Saturday, February 04, 2006

So there I was

in 1974 with the first draft of a bad bad novel painfully typed out on paper. In those days Microsoft Word and WordPerfect were unwritten, not yet thought of.

I bought my first typewriter in October of 1971; I think it was an Underwood though I wouldn't swear to it. 25 bucks at a trash and treasure on Flemington Road Newmarket. I bought my first copy of Dvorak's 8th symphony at the same trash and treasure the same day. Good music.

Then followed a couple of months with my sisters typing textbooks as I learned to touch type. D E A D D E A D D A D D E D and so on. By the following January I could haltingly type and by the passage of another year I could type almost as well as I can now.

It always amazes me, as an aside, how it is that the keyboard is such a fundamental tool for software developers and yet so few of us can touch type. I find it painful to watch my fellow programmers as they hunt and peck. A good party trick is to be writing something on the computer whilst holding a conversation with someone. Usually, when I'm doing the trick, I'm writing code. It disconcerts em no end to see you typing as you hold eye contact with em and don't pay any attention to the keyboard but eventually they give in, secure in the knowledge that what you've just typed is gibberish. You can imagine my delight in showing them that they haven't thrown my typing off one bit! I particularly enjoy pulling that trick on fellow C++ programmers and showing them that I've defined a new class and written the implementation!

So there I was, in 1974 as already said, with the first draft of a bad bad novel painfully typed out on paper. In those days - oh we've already been there :)

My best friend Heino was, then, the younger brother of the girlfriend of my best friend Peter. I'd met Heino once or twice and, to my eternal shame, the most intelligent comment I'd made to him was 'get a haircut'. This is particularly poignant given that these days my hair is much much longer than his. Whatever. It was a long time ago. I'd never dare to suggest that his hairline is receding and mine isn't!

Heino sidled up to me one Sunday morning in church and suggested that as I had a novel and he had access to video cameras we might be able to film my novel.

Did an egotistical 20 year old certain that the world would fall at his feet need more encouragement?

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