I am back in from the writing wilderness now that I have my new laptop. I find it very difficult to write on my desktop, and I think that difficulty can be traced back to my writing roots. I have always been something of a portable author, dating back to my initial scribblings in ringed notebooks that I would hide under my bed. Where most kids my age stashed purloined copies of the Dad's wank mags, I would stow away short little stories, hoping they would never be found. It should be noted that the absence of jazz mags did nothing to halt my burgeoning masturbation career.
I remember a couple of those stories well; "The Lost World", was a tale of a Nazi submarine torpedoed during the war. The survivors washed up on a strange island inhabited by dinosaurs where, as you can imagine, hilarity ensued. I always fancied that Michael Crichton, while on vacation in Scotland, happened upon my youthful writings at some ghastly garage sale, and used my book as inspiration for Jurassic Park. I was unable to find enough evidence of his dastardly plagiaristic assault before his untimely death.
Another story was an epic in scale called, "Striker", the tale of a young lad who goes from playing soccer in the streets to mega-stardom. That story is now a major Hollywood release called, "Goal", a 3 part movie trilogy that I have yet to see a penny in royalties from.
In my early teens the unthinkable happened; my sister stumbled upon my scribblings, but rather than mocking me, she went to a garage sale (hmmm, wonder if she saw Crichton there) and picked me up a battered old typewriter ( a decision she often regrets when she reads my darker fiction pieces) that I immediately fell in love with. It was the sound of the keys being struck that hooked me, reminding me of the sound of my favorite mode of transportation....the train. The clickety-clack sound of motion, of being transported to another place, a parallel to my writing that wasn't lost on me.
That typewriter kept me out of trouble on the streets, but got me into it elsewhere. I spent hours hammering away, taking a stab at my first novel, a hilarious (in my mind at least) tale of a one legged shoe salesman who wins the lottery. He and his friend decide to go on a world trip, but at the airport the limbly challenged one has his prosthesis declared a security concern and is forced to put it in with his other baggage. Leg gets lost and our heroes follow it from destination to destination, stumbling upon new adventures along the way......never did finish it....THANK GOD, now that I am reading the synopsis.
The trouble came in the form of 2 stories that I wrote in my typical smartass fashion. By this time I was in my 20's and the ink was fading fast with no replacement ribbon in sight. The first mishap came when a girl I was "seeing" waxed poetic about the romance novels she devoured, to which I responded, "anyone can write that junk". She asked me to prove it, which I did, hammering out a 1500 word sap and cheese drenched classic that hit a little to close to the mark for her tastes, so close in fact that she chose to throw me out of her little love nest and back into masturbatory exile.
The second event came when I was asked by a simple minded dullard, with whom I worked, if we had Santa in Scotland. I replied that we had our own version of Santa called, Captain Bagpipe (a rather jolly, probably drunk, sort who flew around on his pipes distributing fruits, nuts and berries to the thankful kiddies of Scotland). I wrote a brilliant account of how the Captain came to be which I presented to Simple Jack. He made the mistake of recounting the story at a dinner party and was laughed out of the room, at which point he sought me out with thoughts of pummeling the living shit out of me.
When that old typewriter finally died it took with it my desire to write, a desire that lay dormant until laptops came into style. Salespeople will look at me in rather strange fashion as I tap away at the keys, listening for that clickety-clack sound, one of the major deciding factors in any laptop purchase for me. I have my new one now and it sounds just fine, so much so, that if I close my eyes and tap the keys, I can make out the Scottish countryside rushing by, feel my Mum's hand in mine and I can dream of other worlds and of places better than here, but when I open my eyes and see my kids and my Penny I figure I am finally there.