June 2018
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Frightening fiction

I went through a box of old fiction today.

Boy was it scary.

Well, a few things about it was scary.

First it was typed. So this dates it to the eighties. I started off with a manual typewriter, upgrading to an electric model a few years later, moving on to an Amiga (A600, which I still have and which still works) in the early nineties and on to a full fledged PC (a 386 with a mighty 4MB of Ram and a hard disk of about 20 or 40 megabytes, standard VGA display) in the mid to late nineties and from then to more powerful systems. I type this on a laptop with a couple of hundred times more memory and a couple of hundred time the hard drive, attached to the internet – which I hadn’t even heard about in the eighties.

Looking back the manual typewriter could be tricky and awkward but the electric typewriter was close to using a computer keyboard.  Changing the ribbons was always a chore; I don’t think anyone who owned a typewriter enjoyed that chore.

In fact I came across quite a bit of writing in red text. Obviously I didn’t change the ribbons when the black ink faded but just switched it over and started using the red strip.  Memories are coming back about the ribbons.  I remember I used to get a ribbon half black and half red and sometimes a ribbon that was half black and the other half correction. Though I think the latter may have been for the electric typewriter. I also they were quite expensive and required a trip into Dunfermline or Kirkcaldy to get them from John Menzies – now WHS Smith.

The other , more frightening, aspect of rummaging through the box was finding one hundred odd pages of a novella called ‘Cash Flow.’ The frightening thing is that I have no recollection of this whatsoever. Not a jot. Yet I must have spent a month or so at least on it.  I have the one hundred plus pages and a separate plot outline. It was a first draft – I know this because the spacing on the pages is single lined: a final draft is double spaced – and, I have to admit, pretty abysmal.  I only skimmed through some of the pages but there didn’t seem to be anything coherent to the structure to keep the reader interested.

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