Clicking hopefully

Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


In April, I received the Silver Lining Award from writer and freelance editor Helen Ginger. Her blog, Straight from Hel, offers advice and information about writing and writers, books, publishing–there’s “God’s plenty” here for the writer, aspiring or experienced. Helen posts daily, and she also contributes to The Blood-Red Pencil, another blog I follow.

The Silver Lining Award was a surprise. I couldn’t wait to display it on to write is to write is to write and to pass it on to other bloggers.

But I ran into an obstacle. I didn’t know how to display it. I knew to use a widget, but how to grab or capture or whatever to get the proper code to put into that widget was outside my realm of experience. I knew I had to get the image to my computer. I knew I wasn’t supposed to link to the image on Helen’s blog. I knew I had to have its URL. Actually, all of this was inside my realm of experience, because I’d done something similar a couple of months before.  I had just forgotten what and how.

The obvious thing to do in such a situation, after googling for instructions and increasing the confusion, is to ask for directions.

I don’t ask for directions. Anyone who has ever taken a road trip with me will vouch for that. When I get lost, I drive around until I find what I’m looking for. When lost in cyberspace, I click around.

So I clicked for a couple of hours. After engaging in mind-clearing activities, I clicked some more. I took a break and wrote a blog post about silver linings.  I reminded myself this was not rocket science; it was a simple procedure. The next day, I clicked again. After skipping a few days, I clicked some more. I went to a conference. I spent a week recovering from the conference. I clicked. I fell into the Slough of Despond and decided I would never write again. I crawled out and decided I would. The entire time, both clicking and non-clicking, I was straining to dredge up the technical details of that brief moment of competency only sixty days past.

And all the while, the still, small voice was whispering, “Ask.”

But the truth is–and now I’m exposing my darkest secret–I like clicking around. I have such a feeling of accomplishment when things fall into place. I bump into all kinds of serendipities along the way. And I’m too ornery to give up. I can’t help that last thing. It’s genetic.

Sometimes it’s also a failing. I’m working on it.

Anyway, I finally discovered how to display the Silver Lining Award on my blog. Laboring along the road to discovery was an accomplishment. It was, in fact, a silver lining.

To Helen, a belated public thanks for giving me the this award. I’m supposed to pass it on to five other people. I nominate the following bloggers for the Silver Lining Award:

1. Susan Ideus

2. Linda Hoye

3. Sharon Lippincott

4. Gale Albright

5. Nita Lou Bryant

Ladies, thanks. You’re all silver linings to me.

**********

Helen Ginger blogs about The Name Game today on The Blood-Red Pencil. On Straight from Hel, she interviews author Jean Henry Mead.


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.