The Catch-22 of Setting Up an Archive

Ok.  Here it comes, a whine.  In my pursuit of the goal of setting up a national diary archive these stumbling blocks have emerged:

First of all, there  is the total disinterest of the two local newspapers in publicizing the idea of this project.   Apparently they do not recognize any value in such an archive.  Do you suppose they archive all the blatherings of their pitiful press?  What exactly is the repugnance for this form of writing?  With funding, I can envision this archive growing into a magnificent jewel-in-the-crown of this city at the middle of the country, already touted as one of the best places to live in America.

Is their lack of enthusiasm merely the backlash from their intuition that the printed word is dying…that their own jobs are disappearing into the (I like this word!) viral world?

I, too, understand that the handwritten private journal is becoming extinct.  Which is precisely why we must preserve the last of this species.

Now here is the catch-22:  To create such an archive you must first conjure up interest before you are entitled to financial or social support.  No interest=no non-profit organization.   On the other hand, I am told that unless I establish it as a non-profit there will be no interest.  You need a few courageous  souls who will be the  board of directors and who love to write all of  that gobbledygook and the tedious reports that are required (so that you don’t have to) to prove you are a viable entity.

The rules for setting up a non-profit give me the same sense of dread as going to the dentist.  Perhaps a lawyer…

Pursuing the line of materializing some support, I called the library last week to set up a room for a free journal writing workshop and presentation on creating the diary archive.  Guess what?  You cannot schedule a room unless you are  a non-profit organization!

I distinctly remember two events I attended recently at the library.  One was a free chat by a local  author.  In the back of the room a local bookstore was selling her books like hotcakes.  Wasn’t there a profit in there somewhere?  The second event was a lecture on how to start a blog (the journal writing extinction committee).  The presenter would not answer my question at the end.  Instead, she handed me a business card.  This is also a non-profit?

I am sitting back on my haunches trying to figure out strategy.  I am not a political princess.  I am not a rah-rah fund raiser.  I am not young and pretty. I am Boxer, the workhorse, from Animal Farm.  Hmm.  So how do I do this?

I haven’t given up.  I haven’t quit.  I can find another room to rent for a lecture.   I can pay for advertising.  I can hire a kid one third my age to teach me more about how to drive a blog.  This is just a flesh wound.

All y’all out there can send your moral and financial support. And ideas.

Oh…and I have one last complaint.  It’s about the weather.  I called the weatherclown this morning and he said it was going to be a sunny,  50s day.  Trickster.  It is 39 and totally overcast.   Feels like snow.  My sister-who-is-always-right says the weather forecasters are always right.   Have I ever told you about my sister?




One Response to “The Catch-22 of Setting Up an Archive”

  1. Terry Says:

    I only just came across your blog here via an article on BBC4 about the British Diary Project. I’m interested because I’ve kept a diary since about 1973, or maybe a bit earlier. Not daily, but there are – I don’t know – maybe 40 – 50 volumes in a hodgepodge of paper formats – spiral notebooks, bound books, steno pads…anyway, I’m posting hoping to encourage you to keep trying, but also to ask if you’ve looked into Kickstarter or Indiegogo or some similar crowd-funding method. They might give you guidelines on what kind of research you would need to create a compelling Kickstarter campaign. I think many successful Kickstarters have blogged about how they did it. Seems like it would have a nationwide appeal.

    Good luck!


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