Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Err: My brain has not been formatted

When my computer had a horrible virus I made sure to back everything up. Then the computer died but that’s okay I had everything backed up. Then another computer died but that’s okay because I still had everything backed up.
I had put everything on my flash drive. Well, when you don’t have a computer your flash drive becomes the only thing with your work on it and it would seem reasonable that you should back everything up somewhere else, right? Too bad this occurred to me after I went to open the files on my flash drive only to have it say “this disk has not been formatted” and a ‘properties’ check showed there is, indeed, nothing on it.
How did it happen? The last time I plugged it in at the library I made sure the red light was off before removing it but I hadn’t ended up using it so whether or not it had been erased then, I don’t know.

I know that some of my stuff is saved in e-mails, most of it, at least the finished stuff, has been printed out or was hand-written originally, but the sad truth is that some of it is lost forever.

Once again, just like not having a computer has given me more time to write and less time to waste on the Internet, I think good can come of this. Maybe the stuff that was lost wasn’t all that good. I still have the ideas in my head or maybe even written down in some giant stack of notes. Sometimes you have to start from scratch in order to let go of the bad stuff that you felt loyal to.

For instance, most of what I had written for Human Decency is gone. I still have notes and character outlines but the actual first pages are gone. Maybe it's not all bad. I could now start over on Human Decency for NaNoWriMo. I had taken so much time away from it anyway, maybe starting over is best.

And right now I’m reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It’s a memoir book and she writes about how her family would never stay in one place very long. Her mother was an artist and a writer. Whenever they would leave somewhere they would only take what they could fit in their car and a lot of times her mother would leave behind almost all of her work. I keep thinking about that whenever I get upset about my disk that has gone blank.


D.B. Echo said...

Wow. That sucks.

Don't discard anything yet. Somebody, somehow may be able to retrieve your files from the dead computers, and maybe even the Flash drive.

I think Best Buy will back up any available data (up to 9 GB) from your hard drive for a set fee - $99, I think. Somebody may also be able to recover data from your Flash drive. As many an Internet criminal has discovered, "deleted" files are often still present on a hard drive; their space has simply been marked as freely available for overwriting. This may also be true of Flash drives.

I think we should think of Flash drives as nothing more than handy data transfer devices. Any data storage system is inherently fragile and ephemeral. DVD-Rs can crack, or get wet and have their recording surface get damaged; external hard drives can fail; even offsite storage can catch fire.

Maybe - and this is probably too late to suggest this - but maybe you should consider doing this in the future: Create a new blog and store all your writing on it - either the primary copies or redundant backups. Set it up so it is a "private" blog that only you can view. Essentially you will be creating on offsite data storage location using the blogging service's servers for storage,, one that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection.

I just had another computer failure, this time with the laptop. Fine. I'm going to locate a cheap, reliable, bare-bones desktop system that I can set up for my mom to check her e-mail. When I find one, I'll let you know!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I am so sorry! That is just awful.

Ashley said...

Whim- thanks the condolences are appreciated.

D.B.- I knew better than to save it on there but I thought it would be just to put it on to my next computer. Had I realized that the second computer would go I would have come up with a better plan.
I'm going to look into seeing if anyone can help but I'm slightly broke with having to buy a new computer.