O frabjous day!

The prodigal laptop has returned.

The new hard drive is in place. Printer drivers, camera software, and antivirus program have been installed.

MS Word is being a bit passive-aggressive in refusing to open a couple of documents I wanted to transfer from the flash drive. Open Office stopped downloading for no apparent reason, but–

My laptop is back. On my lap.

I hate to say this, considering that David went to so much trouble figuring out how to back up the old hard drive, but I sort of like the laptop in its current state of pristinity.*

One column of icons runs down the left side of the desktop. Dozens of old icons have vanished: the files I threw there so I could postpone deciding where to store them; the files I threw there because I was afraid I’d forget where I’d stored them; the files I threw there because I intended to move them to the recycle bin in just a few minutes.

The desktop is so clean and neat. It’s like I tidied it up myself.

And the Documents folder is empty: a clean, white box that affords room to breathe.

At a Writers’ League of Texas meeting last year, author Cynthia Leitich Smith said she composes a first draft quickly, then prints it out and writes all over the hard copy. Then she disposes of the print-out, deletes the file, and begins a second draft from scratch.

I thought that was the bravest thing I’d ever heard, so brave it bordered on crazy.

But now I think I know how she must feel: an Incredible Lightness of Being. No old draft plucking at her clothing, pulling her down.

Of course, I don’t really know how she feels, because I haven’t disposed of anything. It’s all on the external hard drive, waiting to be reloaded.

We think.

And as I told David, if it isn’t there, so what? Most of what I care about is somewhere–on a flash drive or attached to an e-mail I sent myself–and what isn’t somewhere probably wasn’t worth saving.

Anyway, I had saved so many drafts of the novel under so many different names that I often became confused about which I was supposed to be working on. Now I have the crummy rough draft and the less crummy third (fourth? fifth? sixth?) revised beginning. That’s enough for anyone.

I talk big at 11:45 p.m. CST.

In the morning, things might not look so rosy. I might be repenting that attitude all over the place.

But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

For tomorrow is another day.


I know pristinity isn’t a word. But it should be. Once upon a time, chortle wasn’t a word either. If I’m going to get into the OED, I can’t spend all my time kowtowing to dictionary.com.

Silver Linings

After yesterday’s post, I believe I owe it to you–and to myself–to write about my Silver Linings.

When I got home from Just for the Hell of It Writers (by way of the grocery store) this afternoon , I found a FedEx tag clipped to the door. Two packages, it said, had been delivered to the office of my apartment complex. They’d been dropped off at 2:00 p.m.

I called the office to confirm it was open before walking down there. The manager said she had no package.

I went online to track the packages. The FedEx website said they would be delivered on Monday. This is Friday.

I called FedEx. Customer service said the packages were back on the truck and would be available for pickup today from 6:00 pm. to 9:00 p.m. and tomorrow from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

When David came in from work, I reported all this. He said we could retrieve the packages tonight. But because I had a migraine hangover–I woke up this morning with the darned thing and by evening still felt as if I were made of eggshells–I said I’d wait until tomorrow. Except for the pain of laptop withdrawal, there was no rush.

Then, out of the blue, came a robust knock at the door. Ernest and William scrambled up the stairs to safety. David ran to the door.

A young woman in a FedEx uniform stood on the sidewalk, holding a clipboard and two packages: an external hard drive and a replacement hard drive.

“I tried earlier, but the office wasn’t open,” she said.

I thanked her and told her we’d planned to pick up the packages ourselves.

“Then I just saved you a trip.” She grinned and walked back to her truck.

That young woman saved me more than a trip. Because she made a second attempt at delivery, my headache of a day took a sudden upturn. She was my first Silver Lining.

David was my second. After I hooked up the external hard drive to the laptop, he spent two hours trying to back up the wonky internal hard drive so it can be replaced by a non-wonky one. Unfortunately, the manual accompanying the external drive was short on instructions. It told, in four languages, how to connect and to disconnect the drive but not how to use it.

A third Silver Lining, however, appeared in the small print: the address of a website offering tech support. It was too late to speak to a technician, so David e-mailed the question. We’re waiting for a username and password so we can access the answer.

So there’s tomorrow’s Silver Lining: instructions about running the necessary backup, and then installation of the new hard drive. And finally I’ll be back in business–in a comfortable chair.

I realize I did things wrong. The song says, “Look for the silver lining.” I didn’t. I looked at the migraine and the idle laptop and the uncomfortable chair and the work I wasn’t getting done.

Nevertheless, Silver Linings appeared.

The mystery here is why I’m so surprised. After all, I’ve been married to a Silver Lining for the past six years.