Confession and excuse time, and a recommendation.
It was my turn to blog this week, and I dropped the ball. And I'm not even going to try to pick it up now. But I am going to make of myself a cautionary tale for writers in the modern age.
Don't disrespect your computer.
I love my laptop. It's red and shiny and not too heavy and we've been through a lot together. But in computer years, it's old. It's official date of being placed in service is only March 31, 2009, but I'm hard on my electronics, stuffing them in bags and hauling them everywhere.
And it has been dying a slow, painful death for several months now, a cascading failure that was exacerbated when I spilled a glass of delicious hard cider in its vicinity, a fair amount of which apparently found its way in through the side ports. Now it runs painfully slowly (it has taken me 12 minutes to type this much of this post). A significant number of its keys don't work, so I keep the character map open for copy and pasting things like the dash, the underscore, and a few numbers. Every once in a while I'll discover another dead key. Sometimes the battery will charge, often it won't. You get the picture.
But I didn't want a new computer. I love my computer. I hated Vista when it came out, but I really don't want to be forced to go to Windows 8. I didn't want the hassle of transferring files. I didn't want to spend the money. And so I put it off. And when I did finally give in, I ordered a computer running Ubuntu. Thus condemning myself to a longer, slower learning curve. And then, the first day of the weekend that was to have been "move to the new computer time," its hard drive failed.
I do have Carbonite, of which I am very glad. (That's the recommendation. It doesn't need to be Carbonite, but have an automatic backup.) I will, eventually, get my new computer in service, and be able to work at a more normal pace. The nice young technogeek came Monday and reseated the hard drive. Maybe this weekend I'll try it again.
The moral of the story is, in this time, in this profession, your computer is not a luxury or a toy, it's an essential tool, like a truck is for a driver. Keep it tuned up, and know when it's time to retire it. This is no place for sentiment. It's not a child, or even a pet. It's a machine. . . even if we do name them!
Did Louisa May Alcott or Jane Austin mourn the wearing out of a pen, I wonder?