Dan Douma (1946-2010)

In a recent e-mail to customers, Jesse Douma of the The Writers Store in Los Angeles writes that his father, Dan Douma, co-founder of the The Writers’ Computer Store, has died.  This is a loss to the writers’ community everywhere.

In 1982, Dan co-founded The Writers’ Computer Store with Gabriele Meiringer as a resource for writers on Santa Monica Boulevard in West L.A. It became a thriving hub for writers and filmmakers, provided world-wide mail-order services, training and support, a writer-oriented newsletter and special events geared towards creative writers, principally Hollywood screenwriters, but novelists as well. The rest is history. With success they moved the store to Westwood Boulevard and changed the name to The Writers Store. Jesse will soon move The Writers Store again to a new location in Burbank.

Working Writers’ Heroes

By 1982, Dan and Gabriele had witnessed the rapid adoption of the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, IBM 5100, Apple I, Apple II, IBM 5120, TRS-80, the IBM PC, Kaypro II, DEC Rainbow, and saw the personal computer’s potential for transforming the writer’s process. At that time, veteran and aspiring writers throughout Southern California were still using Smith-Coronas and Selectric II’s late into the long writer’s night. The clacking of long-throw keys, the impact of metal type hammering away at paper, and return bells filling the air on summer nights – Muzak of the creative life – were about to be replaced with muted keyboard clicks and the whir of hard-drives.

Just as Dan and Gabriele were getting the shelves stocked in their new Writer’s Computer Store, the era of personal computers dawned for real. Apple, already light years ahead, was soon to introduce the Macintosh. Others followed. The staff and consultants at The Writers Store were always up to speed on the facts, features, and benefits of every hardware and software configuration.

The staff at the Writers Store have long been valued colleagues. When I lived in Los Angeles, I stopped by the store occasionally to see what new books and software were available. Dan, Gabriele, and Jesse have always been helpful. No return to L.A. is complete without checking in.


Variety 7 June 2010

Los Angeles Times 10 June 2010