I hate that feeling, you know? That one where your entire world seems to shatter? Where you just can't breathe, and then you think to yourself, what the hell did I do wrong? Why didn't I think of taking the steps to prevent this?
Now here is the part where you realize I'm not talking about any real life shattering events, but rather a flash drive and a story I've invested almost 2 years into. Hopefully you can understand my distress.
When I was in high school, I started writing. Like, seriously writing. I would write fan-fictions (which I consider to be real writing) for the X-Files, my then-favorite show. Reading them back today, my ideas fascinate me--my grammar, though? Not so much.. But the point is, this was the start of my favorite hobby: writing.
After my X-Files phase faded, I dabbled with a few Buffy/Angel fictions which never seemed to go anywhere. Had the great ideas, and all, but I never got around to writing them. I started stories for Fastlane, and House, and even X-Men (the movies), but they've yet to make it out of my flashdrive.
My latest fanfic has been my biggest problem to date. It is a series I'm writing about Supernatural--a show one could argue that saved my life. Like all my other works, I have vested many a nights planning, plotting, and working through the fine print. There are days where I have to remind myself to eat, because I'm so engrossed, I don't dare to stop. Nevertheless, this entry is not about my story, or my sick obsession with it--it's about technology.
I've worked on this story for 2 years, and history has told me not to trust technology. Time and time again, I've lost my work due to: corruption, viruses, and crashing computers. This is why I find the concept of a flash drive so amazing. You can take your files with you, wherever you go. It's brilliant. Brings me back to high school and those darn floppy disks--yes you heard me right, floppies. I was part of the floppy generation, and I had a whole case of the colorful ones.
My most tragic floppy moment was when my mother spilled coffee over my fiction's disk; it was a blue one which eventually dried and worked again, but it was still traumatic. Almost as bad as the virus I got that corrupted my word douments--but not as tragic as losing all my work in a house fire; that one seems to top the cake.
History tells me not to trust this technology, but the technology makes it so easy and tempting to trust it. So what do I do? Currently, I use an 8GB flash drive my friends bought me as a graduation gift. I have all my stories on there, and can easily pull them on screen wherever I am. Home, office, library, a friends house. It's so easy to just sit down and continue writing no matter where I go. Imagine my amazement when I realized I could edit my stories from my work computer, I was ecstatic. When I'm not needed at work, rather than read a book, I can write one; it's amazing.
The only problem is that I'm using a MAC, and have not yet converted myself. No worries, though, neoOffice can read my files, and save them too.. So I work a little, here and there, and go home. Spent all Sunday writing When it Rains, only to save it and watch my life shatter in front of me. "Incompatible" "Encoding" "Decoding" My eyes lit up in horror. ABORT! ABORT! my head screams. Just close the document, and you will be ok! --ok!! I think and shut the program.
To my surprise, that catastrophe actually deleted my entire file. 20 pages of my story--gone in a flash. I felt sick to my stomach. I've lost things my whole life, and here I am losing more. It sucks! I try to find it, try to find a temporary word file, but there are none. It's gone forever. And how will I recapture what I've written? It took me about a week to perfect my "Dean tortures Mariah" scene, and who knows what else was in there. 20 pages, that's a ton! I just want to cry, and curl up and die.
My heart tells me not to give up. If the story is so important to me, which it is, I will be able to do it again. Better, maybe, although it never seems that way to me. I just want to throw my computer out the window; flush my flashdrive down the toilet. I'm so angry, but I somehow find the strength to search google for the answers. I type in the error fields, and what happened; nothing. I can't find any such error between macs and pcs, office and neooffice. I just give up. I watch tv, and try again in 15 minutes. Then I find Recuva, a free software which recovers lost files---Alas! my hope is restored. I try so hard not to get excited--will it find it? will it find anything? will it have the piece I worked on for hours today? Or will it find nothing and ask me to buy a registration code. I don't know. I run the scan, and find a bunch of files, but not my story.
I dig deeper; preform an advanced level scan, and cross my fingers. It finds it! I can't believe it! I'm so happy, but as I recover it and open it, there is that stupid encoding box, telling me it can't figure out the language of the text. ENGLISH! The default language of computers everywhere! Seriously, what the hell? How can it not figure this out? I want to cry again.
I recover a bunch of unnamed files, random numbers and such; most of them won't open either. Then I get to one that I overlooked, and there it was! I recognized the highlighted text immediately. I was so happy! I couldn't believe it. Was this happening? Was it real? I copied and pasted it into google documents for safe keeping. I don't think I'll be using anything else.
It sucks when life comes crashing down on you; you don't know what to do, or what you could have done differently. I know there are worse things in life than losing a computer file, but it still sucks, especially when you put so much work into it. I'm just glad this tale has a happy ending. I don't think I could have survived another loss.