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Ernest Gaines

A Lesson Before Dying

I'm the first person, first male in the history of my family to go beyond high school, and what they wanted me to do was to become a teacher or become a business person or -- I don't know -- but not a writer, because no one knew anything about writers or writing. So I was not encouraged by my mother or my stepfather to be a writer, but that's all I wanted to do from the time I discovered the library and started reading all those books. So about a year after I'd been there in California, I tried to write a novel. Of course, it was a failure. I sent it to New York, and they sent it back, and then I burned it.
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Ernest Gaines

A Lesson Before Dying

Ernest J. Gaines: I tried to write that novel from the first person point of view, and that was from the Lou Dimes point of view. Lou Dimes is Candy's boyfriend, and he's a newspaper guy, and I wanted someone like that, I thought, to tell the story. But then I realized after writing maybe six months or a year -- well, I went through an entire draft, so it must have been more than a year -- from his point of view, I realized that this book was not -- I mean, his voice was not telling the story I wanted to tell. His voice could only tell what had happened, this guy had been killed, but he couldn't tell it from the point of view of the characters, whose voices I wanted to hear, and that is why I chose to write the story over from that multiple point of view, starting out with an innocent little boy who does not know what is going on, and then gradually going to older people and people who knew what had happened and why it had happened.
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Ernest Gaines

A Lesson Before Dying

Ernest J. Gaines: Longhand. Longhand on a canary-color paper. I like writing on yellow paper because -- it has to be a soft canary-color paper -- and with ballpoint pens, several. I'd get a box of them around the place, and I'd get two or three reams of paper and start writing. And once I have done that, then I'd type it on the canary-color paper, and then I'd go over it, change things around if I have to, and then I'd go to the white paper, and then I send it to New York. So I've really gone over it about three times by the time I send it to my editor and my agent. I've gone over it three times already. And as I said earlier, I went over Catherine Carmier about six or eight times. I must have gone over it 18 times or more, 20 times or more.
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Ernest Gaines

A Lesson Before Dying

Ernest J. Gaines: The first thing I tell my students when they ask me -- well, anyone who asks me what do you say to an aspiring writer, I said, "I have six words of advice, and I have eight words of advice. The six words of advice are read, read, read, write, write, write, and the eight words of advice is read, read, read, read, write, write, write, write." I said you have to read in order to be a writer. Oh, I have students who -- I teach creative writing at the university there, advanced creative writing, and I have students who write a draft, and they think they need an agent already, and I tell them, "No. It doesn't work that way." I graduated in '57 from San Francisco State, and I gave myself 10 years to prove that I could do it, and it was exactly what I -- my first book was published seven years later in '64. That would be Catherine Carmier, but hardly anybody read the book. I think 3,500 copies were printed, and 2,500 copies were sold. Then I went back to writing short stories, my Bloodline stories. I sent that to Dial, but my editor told me that he could not publish the stories by an unknown writer. I said, "But those stories will make me famous." He said, "Well, you're not famous yet. You have to get that novel out." So I decided to write a novel for him, and the novel was published in 1967, Of Love and Dust, and it was from that book I began to get recognition by the critics and others.
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Ernest Gaines

A Lesson Before Dying

Ernest J. Gaines: It's been a long time since I've written anything that's publishable. My latest novel is seven years ago now, almost eight years ago. I have something in mind. It's Louisiana again. I suppose by now, I could have written something about California. I've tried to write about California. I tried to write a ghost story. I tell people that it was so vivid that I scared myself, but that's not really true. It was just bad stuff. I tried to write Bohemian life, about my Bohemian life in San Francisco, but I was not very good at that because I couldn't take the sandwiches and the wine all the time. I've tried to write about my Army experience. I was stationed on Guam for a year, but I found that I was writing too much, or I was repeating Mr. Roberts or something like that. So I had to come back to Louisiana, and it's been sort of difficult to get a novel about Louisiana, but I think I have something in mind now that might eventually turn into a novel. It's about time. I know my agent is asking me, and some of my fans are asking me, and I know my editor is asking me, "When is the next one coming out?" I don't know when. I should hope that within the next couple of years at least. That would be exactly ten years since A Lesson Before Dying came out, but A Lesson Before Dying came out ten years after A Gathering of Old Men. So maybe I'm one of these every-ten-years publishing writers. There was a time when I wrote four books in ten years, but now it's much harder to do.
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Bill Gates

Co-Founder and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

Bill Gates: These C Cubed people have this computer, which is a time-sharing computer, and they're letting us come in at night. And they had this deal with the company who made the computer, Digital Equipment Corporation, that they had this acceptance period. If they could find problems with it, they could delay their rental payments. So they thought of us as kind of monkeys that might find some problems and help them delay their rental payments. Well, that was a fair analysis, because at first we were just completely goofing around. Like, we'd try to run hundreds of jobs at the same time, or have all the jobs try and grab the same resources, to see if we could get the system to fail. And we did, in kind of this brute force approach. So they would report that as a problem and delay their rental payment. Well, a few months went by, actually about four months by the end of it. We had gotten very sophisticated. In fact, we'd gotten the source code of the operating system out of the garbage can, and were reading it, and the kind of problems we were finding were far more subtle. In fact, we would not only find the problem, we'd look and we'd suggest how they might fix it. Anyway, Digital Equipment got so tired of this they said, "Look, you've got to pay. You're going to be able to find these kinds of problems forever, but we need to get paid." So then there was a question whether they would let us stay there or not, and it was pretty tenuous. So Paul and I, we understood the system well enough that we could look at all the passwords of the various accounts, so we would use literally any account. And then, people -- when they found out we had done that, they got kind of mad about that. They weren't sure how mad they should be about it, because we hadn't really caused any damage, but it wasn't a good thing. Computer hacking was literally just being invented at the time, and so fortunately we got off with a bit of a warning. But there actually was a period that, because of that, they said we weren't supposed to use the computer. It was over a summer, and Paul actually went up to the University of Washington and found ways to use the computer and get connected up. He took a while before he told me and then eventually he told me about that and we got back on.
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Bill Gates

Co-Founder and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

Bill Gates: Microsoft was only a few people and we'd written this BASIC, and the idea was to license it to lots of companies and then to write other software. So the head of MITS said he could help us market it to other people and take a sales commission for that, and I wrote the contract so that if they weren't serious about promoting it and putting a lot of investment into that, they would lose that right. That was the "best efforts" clause, a very strong requirement. They never got serious about that, and yet they kind of liked the idea of them having the BASIC and other people not. So we were discussing that, how we were going to resolve this problem, because we needed to license it to other people, and we were doing all the work to license it to other people even though they were getting this commission. And right at that time, another company, Pertec, bought MITS, and then those people got confused about the contract and so they weren't even paying us the money they owed us. They were essentially trying to starve us, so we terminated the contract. It had an arbitration clause. The arbitrator found that we were right. Five out of five reasons to terminate the contract, we were only right about five of them! So that contract was terminated. And then we had to -- like, we ended up having to do -- built our sales and marketing activities. And by then we started to have some other programs as well. So we started to hire more people and things really got going. The big thing though, was that because Pertec moved that company out to California, we no longer had a reason to be in Albuquerque, because you couldn't recruit people there as easily as you could to other locations. So we talked about where to move, and eventually, in 1979, we move up to Seattle.
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John Gearhart

Stem Cell Research

I know I didn't want to go back to Western Pennsylvania, a very depressed area. I mean, it was a -- but I really didn't -- and I sort of went along on this -- what I was saying is that the people in this group that I went with, there was 25 or 30 of them; they all went to college, so the thing to do was to go to college. And, I remember the counselor at the time saying, you know, essentially "You are not going to amount to anything." I mean, it was very -- a very hard kind of an institution. You know, "Why waste your money on college."
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