And not the good kind.

There were no sparks or explosions. It went pretty quietly although it hit me like a ton of bricks. My laptop bit the dust. The hard drive, I'm told. Everything on it, four years of data, personal and professional, gone. You hear about it happening to other people, but never think it will happen to you. You've heard it a million times, "Back-up. Back-up." And I did. Sort of. At the constant urging of Steve, who bought me one of those flash drive thingees, I did have all of my manuscripts, including the two I'm working on, backed up on that portable stick thing and also on his big computer. But it never occurred to me to back up character charts, time lines, future story ideas, proposals, reviews, promo projects . . . you get the picture.

It's been suggested by friends that maybe some data can be saved. Steve looked into that. Nope. Nothing is irreplacable, he told me, trying to ease my panic. If you really need a piece of information you can find it, somewhere. Then he took me shopping for a shiny new laptop the very same day (yesterday) so I wouldn't lose any writing time. What a guy, huh? I'm telling myself everything happens for a reason. Maybe I needed to de-clutter my life a bit. Maybe I needed a clean slate. I have my imagination and a zippy new laptop. What more does a writer need?

So here I sit this morning, blogging with Ethel. That's right. I named my laptop. I've never done that before. It just sort of happened. She's slick and fast and does some pretty cool tricks. She probably deserves a hipper name, but Ethel's what came to mind. We have big plans for the day, Ethel, my imagination, and me. We're going to crank out several pages on ROMANCING THE WEST, then I'm going to give her a rest while I watch some fireworks. The good kind.

Happy Fourth of July everybody!


Mary Stella said…
Awww, B, big hugs for the passing of your previous laptop. I know the whole idea is stressful, but you CAN replace what was lost. It'll be a hassle and a time-sink, but you'll get it all together when you need to.

I think Ethel is the perfect name for the new laptop. Ethel was Lucy's sidekick, her companion and help-mate on all those madcap adventures. How perfect because Ethel the laptop will be your companion and helper on all the madcap adventures that you write!
Tori Lennox said…
*hugs* on losing stuff on the hard drive, Beth. My old laptop's screen died, but I couldn't access the hard drive to rescue the stuff that I'd done since my last big backup. So I know (sort of) how you're feeling. What kind of spiffy new laptop did you get?
Bob said…
I've changed computers an unbelievable half a dozen times since 1998, plus one brain transplant. Each time, I laboriously backed up everything, and a couple of times even reinstalled most of it. But I found the catharsis good, the starkness of starting over, the newness of unspoiled keys and uncluttered RAM. Creativity always sparked, too, the way it used to when I played a new guitar.

I've just named my computer Sally, thanks to your inspiration. She needed a name, not just the Toshiba (Tushy? Nah.) Satellite P35 her creators gave her. She just winked at me and said, "Sally needs backed up." Gotta go.
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi M! Love the Lucy and Ethel comparison. Totally works for moi! Madcap adventures are us. ;)

Wow, Tori. That had to hurt. You know my pain well. My CP and friend Julie just told me her rad drive crashed two weeks ago. She also lost everything except for her manuscripts which she had backed up. Must be something in ther air. Back-up, folks. BACK UP!
Beth Ciotta said…
Er, that was supposed to be 'hard' drive, not rad drive. Getting used to the feel of my new keys.

Bob, Ethel is a Toshiba too. Guess she and Sally are related! I'm not good with the technical lingo, but the booklet says she's a Satellite A100/A105 series. She has a lot more RAM than my last one, which Steve says is good. She burns DVDs and CDs and has a wide sreen. She's really fast. Bonus, she was on sale. Which is not to say Ethel is cheap. *g* We just got lucky.
chryscat said…
Condolences on the laptop. I'm so sorry!

Hooray for Ethel! You two have fun and make lots of memories.
Roni said…
Sorry to hear about your computer, Beth! Something similar happened to my daughter several years ago and they were able to save most of her data and reinstall it til she eventually got a new computer. BTW many of us name our computers. Also, one thing I do is, after I finish writing for the day, I print out my pages. So I always have a real copy. Besides, psychologically it's uplifting to see that growing pile of pages.
Hi to everyone here--I haven't been on line much lately. I had to finish revisions my editor asked for on a book, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good news now.
Jordan Summers said…
(((Hugs))) Beth! I'm so sorry to hear that. It's my worst nightmare. Truly. Have a Happy 4th and enjoy the new laptop. :)
Taylor said…
If that isn't a horror story of a horror story Beth! And it scares me even more because at the moment I'm commenting on my brand-new laptop. *Gulp*. I have a back-up program on my nifty new piece of computer here but you suggest a drive? We got one in our house for the one computer so at least I might not have to run out to a store to get a new one. Thanks Beth for the heads up in awarness. Sorry to hear about all you've faced. Someone should really turn this type of horror story into a movie!
Beth Ciotta said…
Crystal, thanks for the well wishes. Ethel and I are are getting along nicely.

Welcome back, Roni! Hope those edits weren't too painful. Hope your editor gives you a big thumbs up! So you named your computer too? And his/her name would be? As for printing out hard copies. I used to do that with the timelines and character sketches, things like that, and I'd put them in a notebook. Sorry I got out of that habit. Thanks for the reminder.
Beth Ciotta said…
Jordan, it was/is a nightmare. Be sure to back up daily. Hapy 4th to you too!!

Taylor, I think it's called a flash drive. A tiny looking stick like thing that you plug into your computer and then you transfer the files to it for safe keeping. I know people who swear by them. So you got a new laptop too? Did you name her? :)
Brooks said…
Something in the air, you say? It's something in the airless planetary system. The planet Uranus (no, I'm not setting up a joke) is in retrograde motion from June 19 to Nov 20 this year. In astrological terms, Uranus in retrograde plays havoc with everything electrical. I suspected as much when my computer, also, started exhibiting strange behavior earlier last month.

So, I laboriously started backing up the most important stuff, but kept putting off installing the new hard drive that I was going to install as an extra drive. I kept using the machine until it unceremoniously told me that it was unrecoverably error ridden and wasn't going to boot up anymore. Installed new drive, re-installed Windows XP and several programs with backed-up data
and, like you, back in the saddle again.

There are data recovery specialist out there somewhere who can extract
the data from your old defunct hard drive and return it to you for a fee. It might be worth it to you. Another thing to research.

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