Monday, January 08, 2007


The Huz just installed one gig of new memory on my computer, and it's working a lot faster than it was. It had a quarter gig, and apparently 52 processes load at startup. WTF? How could that many processes need to load at startup? Makes no sense whatsoever. After the book is done, I'm going to pick up a copy of Windows XP for Dummies and see if I can find out how to fix that. The Huz is a brilliant computer guy, but he...well, let's just say, he dislikes Windows. So I figure if these little maintenance issues are things I can learn to handle mostly on my own, I'll save him the hassle. I'm actually not too bad a trouble-shooter, considering I have no Computer Science background. (I'm sure programming bubble sorts in C and word processing in Superscripsit on a TRS-80 in High School doesn't count!)

Gad, can anybody remember Superscripsit? I shake my head in wonder. When I wrote my first novel, I was 16 years old. I'd taken Typing 1 and Typing 2 in high school, and just before I got ready to go off to college, I got special permission to stay after school a few times and use the Superscripsit program in the computer lab to enter that novel and save it to a floppy disk. Years later after the Huz and I were married and bought our first computer together (awww!) he was actually able to access those files on that floppy and bring them across into a spiffy new word processing program called Word Perfect. It didn't look perfect, but the data was there.

You know, the story of writing that novel and saving it for posterity makes a better story than the novel itself. The idea was cute, but the actual writing You know the old saying that a novelist's first million words are garbage? Yeah, pretty much. I was no Paolini. But I really have to hand it to my teachers--they rocked. My English teacher used to deliberately ignore the fact that I was writing a novel during his class; as long as I could answer a question when he asked it, he let me alone. I'd make my own corrections and hand-copy those pages neatly, then take them to the school office, where they let me copy them on the Xerox machine. Then my English teacher critiqued the novel on his own time. He marked his crits and comments on these horrible blue rubbery copies of my handwritten pages; I still have them somewhere, I think. Later, after I'd gone into the Typing 2 class, I'd distribute my neatly handwritten originals to a couple of other students in the class, and the typing teacher would ignore the fact that the three of us were typing out my novel rather than the class material. As long as we produced typed pages, he didn't care. The Superscripsit saved on the floppy disc was the culmination of two years of work on this same novel, which I continued to tweak for the next eight years or so while I went through college and tried out a nursing career. Writing-wise, I switched from spiral notebooks to an electric typewriter of my own, but my second finished novel was the first one written entirely on a computer--the same one I mentioned before with the Word Perfect program. Blue screen, white letters. Ugh. At the time, I thought it was completely wonderful. I had no idea how rapidly the technology would advance.

The Huz makes fun of me because I use the "page width" setting to type--I mean input--my novels into the Word program I have now. I like it, okay? It looks like separate crisp white paper pages. Call it a quirk. I've got more where that came from.

1 comment:

Dude from New Zealand said...

Yes, I remember Superscripsit.