Friday, 21 October 2011

Virtual Legacy

By Richard Jay Parker

Saw an interview on TV with a girl who was in a car accident and thought she was going to die in hospital.  She hurriedly gave her best friend her computer passwords so her virtual legacy (intellectual property, sensitive documents etc) wouldn't be lost.  Thankfully she survived and has now appointed official keepers of her passwords.  She's obviously very trusting.

It's something writers should certainly consider, particularly if their work is stored in password protected locations.  Although it's impossible to value intellectual works it would be good to have the equivalent of a curator who knows which discs/locations contain the projects you've slaved over.

We've certainly come a long way in a short time in terms of the way we archive our work.  I saw a documentary about Stanley Kubrick and the huge number of boxes he kept stored in a residential warehouse which contained all of his reserch materials, notebooks and scripts.  It seemed fitting that his career would leave behind such a substantial personal library.

21st Century writers will probably have one memory stick to account for their entire creative life.

It certainly means less trees are cut down but when all those hours of anguish and hair-pulling can be condensed into something smaller than your nail it doesn't seem like much to leave to the family estate.

But like ebooks it's not the file that it's stored on that is of value but the experiences and hard work of the writer, without which the work would never have been created.

I hope my family will understand that after my death and a fusty man in a suit hands them a very, very small envelope.

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  1. To say nothing of lost "letters" now emails.

  2. A very valid point, Caren. Books of collected emails by authors are less likely to materialise. Sometimes the convenience of a format can devalue the work.