Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

Computer Hiatus

My idea was to hurry and finish the final edits to my new novel RETURN TICKET before my cataract surgeries so I could conclude the process of being published before Christmas. I stared hard to make commas and periods stop playing tricks on me, each pretending to be the other. In spite of their antics, I was making good progress that excited me. I had only 30 pages to go to complete Edit #5. I moved my finger toward the SAVE button, thinking my next session would take me to Edit #6 with the end in sight. But suddenly the screen went berserk. And then it went black—never to return. My image generator was dead.

If you’ve ever lived 100-200 miles from electronics stores, you can imagine the depth of my panic. I had emailed copies of my manuscript to readers and myself, so I wasn’t entirely without recourse, but the copies didn’t include my most current work. If my surgeries hadn’t been looming, I might have been able to contain my alarm. But with my history volunteering for organizations for the blind, I was already imagining traumas that could happen to my sight post-surgery. My anxiety mushroomed. Fiction writers are not good at avoiding melodramatic fantasies.

I bought a new computer from the closest authorized Apple outlet since I was warned that to switch to a PC would endanger data in the transfer, but it had to be shipped to me at the ranch—I never understood why. The scheduled ship date came and went because of snow. We called the local UPS feeling doomed because the adjusted delivery time would drop it on our doorstep in freezing temperatures after my husband and I had left for my pre-op appointment—also a hundred miles away—or the box would be returned to local UPS storage and be inaccessible for who-could-say-how long. A confused young delivery man handed me the precious box as my husband and I were donning coats to leave. Whew! I still didn’t know how much of my manuscript had survived. I was forced to wait for data transfer appointments.

We can view our near-misses as good or bad fortune. As I write, my left eye is healing itself with a new “windshield” and I have the fifth edit of my book at my command on my new machine. I learned that the personnel of an authorized computer outlet aren’t as extensively trained as those in a bona fide Apple outlet, whose time is stingily portioned out in cost-effective bits, but they eventually get the job done. My husband’s empathetic panic led him to buy me terabyte data storage that can probably hold the Akashic Records of all humankind. Meanwhile, my surgery has excused me from doing laundry, tending the dishwasher, or making beds for a few days. Not a bad gift.

Friends and my husband preserved my patience. A couple enthusiastic readers told me the delay of publication is probably for good reason. Perhaps the detours will bring the release of RETURN TICKET to a perfect time for numbers of people who are curious about Near Death Experiences and what survivors bring back—or for people who simply enjoy reading my fiction. Self-publishing is an adventure land where triumph and disaster play together. Optimism is required. In fact, in life, optimism is always a wise companion.

Thus I return to this blog space a wiser person. I’m trusting that the lesson in this experience will be worth the angst. Welcome back to anyone who was waiting for me!

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