Darryl Branning

I discovered a device called a type-writer when I was eight years old.

I discovered Science Fiction in the fourth grade. Serious stuff like Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis, and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.

I read constantly for years. A recent study suggests that reading fiction strengthens empathy. I'll take it.

I wrote my first short story while Isaac Asimov was still alive, inspired by the SciFi magazine he endorsed. I learned about computers from his Science Fiction.

I took my first computer class in 1979. There was only a modem connection and a paper-print terminal. The teacher took the paper away from us after we used an entire box playing a Star Trek simulation game. I was reading something.

My first real computer had 64k of memory and a tape drive. The floppy drive I bought years later cost $200.

I kept buying computers and rationalizing the expense as forward payment to a rich and famous future as a well known author.

Even after I learned how much writers get paid.

A short and yet luke-warm marriage. Is blame really necessary?

Move to a new city, become a dishwasher, then a cook, then laid off.

Hotel maintenance man, news carrier, student.

I started keeping a hand-written journal. It's amazing what you can learn about yourself, and writing in general, by bleeding your secrets onto private pages.

The video game Doom came out. But my computer was still for writing.

Ten years after I graduated from high school, I enrolled full time as a college freshman.

I worked at Disability Services for Students, as a reader, writer, note-taker, and etc. While doing so I happened to encounter the intriguing world of assistive software which, being specialized, was prone to stubbornness.

I became the campus computer-geek for students with disabilities--teaching users how the screen reader, and other assistive software, worked.

I also joined the campus help-desk, fixing bad floppy disks, and changing passwords for memory deficient users.

Five years later I graduated with a B.A. in Journalism, and a B.A. in English.

After graduation I found employment with a local software company. It's just different specialized software.