When Our Tools Break

Today, I designed and printed a flyer for RWI to hand out at the Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ book signing scheduled for Thursday.  After making 25 copies, I realized I put the wrong room number on it, but because I was running late for my mammogram, (Short plug: if you’re a woman over 50, have you had a mammogram lately?  Huh?) I had to wait until I came back home to re-do it.

But when I returned to my computer, it died!  Ack!  My stomach clenched and my adrenaline level spiked.  Okay, okay….don’t panic.  Take it one step at a time.  First, let’s do a shut-down and re-boot.  What??  What do you mean my cursor is now frozen?  It wasn’t a minute ago!   Another stomach clench and screaming at the computer.  “What is wrong with you?  How can you do this to me when I keep you covered with a nice blanket of dust?” 

No, I didn’t say that, but this is a family blog and we can’t use the language I did.  Bottom line…after replacing my track ball, doing a hard re-boot (pulling the power plug twice), and more screaming, I eventually bullied my computer to a point where I could do a proper shut-down.  By then, I’ve upchucked my lunch, developed a pounding headache, and am crying like a baby.  So I did what any self-respecting writer would do…my computer and I took a nap.

And it worked.  When we both awoke, we worked perfectly.

The point of this entire blog is what happens to writers when their tools fail them.  Yes, I’ve written using pencil and paper, but I’m addicted to using a computer nowadays.  The irony of my anxiety attack is that I have a laptop and a netbook to use as a back-up.  I have a portable printer I can use to print off pages.  Heck, I even have an app on my iPhone I can use to write if I don’t mind using my pinky.

But important point is, I was betrayed.  That computer and I have been through good times and bad.  It has place of honor in my living room.  I make sure it always has the best paper and ink cartridges available.  I dust it more than I do any other piece of furniture in my house.  How could it put me through this torment?

See if I ever trust it again.

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12 thoughts on “When Our Tools Break

  1. Jackie,

    I HATE it when my technology lets me down. Really. I get crazy stomping mad. My last PC had something electric go, the motherboard, I think. Anyway, you’d be typing away and it would just reboot. I couldn’t get anything done. I took it to the shop and it took them eons just to diagnose the problem. Then it took them so long to fix it, I moved from OK without it. spw

  2. I’m agreeing with Sandee on this! I HATE when anything I own doesn’t work right. IF my fuse is short, I can rival the fireworks company just down the road from me.

    Glad things got worked out.

  3. I know how stressed you were yesterday, Jackie. I’m SO glad the nap worked…for both of you! I’m right up there with you about things not working when their suppose to. I don’t know of one person that would simply say, “Oh, dear. Well, I guess that’s that.” then walk away. No one should be around to see – or be in the way of – our meltdowns.

  4. The last time I had the chi-chis out, I found out that I know the husband and mother-in-law of the technician who’s done my mammos for YEARS and she knew all the people I used to work with back before I was married. Can’t believe it took us all this time to actually TALK.

    Bob’s computer crashed last week. Deader than a doornail. I pray over mine every day. Even though I use a desktop, netbook and laptop, I don’t have all the stuff on any one computer.

    I need a back-up flash drive.

    • Oh, thanks for the reminder to back stuff up, Marilyn. We have an external hard drive we back up to periodically. But not every night. Bad, Linda, bad, Linda! One of these, after I’ve had a particularly productive day and didn’t do a backup, the sucker will die on me. I just know it.

      • I wrote two or three new pages today on the netbook, and suddenly the cursor went whacko. It scrolled nonstop for a couple minutes, then deleted the previous chapter and saved the new pages in its place. Thank heavens I have it in several places so it wasn’t lost.

        One of my favorite ways to back up my document files is to send a copy of it to my email address. That way I can access it from any computer.

    • Uhh, yeah! I back up all my writing to a flash once a month, based on my computer guru’s advice. See, Sandee, I DO listen to you. In fact, I have 8 flash drives with ALL my files backed up…even my music.

      • I use Dropbox on all my machines. Not only does it back up files to the ‘Net, but no matter what machine I’m using, whatever I put in one Dropbox, automatically goes all the others.

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