I couldn’t believe that I’d lost it. I was sitting in my friends grunge rock kitchen and I couldn’t believe that I’d lost it. In aggregate it was at least a hundred pages. Yet the most hurtful thing was the seventy-seven pages of a manuscript that had seemed to write itself.
So how did I lose hours upon hours worth of work?
I’m a recent Linux convert. I started by letting my friend put Arch on my gaming laptop. I really liked it. I liked the control, the security, the performance, and the privacy. I was so thrilled by all of the above that I didn’t mind dealing with proprietary driver issues with my Broadcom WiFi.
As time went on I decided to go full Linux and banish Windows 10 from my HP desktop. I am not normally a purist but Win 10 slow performance on a machine it came pre-installed with, as well as its standard issue Spyware-like features, turned me into a Linux zealot.
I did miss playing Chaos Theory and having the capacity to install Halo PC and other gaming gems on my machine. But nostalgia is a small price to pay for having a computer that works like it should.
As I grew increasingly annoyed with Windows and Silicon Valley in general I couldn’t wait to distance myself from politically correct, self-righteous, intrusive, proprietary nonsense.
So it was that I got into a mad rush to rid myself of Windows. I thought I’d put a less esoteric version of Linux onto my desktop then was on my laptop. Since I’m a Lunduke fan I opted for openSUSE over Mint which I had a copy of (thanks to a friend who’d installed it on a desktop I’m going to donate to a Luddite.)
Yes. The expression though trite is true. The expression being “Haste makes waste.” I loaded the openSUSE leap 42.3 ISO onto my trusty USB 3 Gorilla. The thing has upwards of sixty gigs. I was mighty ticked when for whatever reason the ISO kept complaining about not having enough space! The ISO was 4 gigs!
Then after some Discord sessions with my techie friend I realized that I wasn’t formatting properly. Something I would have realized on my own if I had only slowed down.
In fact if I had only slowed down and taken a deep breath life would be substantially better. I would still have my work.
What happened was that I formatted a drive that contained files that I didn’t realize had been cut rather than copied. So the original files were gone from my primary computer, they were gone from the USB to which they had been cut, and they were gone from the HP desktop which was purged of Redmond Spyware along with everything else.
Because I got busy with research, music, and studying Java I didn’t revisit my main writing project for days.
My friend needed help moving a washer and dryer. I arrived at his house and since he wasn’t back yet with the truck I pulled out my laptop to get some much delayed writing done.
As I clicked around my file,s and tried various USBs, the realization that I had royally screwed up slowly dawned on me.
So why am I sharing this tale of typical Bohemian absent-mindedness?
Well for one, I would enjoy reading something like this. I’m a writer so obviously I like stories and I like to tell stories even more. It’s good practice to write most anything. I have to stay sharp! But furthermore there is a realization I had as I was sitting there staring at my friends stark little kitchen clock that I feel is worth sharing.
This post is called Lost and Found and I did find something. I found that I wasn’t particularly worried. Despite the fact that I had lost hours upon hours of work, and probably some rather original ideas, and turns of phrase that I might not be able to replicate; I felt at peace.
I felt at peace because a fact that I knew; the fact of perishability; of the eventually loss of everything; was realized. I had realized it before but this particular iteration of realization was a bit mystic.
Perhaps it was the unexpected loss in the unexpected place but I felt a certain gnosis.
Even my favorite greats like Michael Crichton and Bach may eventually be forgotten. The thousands upon thousands of copies of their works may fade away. The millions upon millions of people who have read Crichton and listened to Bach will certainly perish. So of what consequence is it that I lost a good start to a novel?
However great Bach and Crichton may be at what they do, and however much I fancied the first seventy pages of my novel; these things aren’t irreplaceable. Sure they are irreplaceable, ‘as they are’, as in there is no such thing as an exact facsimile. But something like it will recur again.
And since most of what I’d written is still fresh in my mind; perhaps as I rewrite, it will all largely still be there, and perhaps it will turn out even better. Such is the beauty of iterating and why I chose it as the name of a podcast.
So, the big Find is that despite everything being perishable, it is still unique and worthwhile, and more hearteningly, renewable.
Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Alan Watts but I find a certain reassuring Zen quality about this realization.
Thanks for reading.