I suppose you could make a writer of the era above cry if you took away her pencils and paper. But to make a modern writer cry in frustration, make sure her keyboard stops working.
I came home from my writers' group last night refreshed and and ready to relax with an hour of TV, when I remembered I owed someone an email that could not wait.
I clicked open my email .... and .... drum roll from hell .... my computer would not type. Not one character - not one single word. My keyboard was frozen. I could open anything, I could go online, but when I tried to look up the problem on Google - it wouldn't allow allow me to type a request for help. Of course...
I went to bed with a full scan on and a very heavy heart. If my keyboard doesn't work, I can't work. I can still write with pencil and paper. But at the moment, I am editing two of my older books for putting up as eBooks.
I need my computer. I need it to type. I slept badly.
By morning, the scans were all done and I still couldn't type. I could not blog, go on Facebook, write emails, or work on these two books.
My keyboard was down. I was down. I had scanned, cleaned, reformatted everything. Nothing worked. I looked like the woman above, only with hair on end.
Jim had his usual suggestion. "Buy a new computer!" He is technophobic, so that's always his suggestion.
My computer guy - my son-in-law was working at Lower Fort Garry today and out of reach.
I went on Jim's computer. A search told me I had to delete my keyboard driver and then restart the computer and it would (might) recognize the driver and reinstall it correctly.
But would it? Was I brave enough to try it? What if I lost important stuff. What if the driver went away and never came back -- turned down a dark alley inside my computer and refused to come out again?
So, I called in my last Big Gun: my eBook specialist daughter. She came over - waved me away after listening to my slightly hysterical explanation of the "help" I had found online. She hung over the keyboard for about fifteen minutes. Like a doctor over a surgical patient, she said, "I'm going to have to uninstall the keyboard driver. No choice."
I couldn't bear it. I went to make a sweet cup of tea and stood behind the door of my office and waited.
"Okay, Mom, I've restarted the computer" she said over her shoulder.
I waited for the beat of my computer's heart to start again.
We held our breaths. My desktop came back. She ordered me into the room. She opened WORD. She typed. Letters came up as if someone with a magic wand was sweeping it across the page.
I had my keyboard back.
I now owe her two dinners out. On for the eBooks and one for this. I am blissfully typing this and the letters are appearing. I am tearless writer again.
How do you read a book? From the beginning to the end? I have one friend, who may be reading this post, who does it like that. Every time. Maybe most of you do it that way, too. Fair dues. But some of us do it a different way. Some of us read a book backwards, forwards, in the middle and then back to front and back again. I tend to read a novel from the front to the back until I want to know something - an event that has been foreshadowed, or even how it ends - so I can relax and enjoy the ride. I hasten to say I rarely read the last few pages in a whodunit, but I have been known to search out names in the last quarter to see if anyone is missing - and then I'll know not to count on them living to the end. Sometimes peeking makes me wonder if I want to keep reading a particular book, especially when I find out the main characters will, in fact, let me down - usually by letting themselves down or because the author is following a trend I don't like. I would never allow a hero to die! Sometimes I read a big chunk in the traditional way and then I flip forward until I find out if the section I am reading resolves itself a particular way. People, I find, who read front to back are quite appalled and tell me that I am not doing what the author expects of me. But hey! I'm an author. And I am in and out of my book, and forward, and backward, and inside out and outside in all the time I'm writing - and the end is still often a surprise to me! My answer to these naysayers who claim I am not doing the right thing reading a book backwards is this. Once I've bought a book it is mine - and I can read it any way I want! I can't be the only one who does this. Can I?