Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based fiction writer

Month: March, 2023

From the Archives

I love looking at old stuff; in particular, paging through old magazines and poking around in boxes and folders with printed materials from another time.

As they say, the past is a different country. They do things differently there. The fashion is weird, everyone is skinnier, and they smoke in restaurants.

A recent find that delighted me:

This pamphlet was in some materials at the Heinz History Center’s archives, in its collection for Falk Lab School, where I work as communications coordinator. I was in heaven sifting through old letters and photographs, finding mimeographed newsletters and faded yearbooks.

The only thing was, it was hard to concentrate. I was there this past Wednesday, when some piece of human garbage was busy calling in hoax “swatting” calls to a bunch of schools across Pennsylvania. One of them was Central Catholic High School in Oakland, close enough to the University of Pittsburgh and to Falk that I started getting text messages about it: emergeny notifications from Falk, then from Pitt’s emergency network, then from my wife. Falk went into a modified lockdown, then Pitt did as well.

My daughter attends Falk and it was unsettling, to say the least, to be at the History Center, three or four miles away, and to not know anything about what was going on, much less to be able to do anything about it. I’d picked that day to go because I was getting kicked out of my office for a couple hours to accommodate some Middle School students taking tests, but it felt like I’d been asleep on the job.

I’m struggling to find a way to button this all up.

The present intrudes upon the past.

Try as we might, we cannot escape the present by digging through the dusty archives of a bygone past.

I’m half-joking with these fusty takes, but maybe there’s something there, something about how it’s a fiction to see some compressed, simple reality in the past, as if people in those times didn’t have troubles. Their collars were wider and they didn’t curse as much or as casually we do, but just look at that pamphlet. People dropping out of high school and straight-up turning into ghosts! I’d call that a real problem.


Popping in to this blog just to say I’ve updated the fiction section of my website. Recently I met someone who was interested in reading some of my work and before sending him the link to this website, I looked over that section, trying to think of what to recommend first, and discovered that a horrifying number of the publications that have posted and/or printed my work over the years are no longer operating. I’m sad for the editors of those publications, many of which I quite enjoyed.

For any writers reading this, let this be a reminder to keep copies of your work. I’m old enough to remember debating whether online journals were “worth” as much as print journals; i.e., if it was as impressive to list a publication in an online lit mag on your C.V. It’s one of those debates that’s been rendered pretty much moot by the march of technology—while we were debating this over beers after workshop, online publishing just became the norm. Sometimes when things become the new normal, you’re a little less circumspect about possible downsides (kind of the way you just agree to those lengthy terms & agreements forms, because what are you going to do, not access this app/website/whatever?).

Anyway, I’ve cleaned up that section, which now contains significantly fewer links.

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