Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A rocky start

The first of November is FINALLY here! YAY!! Now, now, I can FINALLY get to writing my NaNoWriMo book. Huzzah!

I leapt out of bed this morning, and even though I was shivering (my sock-covered feet were frozen blocks of ice!!), I hurried the dog along as he went outside to do his business so I could sit at the computer to start blissfully writing. Yes! My Muse was FINALLY set free! I could finally write this story building within me! I couldn't be more pleased. I couldn't be more excited! I couldn't be more anxious to get started!!

I couldn't get the computer to work.

Alarmed, I realized that once again my computer was acting up. I don't know WHAT in the world is wrong with it, really, but when I explained what it was doing to my neighbor's teenaged son, Jeremy, he said it sounded like a virus. (Oh, bleep.) I tried what worked last time in getting the thing to work again: Restarting it ad naseum until it righted itself. (That and turning it off for a little bit then restarting it.) I also tried to frantically save my files to a CD the last time this happened, but my only CD is too full for EVERYTHING and I couldn't figure out how to format or overwrite on the darn thing. But, yes, going about my businesss, anyway, was what got the computer to "right" itself last time. This time, I did not try that at first. For some reason. I just thought that restarting it would do the trick.

And in between the waiting periods for my next attempt to turn the computer back on, I grabbed a notebook I'd been scribbling my novel revision notes in and started writing. First I wrote my PTP blog post. The one I was too tired to write last night. Then I started writing up notes and sketches for my NaNoWriMo book. (Sheesh. I need to start calling it something else. I keep being reminded of "Mork & Mindy" every time I type that.) As my next attempt to get the computer to work failed miserably, I sat there pondering whether or not I'd be able to do this new book using good old pen and paper. I don't have a typewriter anymore. I lost my typewriter when I lost all that stuff I had in that garage before I moved. (And it was my FIRST typewriter, too!! I wrote my very first novel on that thing!! *bawls*) I just know an editor is going to tell me, "Dawn, there is no way and no how I'll accept a handwritten manuscript." I don't like writing first drafts on the computer. I just can't, really. Natalie Goldberg got it right when she said, "Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart." This is so true for me. I'm a notebook writer. Not a computer writer! Ick! But, this being NaNu-I mean, NaNoWriMo, and all, I have to type up the first draft. *sigh* Not. Happy.

Especially since you can see what I'm working with here. Infernal machine. Grr!

As the morning dragged on and I was flying in between the dining room and kitchen, cooking breakfast and checking the computer yet again, I pondered the possibility that Jeremy might be home and willing to avail himself to rescuing me from my technological quagmire. Part of me was dreading that some unseen virus was eating away at all of my files stored in that hard drive. That all the time I spent on fixing up my novel and writing everything else would go to waste as every single one of those files suddenly disappeared now and forevermore. (I have actually lost unprinted/unsaved writing before, thanks to just such a virus courtesy of the makers of the Kodak CDs! You can only imagine my despair over losing all of it, one of which was an article I sold and was having difficulty in getting paid for and another of which was my second attempt to write a script!) I stressed over this and in between flipping pancakes and yet again failing to get the computer to work, an idea struck me. I knew just exactly how I could save at least some of my newer works, sans CD: Email them to myself! Yes! I could do it! I could barely see anything on the darn screen but I could navigate the mouse by memory and just click-click until I managed to extract my newer files (like my novel!!) from the crippled hard drive then email them to my Web-based email account. I have done this before, when I was going out of town and wanted to have certain files available to work on (and, before you say it, I don't trust relying only on a CD or disk to take along with me. Who knows what disaster awaits them??). So I set to work, finishing up the cooking in between the clicking. I logged into my Web-based email account and clicked "Attachments." I tentatively waited, praying the computer didn't conk out on me again, watching that blue bar thingy slowly, verrrry slooowwwly, chug along, then I had to turn away to do something and when I came back, saw that the computer had....shut down again.


I wanted to scream. I stood there, frozen, mentally pleading with the computer that it wouldn't blow up, or anything. Destroying my work it kept locked away from my grasp. I numbly watched as it came back on and...it was working JUST FINE!!! YAY!!!!!

I excitedly jumped up and down, cheering, "It's working! It's working!" My daughter, who sat at a nearby table, with her plate of food in front of her, smiled as she cheered "yay!!" and clapped. We high-fived and, now more relaxed, I sat down to eat. Yes! I HAD to eat first, before I could use the computer to start WRITING. The rule in the house is that mealtimes are spent together at the table. And it was breakfast, so I had to eat up the pancakes and scrambled eggs I cooked.

I just moved a little more faster this time, anticipating the free time I would soon have to get to work.


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