We all know that tragedies can strike at any time . . . and for a writer there are many circumstances that might be considered nightmares. I have experienced several such "writing tragedies" in one-fell swoop.
First, upon my return from Europe, my stand-bye (and trusted) laptop of eight years suddenly died, leaving behind hundreds of my children: poems, essays, stories, and entire books on a hard drive that, as I soon learned, was destroyed by a faulty fan. Some of this material I had backed up on other devices, but fate determined that a great deal of my writing over the past eight years is now gone. Writers, of course, like to imagine that this lost material was some of the best writing every produced, and this was certainly the case with me, as I lost essays, articles, books, and some of the best poems I had ever composed. (Future generations will never understand the scope of this loss to literature!)
One does not recover from such tragedy easily, but I knew that (after cursing a blue streak) that I could not mourn this loss for long. I have too many deadlines looming and too many contracts signed and far too little time to produce for my editors. And so . . . I have forged ahead with a new computer, a new resiliency and attitude to succeed, and far less sleep.
But the loss of these hundreds of thousands of words was only the beginning. On my new PC I was soon to learn that I hate Windows 8 (why can't I continue writing on floppy disks and the comfort of the simple and highly-navigable Word docs?). I also lost my ability to blog (I can't remember my password to blogger and had to create this new blog...toddeoutcalt.blogspot.com. Note the insertion of my middle initial "e"!
Yes, I did call to find out how I could gain access to my various blogs, but the instructions were so convoluted and complicated that I might as well have been listening to a 100-page instruction manual in Chinese . . . and no, I can't even remember my middle name, much less a password I created in 2005 when my wife still loved me. And yes, I do write all of my passwords in a small black book, but I can't remember where I hid the book. This book will likely be discovered after my death, I have informed my wife to place the book in the casket under my pillow so that no one will be able to gain access to my vast trove of vital information tied to our national security and my secret recipe for chili.
As for blogging . . . here is the new look. I hope you like it. (I still don't know how I created it and if this blog doesn't work tomorrow I will have to begin again from scratch and write the next blog under an assumed name like Mannix or Gomer Pyle USMC.)
Bottom line friends: always back up your material daily (not once every eight years) and be sure to tell others your passwords so that, in case you die of scurvy, someone will know where you hid the limes. Also, never trust a new computer. My best machine is still the Compaq with three fans and the trusted floppy, and I'm still going to write on that fifteen-year-old marvel that frequently bursts into flame but will never die.
As you can see, I'm back blogging . . . but it ain't easy.