Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A nervous night at the Internet café

I am sneaky; I do stuff (like this) in my lunch hour on the computer at work. But there are jobs I can't do at work. Chief among these is getting written material off my dear old antique laptop and into a form where I can actually get at it. The computers here are (probably only just) new enough that they don't take floppy disks. My laptop won't handle anything else. So to transfer anything I've written on the laptop into a form I can use online, I have to put it on a disk and then go to the one internet café I know of that is old-fashioned enough to still have machines that will take floppies.

I guess it's inevitable that said internet café is scruffy and underresourced. They can't afford to fix their computers, after all. Or their carpets; or the holes in the wall.

So there I sat last night, clutching my precious disk of "Gabriel Yeats" in my sweaty paw, in quite the scruttiest internet café in West London. The first machine I sat down at promptly crashed. The second had sellotape over the slot for floppy disks. The third had no mouse and with the fourth, the keyboard didn't work.

By this stage I was starting to feel as if the Almighty had leaned down and marked me with "Today, Imogen, you are going to scramble all computers" magic juice. Luckily the fifth computer worked. Almost hyperventilating with excitement, I uploaded the whole of the final revision (for now) of "Gabriel Yeats" into a draft email. Then I did each chapter separately. Then for good measure I also uploaded the existing material for one of my Works in Progress, tentatively titled "Fortitude". It all went in, and it's all still there in my yahoo email drafts box today. Hurrah! I have an electronically accessible ouevre!

Afterwards I was in a slight state of shock. I've been trying to get this done for months, finding internet café after internet café had modernised and couldn't help me, and getting increasingly worried that I was in real trouble. Now I wandered out and down the road, and in a daze I got on the wrong bus and ended up in Brentford. Nobly, I resisted the urge to go in the Magpie and Crown and get drunk, and waited for a 237 home.

So anyway, if anyone would like to see the final-for-now version of "GY", or have a first sneak peek at the first draft of "Fortitude" (an attempt, heaven help me, at genuine SF, complete with space ships and everything), let me know.

4 comments:

Jules said...

I'd love to have some reading material to take with me!

Imogen said...

Eeee...

Okay, then. I'll send you the first three chapters. If you can handle it, you can have further installments as they coma available...

Is everything planned and sorted for the trip?

Anke said...

Does your antique laptop have a USB port, or is the floppy disk truly his only connection to the outside world? Because if you could copy all your data to a USB stick, it might instantly multiply the choice of internet cafes by about a million...

I am really impressed with your writing stamina! One day, I hope to develop some, too.

Imogen said...

Anke, dear old girl, I had thought of that, but no. The laptop is about fifteen years old, but it was given to me free and I am a cheapskate. I really ought to accept the facts and buy a new one, ¡supongo!

You have a proper job while I am still an office junior - so I don't have to work late or take my work home with me. This may contribute to my staying power, who knows?

I imagine I already tried to interest you in my historical/fantastical/ tragical magic realist ouevre?