The stars bear down on us…

I think that’s a literal translation of  ‘catastrophe’, isn’t it? In the event, things have looked up again (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog). Random thought: why don’t we have the word ‘anastrophe’ in English? Is it because all English-speaking people are supposed to be pessimists (which in Britain could be attributed to the long tradition of Puritanism, and the weather…)

Anyhow, to be less cryptic: the hard drive on my computer joined the Choir Invisible and had to be replaced with a new one. A mere nuisance, you might say; it takes time to re-establish all your website bookmarks and e-mail accounts (it did, I assure you, which is most of the reason I’ve been silent for three weeks), but since you’ve backed up all your files, you haven’t lost anything. And indeed, I’m assiduous about backing up. I do it once a week, using my Kingston device – you know, the pen thing you stick into the back of your computer.

Now, what makes you suppose the next word in this blog will be ‘Unfortunately’?

Unfortunately, a few of the files in the back-up device were corrupted and couldn’t be opened, copied, moved or printed (especially since I couldn’t persuade my printer to operate again until very recently). So I right-clicked on the Kingston, went into ‘Tools’, and instructed the system to repair the damage. It was most obedient. Several of the corrupted files were restored to pristine health. However, the others were deleted permanently. These included the two files containing all the text of my nascent novel – about 40,000 words in total. I drank a quantity of gin.

My computer wizard friend Gary came to the rescue. At cost of a morning’s work (and a significant bill to me) he managed to retrieve versions of these two files from the old hard drive – so I got 28,000 words back. I think Gary saved me four weeks of work, forty hours per week. The novel is now back on track.

So is my blogging. With any luck I’ll be able to post another blog in a few days, but right now I’m getting back to writing!


  • Yikes! But at least you were able to retrieve MOST of it…

    Many years ago I had a similar situation (defunct computer) that quickly taught me to back things up on a disk… and then print it anyway because of not trusting the disk. Now, however–and especially when dealing with longer works–I’ve taken to emailing it to myself and saving it in a folder in my email… so long as I never get my email hacked, it should be perfectly safe! And it’s accessible from any computer from which I can log in to my email.

    • Mark Henderson

      Interestingly, Dana recommended the same trick – e-mailing the manuscript to myself and keeping it in the inbox. I might try it. Meanwhile, I’m still copying to the Kingston and making vain attempts to save the material on CD as well (but the D and E drives have stopped working… I believe my computer is emulating my state of advancing decrepitude). Howsoever, the novel starts to take shape again. It will probably take me to the end of the calendar year to complete the draft (assuming no further mishaps) but the preliminary steps in the journey of a thousand miles have been taken!

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