It’s hard to believe that when I grew up, I typed a novel on my mother’s manual typewriter. It was one of those Royal typewriters that you see commonly associated with writers. I went from that to an electric, to a Heathkit H-89 to a Commodore 64.
This week I’ve been tackling a big project: the paper copies of the stories and non-fiction I wrote.
It’s part of that black hole of my closet that I’m cleaning up. They’ve been long stuffed into plastic boxes, out of sight in the box, but the box itself always in view. So it’s a form of clutter.
I pulled everything out and started going through it. What did I already have in digital form…yeah, somehow I had printed versions of the stories and digital versions. In some cases, I had multiple copies of revisions printed and stored. And for some stories, they were either before Microsoft Word or, for whatever, reason, I only have the paper version.
It was just easy to lose track of what I had because it was in a file folder. There’s a long history of everyone struggling with forms of the data, for as long as we’ve had data.
My grandmother was in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The film was shot out where she lived in Northern California. Assuming her memory is correct for the title, this is likely the film. She would have been two at the time. She tried to find the film in later years, but it no longer exists. A lot of those films were done on nitrate, and then put into storage once the studio went onto the next release. By the time places like UCLA got in there to transfer to safety film, the reels had disintegrated. Or caught fire, since nitrate film was pretty flammable.
Then there’s Motown. When I was doing temp work in Los Angeles—my Google-fu tells me it was probably 1983 or 1984—I got a job documenting inventory for Motown. They were being sold, so we had to inventory all their music. They gave us stacks of music reels, which were about the size of pizzas. We would open the boxes up see what was written on the reels, and then type that on the inventory. Massive inventory, and they had no idea what they had.
But what I’m doing now is kind of fun and nostalgic to look it. It’s my life at the time, and where I was at as writer. It’s also some of the things I liked. There’s an article I write—might post it here if anyone is interested—on meeting William Windom in 1997. It was for an anthology call that never happened. But I enjoyed writing it, and I enjoyed meeting him. I have photos, but those are in another box I haven’t cracked open yet.
It was at Starcon, which was the big gathering of actors at that time. I believe it was over 100. Most notably, it was the only gathering of most of the actors from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Allan Hunt, Del Monroe, and Terry Becker. Bob Dowdell turned it down, and David Hedison was unavailable. Richard Basehart had passed away).
It was early in the day, and I was just roaming the aisles to see who was there. He flagged me over, and guess what we chatted about?
We were both veterans!
I have multiple digital copies of stories I wrote. Which can I delete and which should I save?!
I went with the final draft. Anything that was a revision, I deleted. The way I look at it, the final one is the only one that counts. I don’t think there’s much value with saving a draft that I’ve marked up for typos!
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