Technology Is Great Until It's Not

Map showing parts of Vermont and New Hampshire: Saxtons River, Bellows Falls, Westminster, Brookline, New Ipswich, Winchendon, Cambridgeport, Athens, Townshend, Newfane, Brattleboro I love technology when it works and/or when I understand it. My first computer was a Tandy from Radio Shack. It came with a 10 meg hard drive. But when I found out I could get the additional 10-meg upgrade, I knew I wanted that. "Ten megs is all you'll need for a lifetime," the salesman told me. "I write a lot," I said. "I want the extra 10; I want 20 megs." He thought I was nuts, but I took it home with, effectively, a 20-meg hard drive. We all know what happened to that figure.

I made some nice maps in CorelDraw for those first "chapters" of the Hudson-Joy epic I printed in the early 1990s. I also produced camera-ready print for the entire project using WordPerfect 5.1. Who knew that I'd produce 14 small booklet-to-book sized pieces and then shelve the project for 15 years? Along the way I stopped using WordPerfect, CorelDraw went through many expensive upgrades that I didn't keep up with until I bought a new program recently, and hard drives tend to crash - more then than now.

Some of the intermediate versions of Corel wouldn't open my old-version maps, some of the old WordPerfect files became corrupted or wouldn't open in Word, and it seems the crashes may have damaged files. When moving, I threw out a number of the printed chapters to save on weight and space, but fortunately I have at least one of each. I thought I had more, but these things happen, especially moving under any kind of duress, as can happen during a divorce (for example).

Well, here I am. It looks like my latest version of Corel (thank you, CorelDraw!) has been made backwardly compatible with the maps. I haven't checked them all, but I think so. I can scan any of the pages I really need to, or just grab the info I want to use and type it.

So, I'm regrouping here. I've figured out where I want to start, which is roughly where I left off with a certain amount of picked-up backstory from the old chapters for clarity. The style will be different. It will evolve. I may start in a similar vein, because that's what I know. For this first book, I will start with an interesting chunk out of the lives of one man and one woman, although it's mainly his story. My goals are to keep it fairly simple, keep it interesting, show the reader things they didn't know already, no matter how much history of the place and time they've already read, and to get the basic draft done in about a year. I feel sure I can do the first things on the list. We'll see about that time element. It depends a lot on how things go this year in my business. I've started by dumping segments (the recoverable ones) that I want to edit from into a new Word doc. I'll pare it way down, re-word, and keep on going.

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