Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crash and Burn





So. I crashed my computer. The hard drive spun out of control, and when the dust settled, I sat slack-jawed and reeling as I stared at a black screen of death that used to be my desktop.

Amid my wailing and gnashing of teeth, I had an epiphany. Okay, that last part was a lie. I just wanted to say that something good came from the experience. The truth? Life sucks without a computer. Which, I suppose if you want to be technical, is an epiphany of sort. Not on the level of a manifestation of Christ, but still a coming to Jesus moment.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a multi-device wielding person. So while my desktop languished in the emergency room hooked up to diagnostic machines, I read email on my iPhone, composed work documents on my MacBook, and listened to music on my iPod. Some people drink Kool-Aid. Me? I ate the apple.

But it wasn't the same.

I didn't know the extent of my loss. Was it superficial? Or did that black screen hide internal injuries that would lead to a full system failure? Waiting truly is the hardest part.

To keep busy, I jotted notes about the scenes I had written before the crash. It had been a stellar day of writing. My external hard drive held a backup of my files from the six days prior, so even at worst, I'd only lose about five (gulp) thousand words (the BEST damn five thousand words I'd ever crafted, I'm certain). I picked up my pencil--a blue mechanical Pentel, with 0.7mm lead and a squishy finger rest--and started writing. Plus, I had a whole package of lead that didn't require an electrical outlet for power, which, in light of recent events, struck me as particularly prudent.

Writing longhand taps a different part of a person's brain. In some ways it's similar to how fear activates one's limbic system. Everything is simplified. Fight or flight. Write or don't. There's no solitaire, no Facebook, no tweets, no distractions. Just a white page awaiting little marks that eventually coalesce into words.

And the words came, and the sentences flowed, and the stories formed. Ye, even without a desktop, life was good.

Which in retrospect, I suppose is the real epiphany.

Here endeth the lesson.


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