, to avoid answering it because it was causing him to feel excruciatingly painful memories that up until that moment he had successfully concealed. As I watched him laboring with his thoughts and feelings, I envisioned a cyclone, where he was drawn toward the center, then pulled away, then was drawn in, then pulled away. But each time he was drawn in, it was deeper into the funnel, and each time he pulled back it wasn’t as far, until he was helpless to tell the complete truth with no holding back.

In Chapter 19, “Like Blood out of the Aorta of a Pig,” I’ve tried to retain the feel of his struggling to open his memory and unleash those painful secrets that had haunted him since that time, so that the reader can actually experience his pain along with him, as I did that day. That one chapter’s outline is less chronological than the traditional biographical chapter and more like one might feel getting pulled into the funnel of a cyclone.

Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s there. I’m ADHD and I write about what I’m thinking so I’m generally all over the place with my thoughts and I’m able to turn the ones that hold my attention into books and articles. I also write to make sense of the world around me.

How does my writing process work?

Great. I see a question about the writing process and my mind goes blank. I panic. But that’s okay because panic is step one. From there you either harness the panic or panic because you’re panicking (which produces a second-degree panic). The first option is more artistically productive and you do that by freewriting. All good writing begins with freewriting. Even my junk thoughts on a good day make their way onto paper or the screen while freewriting, if only to get them out of my mind so I can delete them and be left with the thoughts that I will massage and expand into complete thoughts.

At some point in the process, I begin to cut and paste to group similar stray thoughts. Next I put the groups of stray thoughts in order, and then I put the stray thoughts within each group in order. I’m creating order out of chaos from the inside out, and all the while I expand my thoughts, delete the junk thoughts, and tighten up the writing. I keep my energy up by drinking lots of coffee or iced tea; listening to rock and roll oldies; taking slow, deep breaths; and stretching. To satisfy my anal retentive, ADHD tendencies, I read my favorite blogs, wash the dishes (if I’m set up in the kitchen, my home office), play computer word games, and do my email. On a good day, I can put in a solid ten hours of work. It just takes me fourteen hours.

And now, it is my pleasure to introduce to you …

And that’s all that I’ve got to say about me for the moment. Time to pass the baton to my two good writer friends, Catherine Holm and Karen Ford.

Catherine Holm loves to explore the themes of place and transformation. She is also fascinated with the idea that magic is possible even in the most mundane settings. Her short story collections (My Heart is a Mountain and Voice Lessons) explore these themes. Catherine also writes about the power of the human/animal-companion bond in the memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, and her first cat fantasy fiction novel (The Great Purr) will publish in June 2014. Catherine blogs regularly at and on her own website blog.

Karen Ford is the author of the soon-to-be-released Thoughts of a Fried Chicken Watermelon Woman (Total Recall Press 2014) and the blog, Caviar & Grits. As a freelance journalist, Karen’s articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Lutheran Woman Today, Screen Magazine, and various newspapers and periodicals. Karen serves as the 3rd Vice President of the National Writers Union UAW 1981, the only trade union for freelance writers in the United States.


Spirit Airlines: Where Comfort Is Your Problem

Spirit Airlines says it’s a no-frills airline. The idea is good. They keep ticket prices down. Unfortunately, one of the frills they have no of is comfort. Another is convenience. For both, you pay, either in money or in discomfort. On our round trip from Ann Arbor to Las Vegas this weekend, we paid in discomfort. We weren’t alone. It’s all part of the Spirit experience, “Where Comfort Is Your Problem.”

Are you old enough to remember the old United Airlines slogan: “Fly the Friendly Skies”? With Spirit, it’s “We Dare You.”

You begin at the computer check-in station. Yes, it’s good to know that Spirit has entered the new millennium and allows you to get your tickets with the press of a button. But don’t get carried away pressing buttons. If you press the button that reserves your seat you are charged $18! Eighteen dollars!

I can’t figure that one out. Airlines nowadays can show you an online image depicting the inside of your airplane with a seating layout and a record of which seats are already reserved so you can determine which are still available and make the hard decisions yourself: not next to the wing; away from the exit door; in the aisle, middle, or window seat; as near or as far from the restroom as your bladder prefers—all important decisions, but a task that is performed solely by you, with no labor on the part of any employee unless you have never used a computer to check in and have to ask someone which button to push.

Clearly denying us the opportunity to reserve our own seats does nothing to keep the ticket prices down, while exercising the opportunity does serve to increase ticket prices and, thereby, company profits. So at Spirit what does the $18 cover? Why fly the extra mile in the wrong direction by insulting your guests? Is it just so you can afford to hire the PR person who is needed to cover the resulting bad press that this moronic policy generates?

We proceed to Gate 25 to wait. We expect to begin boarding a half hour before our scheduled 10:57 a.m. takeoff time. That time passes unremarkably though the sign at the counter still says that the flight is “on time.” Seventeen minutes later, still no announcement. The notice at the counter says the doors close ten minutes before takeoff time, which is now three minutes away. I remain optimistic. We can board in three minutes, I tell myself. Three minutes later, the time when the doors are scheduled to be closing, the person at the counter announces what has been obvious to everyone for at least twenty minutes, that boarding is delayed.

Finally we line up at Gate 25, where over the door it reads “to Detroit.” By the time we get to the front of the line, however, the sign is reading “to Oakland.” The couple behind us are getting nervous. I calm their nerves. Ever the optimist and always the caretaker, I tell them that the sign refers to Oakland County, one of the three counties that make up the Metro Detroit area.

On the plane, we squeeze into our seats. I read the promotional blurb: “At Spirit, we give you options and the freedom to choose. From your seat, to your snack, to your bags—you pay only for what you use, saving you money.”

It’s a great country and our freedom to choose is one of the reasons. Yes, no wonder this airline is called Spirit. I notice the storage bins overhead. You can bring small bags on board to store under your seat (still free, though I fear if anyone in Spirit management reads this blog entry that all may change) and larger bags on board to store in the bins overhead—if you want to pay $30 per bag. But here’s where freedom of choice comes in. You can also check your bags at the check-in counter at a cost of $21 per bag if you join Spirit’s $9 Club. But, instead of saying you pay $21 for this service that every airline once provided for free, they say you save $9. Using our freedom of choice, Emily and I saved $9 with our decision to sign up for Spirit’s $9 Club and check our shared bag at the counter.

The promotional blurb continues: “We’ve added a few more seats on board to save you even more, keeping fares low.” Let’s look at how that translates.

Not being too mechanically inclined, I struggle for fifteen minutes to figure out where the button is that will enable my seat back to recline and thus give me the only hint of comfort I dare to expect on this flight, until the attendant instructs us to keep our seat backs up for takeoff and I overhear a woman across the aisle lament, “He’s talking to the two people in the front row.” Apparently theirs are the only seat backs that recline.

But I understand why. The seats are so close to each other front to back, if the seat back in front of me reclines, the passenger’s head will be on my lap. Unfortunately, the backs are already naturally just reclined enough that I can’t see the screen on my laptop while I’m typing because I can’t open my laptop all the way; and I can’t slide the tray forward away from the seat back, as I can on other planes, because it doesn’t move—but I know why: If I slide it toward me, it will cut into my stomach.

That’s the front-to-back scenario. Meanwhile, the seats in each row are so close and there is so little leg room, if you still eat veal after departing from a Spirit flight your moral compass has no ability to extrapolate.

But just as you’re about to get angry, you read the next line in the blurb: “That also means we burn less fuel per person, and keep the Earth a little greener.” Oh, no, as if you aren’t uncomfortable enough, now you have to feel guilty. They’re geniuses.

One more little point I’d like to raise. It’s never been my way to sleep on intranational flights. When I was a child, my folks took my brothers and me on lots of road trips but they prepared us for the long schleps so we wouldn’t become kvetchy. (Okay, I just snuck two Yiddish words into one sentence; see if you can figure out what they mean from the context.) They never said, “Okay, boys, go to sleep for the next four hours.” Instead, they bought us car games, which were the same as non-car games, like chess and checkers, except that the bases of the pieces, instead of being smooth so they could slide across the smooth board, had pegs that could stick in any of the 64 holes so that if Dad hit a pothole or made a sudden stop the game would be saved. They taught us games of observation, like the ever-popular alphabet game, which to this day I am compelled to play at least once on any trip longer than thirty miles.

For this trip to Las Vegas, I brought my adult entertainment (no, there was no X in it), which included my laptop (see four paragraphs up), a book, and a few magazines. I was certain I didn’t sleep a wink on my way out to Las Vegas. Oh, but I must have, I thought. I missed the part of the flight when, on every flight I have ever taken in my entire life, the attendants bring around the cart that offers us complimentary coffee, water, and soft drinks. I didn’t see it; therefore, I must have slept. The logic was impeccable. There could have been no alternative explanation—until the same scenario played out on the trip back home and I realized, they don’t even provide complimentary water on this four-hour trip!

On the positive side, the crew members were friendly. Their announcements sounded spontaneous and included doses of friendly humor. If they had actually been required to provide service, I’m sure they would have been competent. And the flight was smooth. If arriving safely at your destination without ever making personal contact with an attendant is your only concern, you have nothing to worry about that I could see. Spirit will get you there. (Spirit folks, that slogan’s on me: Spirit Airlines: We’ll Get You There.) Just be prepared to do a full stretch routine after you limp off the plane. The blurb concludes: “By choosing Spirit, you’ve got more money to spend on the good times when you get there!” The first fun way to spend your money will be on a full-body massage.

Prediction: Look for Spirit Airlines to become the first airline to charge passengers to use the restrooms and, to great fanfare, inform us that they are saving us money: “You only pay for services that you need.”

Emergency in Las Vegas Airport

Sitting at the Las Vegas airport on the way back from Carrie’s doctoral recital at UNLV, an alarm goes off. I think I’m in a Star Wars flick. A woman announces over the loudspeaker: “May I have your attention please? May I have your attention please? There’s been an emergency warning. We are investigating the cause. Please remain calm.”

She announces it again. And again. Pause. I think she’s done. A minute later she starts again. If this had been anywhere but Las Vegas, I’m certain that panic would have followed her call to remain calm.

Another round of announcements begins but this time there is a variation: “May I have your attention please? May I have your attention please? There has been a fire emergency reported in the building. Please leave the building by the nearest exit. Do not use the elevator.”

She repeats the warning. She repeats it again. No one reacts. A quarter of the people are asleep. A third are hung over. Half of the remaining passengers don’t understand English. Of those who do understand English, half can’t decipher what the announcement is saying.

The other twelve people get up and leave. We’re among the dutiful dozen. Everyone else stays seated or in line at the refreshment windows or doing whatever else they are doing. Life goes on.

After five minutes they allow us back in. The announcement is still on a continuous loop: “May I have your attention please? May I have your attention please?” I’m not sure if I’m in Las Vegas or River City, Iowa.

Then a man’s voice drowns out the woman’s voice. I listen carefully. Unfortunately the background hum makes it sound either like he is being tasered or he’s sitting on a back porch in the middle of summer underneath an electric bug zapper. I have no idea what he is saying and neither does anyone else. But the announcements stop so I assume that either the danger has passed or airport security has realized the crowd isn’t going to move no matter how serious the emergency.

I find myself a seat by the emergency exit and wait for the next announcement.

Digitizing Underground, Alternative, and Literary Publications from a Legendary Era

The murders forty-four years ago this month of four white students at Kent State University by Ohio National Guardsmen and two black students at Jackson State University by Mississippi state police led directly to my dropping out of college at Michigan State University and joining the Vietnam-era antiwar Movement. Before my first rent payment was due, I had attended my first meeting of East Lansing’s underground newspaper, Generation, beginning a lifetime connection to the underground press, as an activist and writer, a political organizer, and later an historian and editor.

The project that I’ve described in three of my recent posts to digitize underground, alternative, and literary publications from the fifties through the eighties is a continuation of my passion for that experience and now for my effort to preserve the most important political and artistic creations of the era and make them accessible to current and future generations of activists, artists, and scholars.

In my last post about the digital collection, I described the “cost recovery = open access” economic model that is enabling Reveal Digital, the company where I am currently working, to offer the collection to libraries at a cost of approximately 20% of what other digitizing companies would charge. In an earlier post, I listed the feminist and lesbian papers that are already on board to be digitized.

In this post, I will name some of the other newspapers and magazines from the fifties through the eighties that are on board.

I’ll begin with the gay papers:

Ain’t It Da Truth, Chicago Gay Pride 1971, Come Out!, The Effeminist, Fag Rag, Faggots on Faggotry, Gay Flames, Gay Liberator, Gay Post, Lavender U, The Paper (Chicago, IL), Philadelphia Gay News, and Philadelphia Weekly Gayzette

And the minority papers:

Akwesasne Notes, Burning Spear, Chahta Anumpa/The Choctaw Times, Con Safos, El Machete, Freedom, Freedomways, Gidra, The Indian Progress, The Liberator, Maine Indian Newsletter, Makah Times, Muhammad Speaks, Palante, The Sentinel, Talking Leaf, and Voz Fronteriza

I’m in discussion with folks from other gay and minority papers, or waiting for them to send in their permission forms, but we are still weak in these areas because we got started on them later than the women’s papers. Lots more are on my list of papers to get but I don’t always know who to ask.

Do you know of gay and minority papers not included here that should be? More important, do you know veterans of those papers—or were you one yourself—who I can contact for permission?

Let’s talk. As you’ll see below, I have access to original issues of titles from serials collections of a growing list of libraries all over the country. Your paper’s omission from the collection is only because you haven’t yet given me the okay.

Meanwhile, other papers, representing the campus, high school, community, rank-and-file worker, prisoners’ rights, socialist, psychedelic, Southern consciousness, new age, and other underground and alternative voices of the era include the following:

The Activist (Oberlin, OH), Alternative Media Magazine, Ann Arbor Argus, AUGUR (Eugene), Austin Rag, Barb on Strike, Berkeley Barb, Berkeley Tribe, Big Us/Burning River News, Black & Red, Bogue Street Bridge, Both Sides Now, Buddhist 3rd Class Junkmail Oracle, Burning River Oracle, Carbuncle Review, CAW!, Chicago Kaleidoscope, Chicago Seed, Columbus Free Press, Connections, Counter-Spy, CovertAction/CovertAction Information Bulletin/CovertAction Quarterly, Cuyahoga Current, Dallas News, Dallas Notes From the Underground, Fifth Estate, Flamingo Park Gazette, The Flea, Free For All, Generation, The Ghost, Goob Yeak Gergibal, Good Morning Teaspoon, Great Speckled Bird, Great Swamp Erie da da Boom, The Guardian, Guerrilla: The Free Newspaper of the Streets, Helix, High and Mighty, Hundred Flowers, Iconoclast, The Indicator, Joint Issue, Kansas Free Press, King Street Trolley, Kudzu, Lansing Beat, Lansing Star, Leviathan, Life in the Great Society with Lyndon, Los Angeles Free Press, Madison Kaleidoscope, Midnight Special, Milwaukee Kaleidoscope, The Movement (San Francisco), National Guardian, Natty Dread, Nebraska Biweekly Dispatch, New Age, New Indicator, New Leaf, New Mole, New York Ace, New York Herald Tribune, No Limits, NOLA Express, North Star, Northwest Passage, Notes From The Underground, Notes From the Underground—The S.M.U. Off Campus Free Press, Ocean Beach People’s Rag, October 4th Organization, Old Mole, Orpheus,, Osawatomie, Other Scenes, Overthrow, Pack Rat, The Paper (East Lansing, MI), Paper Tiger, Peace & Freedom News, Penal Digest International/Prisoners’ Digest International, The People Yes, People’s Voice, Peoples Dreadnaught, Plain Talker, Pterodactyl, Public Eye, Purple Berries, Quicksilver Times, The Realist, Red Apple News, Red Tide, Richmond Mercury, The Rights of Man, Rising Up Angry, The Root, San Diego Door, San Diego Free Press, San Diego Street Journal, Sour Grapes, Space City!, The Spectator, The Spirit of Logos, Student Action Committee Newsletter (Philadelphia), Sun (Warren-Forest, Detroit, and Ann Arbor), Swamp Erie Pipe Dream, Swill & Squeal, These Crazy Times, The Unicorn, University Review, The View From Here, The Walrus, What’s Happening, White Lightning, Willamette Valley Observer, and Yipster Times

I have been honored to work with James Lewes, the world expert on the military underground press, who is on a mission to digitize every military underground paper from the era that was ever produced. Our collection includes approximately 200 of the papers that he has scanned, which is only a fraction of his amazing work. Eventually I anticipate that our larger collection will include all of his papers.

And we have four publications produced by the FBI in their campaign to destroy the underground press:

Armageddon News, A Handbook for Revolting Kids, Longhorn Tale, Rational Observer, and SDS New Laugh Notes

During that same period from the fifties through the eighties that brought forth the underground and alternative press, another burst of publishing was taking place in another genre. The underground and alternative press was largely political writing but included fiction and poetry. Other creative souls from the period were producing literary publications, largely poetry and fiction but some highly political, that were known as “little” magazines. While I can claim expertise in the underground and alternative press, I am less of an expert with the little magazines. However, our partners in this project are librarians at University of Buffalo and University of Wisconsin, whose collections include major holdings of these publications. They have provided me with suggested lists of magazines to include and I have gone forth to obtain permissions.

Among the literary journals on board so far are

0 to 9, Aion (New York), Amazon Quarterly, Amphora, Aphra, The Archer, Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion, Audience, Audit, Bezoar, Birth, Black Maria, blewointment, Bombay Gin, Bread & Roses, Bread&, Broadway Boogie, Bulletin from Nothing, Burning Deck, Caliban, Chelsea, The Chelsea Review, Chrysalis, Cloud Marauder, Clown War, The Coldspring Journal,Conditions, Copkiller, El Corno emplumado, Credences, Damascus Road, Extensions, Free Poems/Among Friends, Ganglia, Genesis West, grOnk, Hanging Loose, Harris Review, Head, Heresies: A Feminist Journal on Arts and Politics, IKON, Imago, Io, Ironwood, IT, The Little Mag, Little Square Review, Living Hand, M, Maelstrom, Mag City, Magazine, Magazine of Further Studies, Margins, Matter, Meatball, Milk Quarterly, Modern Occasions, Mother: A Journal of New Literature, New Wilderness Letter, Niagara Frontier Review, NOW/NOW NOW/NOW NOW NOW, The Outsider, Panjandrum Press, Poems from the Floating World, River Styx, Roof, Roy Rogers, Score, Scree, Search for Tomorrow, Sinister Wisdom, Sipapu, some/thing, Soup, Stooge, Sum: A Newsletter of Current Workings, Sumac, Talisman, Telephone, Things, Tish, Tree, Trobar, United Artists, Unmuzzled Ox, Unnatural Acts, Yanagi, Yeah, and Yowl

Our primary sources so far for the women’s publications have been the libraries at Duke and Northwestern. This means that, once I get permissions from rights holders, these libraries provide the original hardcopy issues for us to scan. We then return the issues undamaged. We pay all shipping and handling charges for the library. Buffalo and Wisconsin have provided us with original little magazines from their collections according to the same arrangement. Other libraries that are working with us so far as sourcing libraries include Michigan State University, Georgia State University, University of Texas-Austin, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, University of Washington, New York University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Sequoyah National Research Center), and William Way LGBT Center. We’re in discussion with others.

Our goal is to digitize a million pages in four years. Our motivations are two-fold: to preserve the most important writings of our generation, which are now hidden in dark shelves of special collections libraries and beginning to yellow and crumble with age; and to make them available to current and future generations of activists, artists, and scholars. You can check out our beta site here. It includes some 80,000 pages primarily from our feminist/lesbian and military underground press collections. As you can see, it is just a small sample of our projected collection, and the files are keyword-searchable, a vast improvement over the old non-searchable Bell & Howell UPS (Underground Press Syndicate) microfilm collection.

Thanks to everyone who has shown so much support for this project. Much remains to be done. I need your continuing support. In particular, if you were part of an underground, alternative, or literary publication from the period that is not included on any of my lists, please get in touch with me so I can bring you aboard. And if you are a librarian or scholar, please make your library an active supporter by enrolling in the collection.

In the meantime, if you missed my three earlier posts on the digital project, you can read them here, here, and here.