The Day My Computer Slept

Everyone needs a day off! My computer took an elective vacation day yesterday. It was going through some issues with a new processing system and it just sat there, breathing heavily, putting me out of work.

It took hours before I forced myself to open a notebook and write in there. What? A pen? To write with?

I immediately rationalized my fears of all of my novel being lost with the old “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was thrown in the fire” story, which I think about mostly every day. Did no one else ever have to rewrite a book? I wish there was some more modern example of a computer crashing and a novel living on that I could go to, instead of staying clear of fires.

flames background


I wrote six pages by hand in my journal last night – nonsense pages, not prose but explanations to myself, little tidbits of emotions mostly centered around my computer. Then I got to page six and I started doing crazy writing (all over the page! non-linear!) and I came to a revelation that I might not have come to were my computer well. One of my characters is illiterate! She tells her story through images!

And I recognized (and wrote down, in the embarrassing way I do, talking to myself in my notebooks) that maybe every once in a while I need to write by hand instead of with the tips of my fingers. Maybe the circular hover of my palm over the page can create things that the choppy pulse of my nails against the keyboard cannot. Maybe I get at different places, write through different tones.

This morning I felt okay, thinking that a computer in the fire wasn’t the end of the world. If my computer didn’t wake up today, then I still would. But alas, I write a blog post, which means I am either typing on that very small keyboard on my iPad mini or my computer has decided to serve my sweaty palms one more day. And so here are my linear, peckish thoughts, about imagine if I could just write by hand and drop my notes into the fire, instead of allowing them to sit perpetually in the cyber world. How much less embarrassing, how much more poetic and tragic.