It’s strange how placid you can be when bad things happen. And here’s the thing: bad things happen. It’s isn’t you. It’s not that you can’t catch a break. It’s that none of us do.
So my bad thing is that my computer died (this is why I am in love with libraries). I have only one, a little laptop I could only afford because of work related discounts. At first I thought it was the hard drive. It powered on, but would not boot. Simple? No. Upon deeper testing, it was discovered that in my tiny computer’s Byzantine depths of etched copper and stratified plastic a different sort of failure had occurred. The logic board was apparently bad.
Interesting. Except, fool that I am, there were two important files I had not backed up. One, a recent photo poem, and two… my novel. Tens of thousands of words gone like burnt paper. The image I can possibly recreate, taking a day’s labor. The novel, well, it’s an awful lot of words.
Everything else? Fine. Safely on cloud services and flash drives of candy colors. The computer itself is still under warranty.
But here’s the thing: my secret identity is Backup Girl, ensuring data everywhere is safe from those inevitable crashes, yet what had I done? I’d failed to preserve two pieces of the best work I’d produced to date. What kind of superhero was I?
One who out of shame blurts out Plath-like over-dramatics, that’s what. I don’t even like cooking with gas ovens.
The reality is this: we all fuck up like this. All of us. We make these mistakes once every few years and rebound, because what’s the alternative? It’s not even that other folk are suffering worse losses than I (and I assure you, they are), but that we’re all bound to have our crack at it (just you wait, I’ll lose everything I have to a fire the day I get my Alzheimer’s diagnosis). I can look at it as if life is persecuting me, or I can see myself in others and their similar problems.
And when it comes down to it, it’s like I’ve been saying since the weekend: at least the poetry is safe. Prose I can rewrite. It may even get better for it. But poetry only comes out that way once.
I also get to live with the teasing from my initial spasms of Plath. Well deserved.