Underwood This image, for all you kinderbloggers out there, is called a “typewriter.” You see, back in days of yore, in the “olden days”, computers hadn’t been invented, and when they were finally invented, they filled entire sterile rooms with vacuum tubes, which were little devices we used before transistors and diodes, which meant among other things that it took 90 seconds from the time you turned your radio on until the sound came out. You also didn’t want to drop your radio on the floor… but I digress. Back in these olden days of yore before computer ubiquity, we used these typewriter contraptions with mechanical actions that forced a little “arm” to strike a piece of paper through a carbonized ribbon when you struck a key. Bold? Strike the key a little harder. Edit? Argh. Those erasers always sucked… sometimes it was easier to start over or strikeout your text, depending whether or not it was a your final copy or a rough draft.

For those of you who know what I’m talking about, I learned to type on a big old Underwood, the kind that reporters and office workers used. I’ve still got it, sort of for inspiration. Some authors, like Farley Mowat never did make a switch to computers, continuing to use a manual typewriter long past the days when replacement ribbons became rare as hen’s teeth (If you kinderbloggers are still reading, that’s another olden days expression). By the way, here’s a good tip to keep from getting accosted by “helpful” sales staff in office supply or computer electronics stores — just walk around carrying obviously an old ribbon from a dot-matrix printer. Works like a charm!

That You Might Believe - Book Cover Anyway, the point of all this is that I sent a Photoshop file to a couple of journeymates to make sure it opened up properly without any surprises since I use GIMP instead. Preflight came out just fine… which is good, because it’s my book cover! I have vowed to upload the beast today and get my proof shipped out. Check it out — as I mentioned yesterday, the cover art concept is from my wife (wise woman that she is) who insisted I draw it myself. The ghost image in the background is my own touch… it may not be clear here, but the point should come across when you hold the book in your hot little hands. After yesterday’s, uh, transparent post, my wife (wise woman that she is — I have to add that now when I mention her name) said some nice things and made me some eggs for breakfast this morning. She said I’d earned some “husband points.” I can always use more of those! The phrase (at least for us) is from a Sally Forth comic where Sally tells Ted that the roses he bought were “So expensive!” and the thought running though his mind is “No they’re not — not when you measure them in ‘Husband points’.”

Anyhoo. I’m thinking about the end of this project and moving on to another, trying not to forget my book on missional language and remembering that Fear is What Drives Writer’s Block (with which I think I tend to agree, unfortunately). But this one’s done, and permissions have now arrived for some songs I’ve got dropped into the complines as evening canticles. So back to the point. Or the other point. I’ve got a few books sitting behind me on my (other) desk as I type… things like Thomas Merton and Annie Dillard on writing… and I find I’m drawn to movies like Finding Forrester and shows like Men in Trees which feature writers. Unlike me, those people all have agents, publicists, and publishers, but they’re fictional anyway. That’s one way of saying I think there’s a lot about the writer’s life that fails to meet romantic expectations… but the feeling at the end of a project isn’t one of them. So Bill Kinnon sent me a YouTube video in honour of the day… see below (or click through if you’re reading via RSS). And now that you kinderbloggers know what a “typewriter” is, some of the images in this montage should make more sense! Bill’s a fine journeymate, one of a number that I’ve been blessed with. I mean, “with which I’ve been blessed.” Gotta make you think I still remember my grammar. ;^)

So who’s your favorite fictional author? Not author of fiction, but fictional character in a book or on the screen who is an author or writer.

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