Old Stuff

I re-read some very old work.

I just spent an hour re-reading portions of a novel I was working on back in the 1980s.

The files are on my laptop and I know how old they are because I read the creation date of the files — August 1989 — and know for a fact that they date before that. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, they were originally written in longhand on yellow legal pads when I had my first job, right out of college. That would set the date at around 1982 or 1983. More than twenty years ago.

I probably typed them into my first computer, an Apple //c, not long after I bought it in 1984. I used AppleWorks back then. Then, when I bought my first Mac in 1989, they were probably among the batch of files I transferred from the Apple //c to the Mac IIcx via a specially-constructed serial cable as an upload into Microsoft Works. Somewhere along the way, I converted most of the files to Word format, but a few of them are still Works files. Word will open them, but there are a lot of extraneous characters that need editing out to make the work really readable.

I don’t really want to discuss the work here. I will say that it’s one of several novels I never finished and it really isn’t bad. It isn’t good, either, though. I know there’s more to it — still on yellow legal paper — somewhere in a box downstairs. I remember reading it not long ago when I was cleaning out a closet. It was never typed into AppleWorks. I probably lost interest in the piece before the typing was done.

I typed much slower in those days — only about 20 words per minute — and I remember how tedious all that typing was. I’m much faster now — probably 80 to 100 words per minute — and I actually type much faster than I write longhand. Maybe someday I’ll finish typing it all in, just so I can have some more aging computer files to look back on.

My PowerBook has just about all the fiction I’ve ever written and put into digital format stored on its hard disk. The backup is on my desktop Mac back at my office and on my iDisk storage space. I don’t write fiction in the office. And I don’t write computer books on my laptop.

Of all my fiction, I’ve only put one short story online. It’s a story about some of the characters from yet another unfinished novel. A back story, turned into a short story. I have a bunch of those back stories, but the one I put online is the only one I wanted to share with others. That story is also old — at least 5 years, according to the creation date of the file on my laptop. But then again, that might not be the original file. It could be older. Maybe I should date my work so I can tell how old it really is, even after file creation dates get changed by software updates and the like.

I think I’ll dig out those yellow pad pages again. I’d like to read the rest of what I wrote.

What do you think?