no going back

The time before last when I upgraded to a new laptop, I was very careful to keep copies of all my old writing; so the other day when I went looking for an article written in 1999, I found several versions of it on my current computer.

Sadly, none of them were compatible with the programs I have available, and when I opened one of the documents, it began like this:

##MMXPR3#C#CXP#########################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################.### ###.#######�### ###�###�###�############################### ###
#######

There are 115 pages, with huge blank expanses and intermittent passages like the above. The three-page article is also in there, but it would require more patience than I have to hand in order to extract it.

old laptop keyboard

So I went back to the laptop the files were created on. Its battery doesn’t charge, its screen doesn’t work if you open it beyond a certain angle, and it’s painfully slow. It didn’t seem to want to talk to my modern mouse, and had its doubts about the pendrive I wanted to copy to. (I didn’t really want to hunt down a network cable and use Netscape 4 to try and send the files by e-mail.)

I did, eventually, however, manage to find the original documents and convert some of them to txt files with only one reboot.

If you look closely at the keyboard in the photo, you’ll see it’s missing the letter z. Without the possibility of command-z (equivalent to ctrl-z for pc users) it doesn’t seem to augur well for my attempts to ‘go back’ to early versions of my writing. (Although matters might be worse if it were missing the ‘return’ key.)

So maybe I’d better allocate a day to converting a lot of other old files before they become inaccessible. Alternatively, of course, I could just focus on writing something new.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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