Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Losing It

      Last week, I leaned aside to check my research notes on PT for injured athletes and when I leaned back somehow erased all 30,000 words of my WIP for The Bad Boy Sinner. I tried the undo thingy and the find search. All I got was a blank title page--at which point I burst into tears. I am not a person who cries often or over things easily fixed.  I knew I had backed up the entire manuscript on a flash drive the day before and only done a light revision on the last chapter and written a few sentences before the calamity occurred. A great deal of the book had also been saved to an external hard drive. I used to print out every day's production, too, but finally gave that up as a waste of paper.

      My abundance of caution grew out of losing forever the first one hundred pages of my third book, then entitled Hartz but since retitled A Taste of Bayou Water at the request of my publisher who said Hartz reminded her of cheap pet food . It was the last name of my geek hero, Jonathan Hartz. I do like its current title better. This was way back around 2006. We carried our computer tower to a supposed expert, and even he couldn't get those pages back. I grieved for two weeks, couldn't write another word. Then, I put on the proverbial big girl panties and started all over again. Of course, it wasn't exactly the same story. In fact, a man I'd figured for a villain turned into a colorful local character, Old Thibodeaux, who gets the last word in the book. I created a much better bad guy and a better book, but I don't recommend using this technique for inspiration to anyone.

     Now, here I sat sobbing my heart out for half an hour. Toward the end as I followed my thoughts, the crying jag wasn't about losing those words at all. My mind quickly segued to not having many sales for my existing thirty books because all my author's events had been cancelled for the entire year. No, it wasn't really about that either as fortunately, I don't rely on my sales for income. Next in line came how much I missed seeing my author friends and a few fans at these events. Then, I trotted on to not having book club or my art group for an alternate outlet as all those meetings had been cancelled.

     Before I knew it, I'd reached how poorly the Covid epidemic had been handled in this country with constant outbreaks keeping me home and inside since February and still afraid to go out because I believe we will have another flare up now that our state in opening with caution and others with impunity. Let's say I won't be vacationing in Florida any time soon. On to being banned from travelling in most of the world. I love to travel, and all the virtual offerings simply are not the same as going to a foreign country and experiencing it first hand: sights, sounds, smells, great food and bad, discovering a quaint shop or little museum not on the itinerary. I once said I wrote for travel money. That income got me to Costa Rica and Alaska, Ireland and Iceland. Next year, I'll be lucky to get out of state.

     That wasn't even the end of my grief.  I entered the quagmire of our current politics. I won't go into particulars, only that I didn't think I could survive another four years of ugly and crazy. Might as well die of Covid before that happens. Finally, I dried my eyes, not wanting my husband who had gone for a solitary bike ride to come home and find me a complete mess for no reason. When he did arrive, I told him about my loss of verbiage. He picked up the flash drive and voila! I had my book back. I wrote a little more, but had lost my concentration and just saved what little I'd added.

     I spewed this incident on Facebook. Say what you will about FB, my friends can be awfully comforting there. One, Tonette who often comments here, remarked that she had another friend who held emotions in and when she dropped a glass and a spoon in the sink, suddenly started crying out of control. The lost words were my glass and spoon. How right she was. Others confessed to suffering from the low grade depression or worse that is afflicting so many of us this long, never ending year. I have lots of company. In the end, I felt better for letting go, if a little foolish. I don't think I'll need to do that again for a while. My daughter says she will move to Nova Scotia if the election results goes contrary to her desire. My final thought on this--I've never been to Nova Scotia and might like it there, too.


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