When I started making mail art, I decided to keep somewhat detailed notes about what arrived in my mailbox and what I sent out. I did this from day one. In my notebook I would write down the artist’s name, and beside their name I would keep a tally of the amount they sent to me, and how much I sent to them. This way, I kept a one to one balance. There’s one person out there that I cannot possibly catch up with, damn Buckeyes! Overall, I was even with each sender or maybe a couple up. When I got three or four pieces up on someone I usually stopped sending, expecting that they’d gotten out of the game, or weren’t interested in sending to me anymore. I would much rather spread the work around to those that seemingly want it than to people who see my items as a complete nuisance.
The longer I sent things out, the more types of information I started to collect. I had a section of the names of people I sent zines to, a section for Nostrils recipients, a section for bigger items I sent out, and a tally of all the shows I sent my work to. Obviously the book filled up. There are no more pages in the old one to add stuff to.
I needed a new one. This time I decided to organize things a little more. To make things tidier, I put little tabs on the side of the notebook to find everyone’s name much quicker. Alphabetical order cuts down so much searching time for names-some folks I’d sent so much to that I could remember the random place in the book without any trouble. For example, I could get to Mr. Herman’s name in France very quickly. I even filtered out a lot of people that had stopped sending or never sent me anything in reply, cutting down my book by about two hundred addresses. If they come back to the fold I’m sure I’ll end up sending them something again, but until that time, they’re on a the sidelines for a bit.
So here’s the new book, it’s already started filling up. I started adding all of the stickers on the things months ago when I decided I needed a new. The old one turned into art itself, so I wanted to duplicate that whole process. One bit of OCD bookkeeping, I kept the old books tally of how much I sent and how much each recipient sent in return.