Some years ago I visited my good friends who lived in Ghana. Having never been to the country before (and not availing myself, beforehand, of any information on the subject), I expected that the capital, Accra, would probably be similar in appearance to Nairobi, Kenya, a city I have never had the pleasure to travel to, but which I have often seen on television for one reason or another. As it turned out, I could not have been more far off in my assumptions (which, as we all know, make an ass out of…..etc.) Accra was nothing like Nairobi, at least it wasn’t then and I’m talking a good fifteen years ago. There were no elegant sky scrapers, no exclusive shopping district, no tree-lined avenues. Mind you, I was not disappointed, not at all. I was just, well, expecting something else.
As I was being driven around the capital, I had the distinct impression that successful navigation from one place to another was only possible if one was privy to the peculiar approach Accra city planners appeared to have employed when it came to road construction. Why? Well, because many of their roadways had the unfortunate habit of coming, out of the blue and for no visible reason, to an abrupt end! The paved surface went just so far and no further, as if torrential rains washed the rest away, leaving a steep drop off onto dirt and stones. Perhaps their (the planners) reasoning was akin to something like this: “O.K., we need a road going from point A to point B. The whole thing will probably cost more than we have to spend but let’s just start and see how far we get.” Drivers, ignorant of this unique approach to building, found themselves faced with no choice other than to make a U-turn and go back, as Archie Bunker used to put it, “to where youse came from”. I mention all this because I am ready to kill myself.
The powers that be, the ones in charge of constructing the road my life was to travel, must have been emulated the aforementioned Accra planners with the result that I, the ignorant driver, have reached the end of my pavement. Unlike those poor unfortunates behind the wheel in Accra, making a U-turn, in my case, is not an option; mine is the proverbial point of no return. Once again I have been driven, but this time only to the inescapable conclusion that it’s curtain time. How could it not be? The monumental betrayal I have just been made to suffer can only be interpreted as a message from the gods, to wit, get lost, shove off, bye bye.
The perpetrator of this heinous, unforgivable transgression against my person is none other than my faithful companion, the muse to my writer’s soul and heart, my collaborator and partner! How can I possibly go on living with the knowledge that I have been so viciously stabbed in the back? I know not.
His name is Mac. Though we only met a year ago, it was love at first sight and I was sure that we were destined to spend the rest of our, dare I say it?natural lives together. The gruesome betrayal came to light just yesterday, after several hours of slaving away over my newest manuscript. Tired and ready to call it quits for the day, the last task I was going to perform, was to copy and paste a cover page to my new opus. Too lazy to type all my contact details yet again, I decided it was simpler just to use the first page of a manuscript I had just finished, one I had spent untold hours polishing to a high luster.
I am a very organized person. For each one of my projects I create a folder, and everything that has to do with that particular work such as a query, synopsis, chapter outline, notes, references, etc., all are placed in this folder for ease of retrieval. Imagine then my shock when I opened the appropriate folder and found….oh, the horror! that my entire gem of a manuscript was not there! The whole damn thing was gone, lost, missing in action! The only version present was a much earlier draft , devoid of the flashes of literary brilliance which came to me only later. At first I thought that, perhaps, I had accidentally saved it elsewhere. Quickly opening the Search box I typed in the file name and pressed Enter. After a second or two Mac, the bastard, unceremoniously informed me that “no match was found”. Increasingly alarmed, I Googled for more assistance, going so far as downloading document retrieval software in case I had somehow, in a moment of insanity (which denial must prevent me now from recalling), deleted my masterpiece! Despite the software’s best efforts, it was an exercise in futility.
So there you are! I have been sabotaged by my own trusty computer! All that work shot to hell or into the deepest bowels of this machine, which is refusing to admit possessing the stolen booty, much less to return it! I am beside myself with grief over the loss and my will to live is all but gone!
Oh my God! I just thought of something! What am I going to do when all the agents I have already queried, contact me, en masse, begging to receive the (now non-existent) brilliant piece of creative writing? What am I going to send them? Damn!
To all who read this: Do not make the same mistake I did! Use whatever means suits you best, be it the Cloud, an external drive, a memory stick, or whatever, but save everything and constantly, or you too will be propelled to the end of your road! (or rope, if this metaphor is more to your liking).
Farewell cruel world, I will take my leave, if not just yet, then as soon as I decide which method will be best to use. There are, after all, so many possibilities…..It might take me some time. I’ll keep you posted.