I've been six days without my computer. It suddenly ceased working last Saturday (accompanied by unsettling and less than helpful messages), and I spent a good couple of hours trying to figure out what had happened before I finally decided I couldn't possibly fix it, and I'd have to take it in. I was confident that whatever had happened, it wasn't irreparable, and I knew exactly where I would take it for those repairs.
Six days and slightly over $200 later, I have my computer back. I have a new operating system, a new hard drive, and 2GB of memory. Technically, my system has been wiped clean, yet, as a courtesy (my ex always said I got what I wanted because I'm cute and small; I beg to differ, I can be a hardass when I need to), my documents were retained in a separate, accessible file. I didn't ask for this. I had asked for access to a 5 page document I hadn't had time (or the wherewithal) to save. The tech guy said, since he saw it was important to me, he would ensure it was saved. I thanked him.
That document, all six pages of it, was Chapter 8 of my current novel. Chapter 8, which had flowed out of me, like blood out of a wound, over the course of one day, which is not the norm. Chapter 8, which, once I had it down, I stumbled away from, feeling confused, elated, drained. I moved on to Chapter 9, and all it's difficulties, without even thinking of saving what I'd just brought into the world. And once my computer seized, I realized how stupid I'd been, and all I wanted was to recover what I hadn't saved...and was promised I wouldn't have to worry, it would be saved for me.
In the six days I have been without my computer, I have continued with my writing, longhand, which has always been my wont, and which has never failed me. Chapter 9 is proving as elusive as ever, but it's coming together. Chapter 8, as it was written, I would have had to consign to the ether, since I hadn't a single note on it, about it, and I'd have to rewrite it, hoping to reconstruct it, as best I could from memory. I laid awake at night, or lost myself in thought during the day, trying to put that chapter together from memory. I'm grateful I don't have to, because I knew, even as I was writing it, that it is...fine. I write from a very emotional place. I don't like to visit that place any more frequently than I have to. But when I know I have the emotional resonance down, I don't like to change it, and won't.
What interests me the most of what happened here, is that all I was concerned about was six pages of one document. Out of an entire computer. I could do without everything else. But those six pages? They mattered. I could have lost everything else...and figured I had. But out of all the flotsam and jetsam of our everyday lives, that all I really cared about was something so finely expressed as what I knew was contained in those six pages...that was money well spent.