November 2nd, 2008


Looking For This, Finding That

We've gotten to a confusing time of year, I suppose. Not necessarily big confusion at least for me, but at least some confusion probably for most people. I don't have a solution to that, but it's what I'm on about today for some reason.

I'd gotten thinking about some things I'd written some time ago, three parts of a longer story or three short stories in an arc, take your pick. Seemed like a good idea to find them and post them during November, just as my own little bit of tossing fuel on the fire which is NaNoWriMo, either encouragement for the participants or gentle teasing for same. You know, hey, look what I wrote no it isn't part of that game.

I couldn't find them. Well, I couldn't find the files of those manuscripts, more accurately, since I've not started looking for hard-copy which may be available. This is where life gets interesting, you know? I remember writing the first part using the very first computer I bought. An Apple II which the salesperson wanted to know, whatever was I going to do with 64K of RAM? Write stories, obviously. That particular rendition of the arc, the start of it, I'd used at an SCA event in Trimaris to help keep the ball rolling on a new (then) public award/bauble/event to showcase people's abilities.

See, back then the two annual and specific 'competitions' in Performing Arts, not the Arts and Sciences events themselves (though at least one was held at each of the two Art-Sci events) were the Poet Laureate, and the Bard Laureate. I expect anyone will be able to follow the Poet Laureate title, at least anyone who's read much poetry, as countries usually do name one of their best poets as their Laureate. It's the same concept; original poetry for one, original song/music for the other.

Trimaris as a group decided to go for a third, for another category of art which did not fit neatly into either of those two because it mightn't involve poetry, nor song or music, but was Performance Art. And so the concept of the Masque Laureate arose, to honour someone who originated performance art of some sort. Dance fit into this, as did theatre. The start was slow, though, and on the occasion of the second competition it looked as though it wouldn't happen because the required three entries didn't exist. So I put my name in the ring as 'Storyteller' to give the other two people their chance, because I knew one of them would definitely be the winner. And with two competitions completed, the Masque Laureate would be on a roll.

So I told the story of how the fellow I played in the SCA left home and started on his journey of adventure and personal vision quest. And I proved at least half-correct in my reasons for this; the Masque Laureate did keep up the momentum and still persists today in Trimaris. The person I just knew would win, though, a Middle-Eastern dancer of great skill and reputation (and who did receive, shortly after, a Laurel for her dancing skills), did not take the Masque. But that's another story.

That part of the story I wrote down, as I said, on the first computer I ever bought, so that would be in '85 or '86. Shortly after, early in '87 I wrote another part, providing background mostly for the SCA wedding event which Herself and I did. Herself's primary persona (for those who are more interested in SCA things) is not married; a secondary persona is married to my old personna. That's what went into the background story for that event. And sometime after that, because I remember writing it out here on the Ranch, I did a third part, set in time after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and before the Battle of Sekigahara.

Now, I could be off in my recollections on when specifically I wrote two of those; it doesn't matter. I did write them (as opposed to composing them but never writing them). I learned the important lesson about what a 'hook' is, and why it needs to be at the very beginning, by showing them to a friend who made his income writing. At any rate, I went looking for those files yesterday. I don't think I've gotten through all my CD backups yet, but I know I didn't find anything on CD's dated as early as 2001. And I know I converted all the files from the Apple disks to what was then called IBM. Pre-Windows, eh?

Now, since I probably wrote two parts on the old Apple, which never saw a hard drive much less a CD burner, this means the backup files may be on old ZipDisk media from after the conversion in formats. I'll check that out today. Still, I will be surprised if I didn't copy those onto CD's at some time as well. Pretty darn sure I did. Which means, I've probably not tracked down all my backup CD's yet. The quest is on.

I did find a couple voice recordings from August 2001. A ton of memories swirled up even seeing the file names. How I made the recordings. Who the recordings were. Things which were happening then. Very briefly, that since these dated from August that year, all before the whole Twin Towers thing. My brother had called me from their boat, on their first trip south along the Intracoastal Waterway, their first voyage after moving aboard full time.

All three of the males in my immediate family sounded alike, and via either recorded or telephone media could be extremely difficult for others to tell apart. I used to say we could tell each other apart, but let's be honest when one is calling either of the others, it's pretty sure that we would know the other voice couldn't be our own.

Houdini lay behind my chair at the desk in Office when I found those files; he'd been 'helping' me herd files as it were. You know the thing, being patient and near, responding to voice (talking to oneself or even to the dog) with tail wagging and occasionally sitting up and nose-nudging for attention. He definitely stretched across the floor behind the chair when I started the first file because he scrambled to sitting, staring at the laptop with his ears perked and doing the RCA Dog 'Masters Voice' head-cock. Then looking at me, with my mouth closed, lips still, no sound. Back at the laptop, head cocking the other way. Back at me, with an entire expression of 'How can you be talking from there when you're here?'

Mamma Mudge whelped Houdini and his litter-mates the Brothers in 2002, over a year after that recording. John and Kay came by the Ranch between Christmas and New Years, 2001. The next year, though, on their second (and his final) trip south before leaving the US shoreline, we went over to visit them near Daytona. Houdini never met my brother.

I guess our recorded voices really did sound that much alike.