I'm Still Shaking

May 11th, 2010

I’m sitting here trying to let the relief obliterate the terror I was feeling a few minutes ago.

I thought I’d lost all the work I’d done in the last month or so.

Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad to you.  What’s a month of writing?

A lot.  In this case, anyway.  I’m working on what I hope is basically the final draft of my first YA novel and I’ve made huge changes from each draft to the next.  I won’t bore you with the details of what happened (really, I won’t.  And you know why?  Because I started to write them here on this post and realized they were truly  hopelessly dull.  My loss is your gain), but suffice it to say that the draft I looked at this morning was an old one and all the changes I’d been struggling to work out over the past few weeks were gone.  If that were true, I didn’t see how I could make my deadline. And I felt defeated.  I didn’t want to go back and start again.  I wanted to curl up in a fetal position and go to sleep for a very very long time.

I felt a familiar sensation.  Back when I was in college, I had one of the earliest home computers that existed, purchased from my father who had moved on to the next generation.  That thing–a Kaypro–anyone else remember those?–crashed constantly.  I mean constantly.  The screen would flicker and bounce and go nuts on you.   I was constantly carrying it (and it wasn’t light) to one repair store or another.  It crashed shortly before my senior thesis was due.

Somehow I managed to salvage the thesis, if not the computer.  I can’t remember how now–maybe I could print up even though I couldn’t actually read the screen?  Anyway, computers crashed then.  That’s what they did.  You knew there was risk involved using one.  But they were so effin’ COOL.  And in a weird way, that risk kept things exciting.  It was like there was an element of gambling mixed in with the writing.  You didn’t like losing your work but it was part of the deal.

We’ve come a long way since then and that deal no longer exists as far as I’m concerned.  I’m happy to say I haven’t felt that sick feeling of fearing I’d lost all my work in a long time.  But there it was this morning: terror mixed with exhaustion mixed with tears prickling at the back of my nose mixed with a pragmatic hope it might all be okay . . .

It was all made right.  This time.  With some help from my husband, I recovered the right version of the document and got Word working again.  But I’ve backed up the document in several different ways and I’m in a wary mode right now: I don’t trust my computer.

And I still feel sick to my stomach.