The Good: The computer repair guy came to check the iMac to see what could be done with it after its abrupt shutdown a few weeks ago.
The Bad: The hard drive is dead. He said, "Hear that clicking noise?" I said yes, it was the same noise I kept hearing when I would try to power it up. "That's the 'reader' for the hard drive--kind of like the arm on a record player. It's not working." Dead means that it's going to be really hard to retrieve the data on it. Meaning my writing. I started to sniffle a little bit, but I just really didn't want to cry in front of somebody I didn't know. Especially somebody who'd spent the morning wrangling his three-year-old to help out his wife who is expecting baby #2 in about a month. So I pulled it together and asked about my options.
The Slightly Better: A "clean lab" could try to get to the data on the hard drive, but a really good clean lab recovery would cost at least $500 (which I don't have right now). He said he had a clean lab of his own, that isn't exactly of the highest caliber, but he'd give it a shot. If it worked, it would cost me the operating fees and however many disks used for burning the data.
The Slightly Better, Part II: I have a "new" iMac that is able to read the crappy backup floppies I made about a couple years back. I had enough sense to to buy a floppy drive and to save them as RichText (first things I did right in this whole fiasco). The only thing is, I have to convert the files' extensions manually. . . and I saved each chapter individually. By my estimation, there are at least 45-50 chapters in the first novel and maybe about five of the new one. And probably some other stuff I forgot.
The Really Weird: Computer guy comes in with the box containing the "new" iMac, and does a double-take. What he's got in the box is the identical twin of the "patient on the table" (literally). Although only physically, because the new one has OSX. Computer guy insists that mine can't be a '98, although I am 99% sure I got it as somewhat of a college graduation gift from my parents. He thought 2001--but I moved out of my parents' in March of that year, and I'd had it for a while then. (Other than that, the guy knows his stuff.)
It's really weird to look at the Mac right now, because I still think it's the old one. There's a definite difference, though. This one actually starts up. And it's compatible with my newer printer, which relieves me of trying to get the old (borderline obsolete) one to work.
The printer is especially important because I will be maintaining a hard copy binder in addition to the digital backup.
I may never recover what's on the hard drive, and that loss won't hit me until I start looking at the backups and realize what's missing.
All the changes I've made since then, the stories' maturation. My maturation, as a writer and as a person, really.
I'm trying to stay positive. I've kept a good deal of my writing notes--I even e-mailed myself some that I'd written at work and/or put them on a flash drive. That will go a long way, I hope. I'm hoping that I can remember some of the turns of phrases I've loved so much, and that the ideas that tumbled about in my brain for a while until I could get to the computer are embedded in my mind still, somewhere. . . and that maybe what I come up with, to compensate for the loss, will be even better than what previously occupied the page.