Saturday, October 22, 2011

new house

I know I was meant to post on Thursday, and here it is Saturday, but this time I really do have a good excuse. My beloved iMac died, and with it all my bookmarks, calendars, documents, and basically my entire life.

It wasn't too disastrous—I had done a back-up only a few days before, so I've still got just about everything—but it's taking quite a bit of time to get everything transferred over to my brand-new, lovely shiny BIG iMac with gazillions of MB of memory. I feel a little bit guilty putting my old stuff on my new Mac. It's sort of like having a huge new mansion and bringing all of your beat-up furniture with you.

Because everything I write on this brand-new lovely iMac is bound to be much more scintillating, brilliant, interesting and clever than anything I wrote on the old one. It'll be gleaming and new, high-tech and clean. Right?

The latter part of my writing life can be traced through Macintosh computers. Before I went to university, I had an electric typewriter and stacks of notebooks. (Yes, I know this is revealing my ancient age.) But when I got to uni, I borrowed my roommate's Mac to write my papers and the occasional experimental bit of fiction. I stored all my writing on a plastic floppy disk and printed it out on the university's dot-matrix printer. I thought that thing was adorable; I loved how it was parodied in my favourite cartoon, Bloom County, as the Banana Jr.

In the 90s, I was a research student and I owned an Apple Powerbook. It was squat, awkward, and grey. But I wrote my first romance novel on it—in between writing chapters in my never-ending thesis.

At the turn of the century, though, I bought what is still the most beautiful computer, and one of the most scrumptious objects, I have ever seen: a first-generation iMac in yummy sweet-shop orange. I loved that computer. It was so CUTE. And it was the first time I was ever able to connect to the internet at home. You just plugged it in! Imagine!

On that computer, I wrote my first nine novels (some of them never published and which still languish on CD). I connected with people who were destined to become my closest friends. And because it was in colour, I was able to use photos of Hugh Jackman and John Cusack as screen savers. I still recall the smell it made when it heated up: a warm, plasticky, comforting smell.

When that died, I got a new white iMac, which was aesthetically gorgeous but less edible-looking. And now, this week, I've moved into a silent, sleek new silver-and-black iMac with an enormous screen. It's like looking into a whole new universe with crystal-clear vision.

These computers aren't just tools to me. They're part of my world, part of my social life, a big part of transferring my imagination into words. They really do feel like houses that I live in.

And anything can happen there.

Do you have a similarly emotional connection to your writing tools?

Come back, tomorrow, to visit with Anna.

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother Matt!


  1. Love this post! You know, I don't think I do have a special relationship with writing tools - I do with places I've written, though.

    And perhaps more with chairs. I still miss my silver-framed, snot-green upholstered reclining swivel chair I rescued from a skip. It was unravelling, stuffing prolapsed, but it was SO COMFORTABLE!!!

    Anna Louise Lucia

  2. Ahh that's because you refuse to use Macs .;-)

    I've never had a really good writing chair (to which my back can attest). I envy you yours.

  3. There is only one of my writing 'homes' that I am connected to...the lap top my family gave me for Christmas...we couldn't really afford it but they believed in my writing. i still love writing on it.

    Enjoy the new 'home'.

  4. Mmmmm Mac... I love both of mine :-)


  5. Oh, I can so relate to this, Julie! The little Toshiba laptop I used for so much of my writing finally gave out -- not the whole thing, just the screen, which broke at the corner so it can't be closed, and has to stay open at just the right angle or else it falls apart...

    So I bought another laptop. And while I love it dearly, it's just not my Toshiba. I still find myself sneaking off upstairs to the crippled Toshiba and dusting it off so I can write even a few pages on it.

    Strange, I know, but thanks to your post I don't feel so alone in my weirdness, now :-)