I have always scribbled what I used to think of as 'made up stories' and occasionally doggerel – at first physically writing in notebooks, and then typing them – but it is always a release for me. I ‘write out’ my emotions and frustrations in the kind of way one often writes a “Dear John” letter in the heat of the moment and then don’t send it. I think straight onto the keyboard and thus don’t have the difficulties in doing so that typically a person without any physical difficulties say that they have. I block out sounds and type away as easily as many of my peers would write. I can only put this down to the fact that I have had a typewriter since the age of 7 and had it in the classroom from my early teens.
The transfer to computers in my mid-20s was simple as far as knowing the keyboard layout is concerned because I had been typing so much as I have. Having said that, I vividly (and with immense amusement) remember the first day I used a computer.
It was on Monday 18 June 1984 and I was sat down in front of an Apple //e with two five-and-a-quarter inch floppy disk drives and a green on black monitor. After I had typed a letter, I innocently pushed the Enter key till I couldn’t see the bottom of the letter, and then I was told that I had to open a new file! Even nowadays sometimes I have an inner smile when I open a new file.
It was about ten years, and the mid-1990s, before I stopped just regarding a computer as a glorified typewriter and bought my first PC. In those days it was still unusual to own a computer and even more uncommon to have an internet connection, so unknowingly I joined the ranks of the second wave of surfers who still had to put quotation marks round a phrase to make sure that search engines like Yahoo and Excite didn't separate the parts of the phrases. Google has forced the old-styled searh engines to follow its user-friendly search options - much to everyone's relief I suspect!
These days, 2006 onwards, I use an Apple once more and it is what Unseen Childhoods was completed on, and is what The Last Robot is being written on