As a writer, I will not complain about my computer, especially contemplating life as a writer back in the 1800’s. Consider Herman Melville. He wrote his thousand-page novel, Moby Dick, completely by hand. His fingers must have been numb by the end of the day. Consider Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough. He had a little shed behind his house on Martha’s Vineyard. In this cramped space he worked on a manual typewriter (circa 1940), producing gems like The Wright Brothers and John Adams.
Out of respect for Melville and McCullough, I will try not to complain. That said, here is my little story about how a computer can turn around and bite an unsuspecting writer.
On June 15th in the early morning hour, I went upstairs to work on my 60,000- word manuscript entitled Lucia of Fatima. It was a third draft, requiring spit and polish. After an hour, I saved the document on a flash-drive and went downstairs for breakfast. I ate my oatmeal and returned to the computer. I clicked on the document only to discover that Lucia had vanished. I searched in Downloads. I searched in Documents. I searched in iCloud. Lucia had evaporated into the stratosphere. Microsoft support tried to find it. Apple support tried to find it. A kind friend with computer savvy searched. Another expert in computers used software to scan the flash-drive. Empty-handed, everyone.
All appeared to be lost. Now here is where Gandalf rides to the rescue on his white horse. Gandalf, in the person of my husband, quietly pulled out a paper folder marked Lucia. “Is this a recent draft?” he asked. He had served as a friendly reader in the rewriting process. Sure enough, it was!
Thanks to technology, I can use voice to text and dictate the story into Microsoft Word, avoiding the arduous task of starting all over again.
Now for my point. Computers can be your worst enemy or your best friend. Not so my husband. Nearly forty years of married life proves to me that he has been my hero through thick and thin, through technological glitches and even vanishing manuscripts.