I am writing a piece about an exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center called "The Mystique of the Archive." I was thinking, am I the biggest nerd in the world that I actually do think archives have a thrilling mystique and I have just read and enjoyed 83 pages of exhibition label text in prep for a 700-word piece? But the labels reminded me that people have written whole novels and plays (Eco, Byatt, Stoppard, Barnes) about archive mystique. I am a piker.
I wish I understood better how we make objects magical. It does go back to saints' relics and far before that. It's some combination of what someone invests in the object and what we invest in that someone. The journal of someone you love or wildly admire radiates this kind of magic, whatever kind of magic it is, and the magic is deeper if they are gone.