Computer Crash!

I remember several months ago hearing about a friend’s hard drive biting the dust. It’s a gut wrenching thing, especially when you’ve lost important stuff…like your NOVEL!!

Her experience motivated me to change my lazy habits. I started backing up my writing about once a week. I gradually got to the point where I backed up every day. And today I breathe a sigh of relief. Why?
Because I had a scare today. I thought my computer crashed. Apparently it just had a virus. But witnessing the blue screen of death is a terrible experience. We put so much information into these little boxes and depend on them so much. We probably put far too much faith in their ability to perform.

Software programs can be restored if your computer dies (well, maybe not if it dies like this one).  But photographs, data, and your original thoughts are difficult to reconstruct. And so I feel very fortunate to know it’s all safe on a flash drive. [PS from a friend: flash drives are not a great long term solution. Back up periodically to a DVD!)

In times past, I have not dodged the bullet. My computer has gone down in flames and I’ve experienced all the pain that goes with it. What does it feel like? Like this:

Rage:

You are furious that your computer dared do this to you. You put your faith and confidence in it. You DEPENDED on it. Seemingly on a whim, it decided to drive off a cliff and take you, an unwilling passenger, with it. Why couldn’t it be more like a conscientious employee and give you two weeks notice; some time to prepare for this debacle? It’s like being in a close relationship where one party suddenly just says…bye!

You rant, you rail. Perhaps you unleash a tirade of obscenities at this device that dared rob you of your valuable time. But this emotion expends a lot of energy and you cannot sustain it for too long. It gradually gives way to another frame of mind.

Anguish:

This is the wail of the damned: the realization you’ve lost irreplaceable files sends you to the place of inconsolable misery. The universe is unfair. You just lost a story so epic it would have made J.K Rowling weep with envy. Why, oh why did this have to happen to YOU? Why couldn’t it have happened to that other person, the one you don’t like very much? Oh sure, you would have sympathized with them, all the while enjoying a little secret, smug schadenfreude. But this emotion also passes, and leaves you with:

Despair:

Sadness without anger; a sense of melancholy gloom that descends upon your forlorn soul; one now just as lost as the billions of bits of information you once held so close. You realize now how ephemeral it all is. You start singing “All we are is dust in the wind,” and a single tear rolls down your cheek. Gratefully, this too shall pass, and we come to the realization of how this all could have been avoided.

A Place of Dumbness:

We KNEW we should have listened to the geeks who told us to make a back up. But they sounded so smug about it. We liked living on the edge, laughing when others told us to be careful. They probably have training wheels on THEIR computers.

But now, hindsight runs us down from behind like a Porsche turning a squirrel into roadkill. “Objects in mirror are closer than they look.” Indeed. How could we have thought ourselves immune? Backing up a file takes less than a minute. Even if we did it a thousand times it would still take less time than reconstructing our lost novel. At this moment we know that if dumbness was a superpower, we’ve got what it takes to hang out with Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. But even this too shall pass. And we move on to a better place.

Acceptance:

It is time to stop beating ourselves up. We could wallow about for awhile longer, but there is nothing more to be gained. We must go forward. We still have our creative mind, our wits, our imagination. Hopefully THAT hasn’t crashed yet. There are more things to be done; epic sagas to be written. It is time to move on. And so we gird up our loins to begin anew. There is still one more emotion to experience.

Tenacity:

Or better yet – pertenacity – persistent, unyielding tenacity. We grit our teeth and envision ourselves as King Leonidas, with his 300 Spartans battling hundreds of thousands of Persians. Sure, he had the easier task, but we will not be defeated by a mere computer! Ha!

Perhaps we look to another image for inspiration – Captain Taggart of Galaxy Quest; staring into the face of certain death and uttering his famous line:”Never give up, never surrender.”

It might be writing, or maybe it’s something else you’ve wanted to do and now there’s just been another setback, a crash of a different kind.  Get up. Learn from your mistakes and get up. You’ve only failed if you stopped trying.

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