Saturday, October 24, 2015

Words no writer ever wants to hear (first draft)

As I weed and ameliorate old copies of typed poems, & revisions, with  their electronic files, an ever-increasing pile of orphan paper poems grows . No electronic equivalents. Only faded dot-matrix hard copies. Makes me shudder. Makes me wonder what else was lost. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the dearth of work from 1995-2000 may be due to hard drive failure. I began the archival process a couple of summers ago when I realized I couldn't open old files, they'd reverted to gray Unix bricks. Other files had lost chunks of text. Especially the endings of poems. A writer's nightmare. Words no writer ever wants to hear.

from a Facebook post
see Paper Trail
The entire Facebook thread is funny and full of poet folklore. I turned some of it into a blog post at one point. See Paper Trail

October 24, 2015 at 12:25pm

Nancy Brown Newsom My short stories were backed up on floppy disk.

Maureen Hurley As in very floppy? No way to retrieve them now. Even the 3.5" hard floppy disks are a challenge to rescue.

Nancy Brown Newsom No, the 3 inch ones, not the 5 inch. But it makes me chuckle to realize that no matter how we back up our writing, there is a chance that it will be lost.
Maureen Hurley So true. I figure I have a fighting chance by using my blog! Alas, most of it is not on paper. It would kill an entire forest to print it out.

Rebecca Cintron Osvold it is alive and well on some cloud out there... perhaps entertaining multitudes in outer galaxies.

Maureen Hurley Rebecca I found some old issues of Sonoma Mandala, etc, and found a few lurkers there.

Tobey Kaplan yikes I' m in that shit too

Maureen Hurley Weird to revisit that old stuff, right Tobey? If you can find it, that is. I came across a pile of poems I had workshopped at Napa Poetry Conferences and realized that I didn't have electronic files for most of them. But clearly they had been electronic files as the hard copies are faded dot matrix. Remember the electronic printer typewriters we had? What were they called? They printed a line at a time. Some of my work was from that machine, so no electronic equivalents. But even still. Sheesh.
 I think I decided a lot of my old work wasn't worth upgrading to .doc files. And I left it go fallow, not realizing it's all part of the matrix.

Gail W Armand Maureen Hurley sounds like your work may be residing on old floppy discs.

Maureen Hurley Gail W Armand The floppy dist themselves are reverting to ferrous oxide. I already trolled them a while ago, I actually got a USB floppy disk reader (hard to find!) But I could attempt another trolling.

Gail W Armand Mine are equally unreadable. Somewhere I have a hard copy of my first novel. Highly unlikely it will ever be seen again by eyes other than mine. RIP Cosmic Snowball.

Maureen Hurley Gail, was it a PC or a Mac disk? I do have OLD G4 and PPC Macs that can sometimes read the poopy floppies. I have better luck with ZipDisks, remember them?

Joel Mikesell When I used to sell artisan paper, I was on an old fashioned, email forum of makers of handmade books. There was a lot of talk about moving away from paper archives. It was not sour grapes. It was considered discussions about the fact that we KNOW acid...See More

Maureen Hurley I was pretty good about keeping it au currant, these are the ones that got away. These are too faded to even OCR! So I take a photo and crank up the contrast after desaturating it.
I transferred all my 5" floppies to the 800k 3.5" disk, to the double-sided disks (there were a few casualties there, as I recall), to ZipDisks, to CDs & hard drives. I suspect a lost some work due to a few hard drive crashes too.

Joel Mikesell I for one am glad the UCB Folklore archives are on paper. Can give all sorts of good advice about acid free paper and good ink, but it's not advice that I have ever followed. And I am nowhere near as prolific as you. My stuff would probably all fit in one bankers box, but still I have it on 5 inch floppies, dot matrix, pencil, and of course all on cheap, acidity paper. On the up side, the transitory nature can have its own value. I remember one night walking up the alley to my favorite coffeehouse. I had a column in a local paper, and there was a ball of yellowed old newspaper, tumbling down the alley towards me with my name rolling in and out of sight. The wind and rough asphalt was shredding the paper, and I watched my name torn apart and disappear as the paper rolled past me and into the night.

Maureen Hurley Don't even get me started on lost newspaper tearsheets! Not lost, because that implies, they might yet be found. No, they've returned back to pulp. The infancy of my prose writing daze. Not to mention, photos.

Joel Mikesell Ah yes, the red dye on Kodak film from the sixties. Have a bunch of photos of you and your relatives all with lovely green skin, do you?

Maureen Hurley Must be the Irish showing through.Do you remember Bear Press in Caspar? Jim & Judy Tarbell's RIdge Review. I found a few old copies of my work there too.

Joel Mikesell Re my comment on the archives. One thing that was killing my friends on the book making forum was the habit of libraries and other archives to dispose of paper documents/books once they had been archived on modern media, be it microfilm or dvds.

Maureen Hurley Microfilm is in serious bad shape by now, I'd imagine, not exactly inert.

Joel Mikesell Jim and Judy are still up here should you ever need a copy of something. Doubt they would have an actual magazine to give you, though who knows....they were the printers. Black Bear is still here too! Right over on Redwood. It just sold to a new owner in fact (the 2nd or 3rd since the Tarbells retired)

Full-Service Resource for all your graphic & printing needs. Graphic & Web Design, Prepress & Printing Services.

Maureen Hurley Is Cindy Frank still around? I think she set type for them at one point. I used to spend a lot of time on Navarro, and Albion ridges. Slept in the Tarbell loft a few times too. Didn't they split? I can't believe Black Bear is still around.

Joel Mikesell Yup. You know I worked for her for about 7 years, right?

Freedom is an illusion.Ask Bill…

Maureen Hurley No idea, Joel! The, erm, want ads? I can't believe we never met back then, and had to wait for a class in folklore at UC Berkeley decades later.

Joel Mikesell Here is the old webpage, speaking of archives:

is our office manager and…

Maureen Hurley Yep, that's the Cindy I remember. I'd forgotten about Cypress Press. She was still teaching CPITS with Karin Faulkner.

Joel Mikesell Smile. That's how I got to about 4 BEAs. Loved it!

Joel Mikesell Knew the Tarbells better some years ago. Among other things, showed their son a bit about sword fighting. Don't know their current marital status.

Maureen Hurley BEA? I'm SOL here.

Joel Mikesell Book Expo America. The biggest annual book tradeshow in the States.

The North American publishing event featuring the latest in print and digital book publishing. For Booksellers, Librarians, Authors, and specialty retailers.

Maureen Hurley Oh, and here I was going w/ BJs, etc., re the want ads.

Joel Mikesell My favorite was when I got to handle new authors at their first big time signing at BEA. Enthusiastic fan to author: "I just love your book!" Me, sotto voice, to introvert author looking like a deer in the headlight: "Say, thank you." Author: "" Another happy reader.
Maureen Hurley OK, then! That's done. I went through 3 hard drives and reorganized all my poems from 1980 onward by year.
In most cases,I found clean copy of corrupted files, and/or hard copy. Still a few mishaps. I found a few misfiled orphan poems, and uploaded them to my blog.
The undated poems will have to wait until I can figure out when they were written. Luckily I don't have a lot of prose to upload, Most of that's been done.
I'm also combing old journals for original drafts, and posting them alongside the finished poem.
And I'm adding some untyped work from the journals too.
Now I can use my blog as a database, with final draft, publication history, and versions, as well as original writing. 

Next task is to find new work from those slim years. Dragon Dictate's not great but it's faster than typing. There's a lot of clean up involved, though. What's cool, is that I can also begin uploading some journal notes of my many travels, meeting poets, etc. Especially my USSR and Amsterdam years. Maybe this is my NaNoWriMo assignment! Memoir!
I'm on home stretch after days of ameliorating and copying files, cloning old OSystems. I was able to zero out my old drive, with three crammed partitions, and make it one big one, so that will be my back up drive. I reformatted Neil's drive too—it was Windows formatted, and a bother, wouldn't show up half the time for work, always giving me heart failure, so I erased and reformatted the sucker, and gained about 50 GB of space! Wow!

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