This past Saturday night, I was on a roll. For a couple of hours, fire flew from my fingertips. Magic poured from me onto the magic screen in front of me.
Glorious. Charlie Daniels would have been envious.
Then a minor tragedy happened. Minor in the sense that no one died. There wasn’t even a severe limp or otherwise career-ending injury involved.
My computer froze up. And I lost the last 400 or so words of the Evening’s Efforts.
The computer I write on at home is a few years old, not obsolete by any stretch, but a couple of years old. During that time, it’s been used primarily by a couple of kids (now 16 and 13) who haven’t been… discriminating in what they download. I can imagine the conversations going on in their heads. ‘Man, this computer is slow. Wow, this looks like it will fix it.’ *click* Repeat that multiple times over several years and you have an idea of the mess my hard drive was in.
Too be fair, I hadn’t used that computer much before about the 1st of the year. Since we got an Xbox, 95% of my gaming activity takes place there and I haven’t been as wrapped up in PC gaming as much as I used to so I wasn’t on top of the situation with the computer. I wasn’t actively advising them on what’s good and what’s bad and cleaning up the mess that developed. It’s like leaving your dog in the house alone for a few hours and coming home to find the trash, the bedding, the dog food, and the couch cushions strung all over the place. If you’d been there it would never have gotten out of hand. So I do have to take some of the blame.
Thankfully, the autosave on the program I write on at home had saved about 20 minutes before the lock up. I ended up with 1600 words for the night instead of the 2000 I thought I had.
Only a minor tragedy.
Anyway, I spent about 2 hours last night becoming intimately involved with the un-install protocols for Windows 7. That looks like it’s solved the majority of the problem. I’m not going to be running the-latest-and-greatest-graphics-intensive games on that system anytime soon, but at least it’s usable and I don’t anticipate any future problems.
Afterwards, I went back to The Novel to try and reconstruct the missing piece. For 30 minutes I stared at the screen. I could remember the middle of the next section and the end, but I couldn’t retrieve that wonderful little transition I had come up with to get me there.
Finally, I gave up and typed ‘FIX THIS LATER’ in block letters and moved on to those middle and end sections. I did end up with about 800 words for that night, but I distinctly recall there being as much two or three thousand that would have come from the missing section and the ensuing development of the story.
Tolkien and Heinlein, with their pads full of longhand notes and Smith-Coronas, didn’t have this problem. I’m old enough to have used a typewriter in high school and college.
I wonder if I can find it.