Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Visit From My Friend Forrest Mims

My old friend Forrest Mims and his wife Minnie visited me a few days ago; the photo above shows Forrest at left and me at right. I have known Forrest since July, 1979, and he has been one of my closest, and most wise, friends since then.

I first met Forrest when I was a technical writer and editor in Radio Shack's technical publications group at their Fort Worth, Texas headquarters. Forrest was bringing in the "manuscript" for his book Engineer's Notebook. The manuscript was actually a set of mylar transparencies on which Forrest had carefully hand-drawn each figure and word, much like an actual engineering notebook. Forrest and I spent a hot July afternoon spraying clear lacquer on each transparency to protect the lettering, and in that three hours or so a lasting friendship was forged. And Engineer's Notebook went on to sell over 750,000 copies, each a tribute to Forrest special genius when it comes to explaining electronics technology clearly and simply.

Since then I have served as Forrest's editor at various publishers, including HighText/LLH, and have shared all manner of experiences and ideas with Forrest. Forrest's mind is encyclopedic and far-ranging; he is a disciplined, focused thinker whose work has appeared in such publicatons as Nature and Scientific American in addition to his books. It is a shame that many of Forrest's readers are unaware of his wicked sense of humor!

During my cancer, he has always been there for me with supportive words and a sympathetic ear.

Forrest is a loyal and true friend, and I am grateful for his friendship over the years!