Thursday, October 27, 2005

Computer Woes

There’s nothing like a computer meltdown to focus one’s priorities. My computer crashed Tuesday morning and after scurrying around to the computer fix-it-guy I got the worst possible news: my hard drive was dead.

This is the hard drive that has all my files for my book, the last two years of my family photos, all the e-mails I archived, including those containing articles from the historical database of the Los Angeles Times. In short, everything that mattered to me.

The good news is that I had backed up the files for my book a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately, I lost the chapter I had been slaving over, the one I felt had a few breakthrough passages.

I am trying to be philosophical. It doesn’t come naturally. I know, I know. Everyone even a bit computer literate is supposed to back up their files regularly. But I never thought it would happen to me.

On a happy note, our television is broken, too. So with no Internet access and no other diversions, I actually got a lot of writing done!


daniel olivas said...

oh no! who was that author covered by p&w whose manuscript went up in smoke when her house burned down...and then she relied on her friends to recreate a new book? i hate middle age! can't remember a darn thing. anyway, sorry to hear about the crash. hand in there.

ed said...

Sweet Jeebus. That's terrible. I had this happen to me once and I was depressed for days, before plunging forward anew. (You've still got the chops and no technological collapse can erase that.)

However, if you lost anything pivotal, there are numerous data reconstruction services around here that specialize in reconstructing a drive's sectors after it's gone kaput. It may cost you a song, but it might be worth looking into.

Frances said...

It was Maxine Hong Kingston who lost her entire manuscript in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. It took her years to redo it.

Michelle said...

Oh, yikes! Were you able to recover the three years of photographs? Sorry to hear about the chapter you'd invested so much time in.

If it's any consolation (& I'm sure it's not), Reinaldo Arenas lost multiple manuscripts while trying to write in Castro's Cuba. Some were confiscated, some were left at friends' homes for safekeeping and lost to unknown circumstances. Again and again he started his completed novel over from scratch! I probably would have called it quits on round two.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I had the same thing happen about a year back. Luckily, the tech guys where I work (ironically a "dying media" old-fashioned newspaper) were able to hook up another computer to my computer's remains and retrieve the text files I needed. If you know (or can find) anyone with similar talents/software, it might be worth a try. Hell, my computer wouldn't even turn on or boot up and they were able to resurrect its vital remnants.