by Kelley Lindberg
Last year, on January 11, my computer died. I spent a couple of days trying in vain to revive it, then another couple of days buying a new one, and several more days getting everything reinstalled and restored.
This year, on January 11, my computer’s USB and SD card ports all died. I spent a couple of days talking to a variety of tech support folks (in a dizzying array of time zones) in a vain attempt to revive my computer’s ability to talk to any of its nice little storage and input devices. I’m still trying options, but we’re down to the wipe-it-all-out-and-start-over stage, so I am verifying my backups and trying to steel my nerves for the next few painful days.
What are the odds that my new computer would die on the same day as my old computer? (Wait, wait… I can do this math… um… One in 365?)
Anyway, I’ve always had strange issues with computers. When I worked in the software industry, my computers would frequently lose their little electronic minds and commit random acts of self-mutilation. The engineers and IT guys would walk in my office and shake their heads. “What did you do now?” they’d ask. Here’s the thing: I would do NOTHING. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had the best luck at staying out of trouble if I never touched anything even remotely resembling a button, setting, or option. I install as little as possible. I back up fanatically. I use defaults religiously. I move nothing. I reset nothing. I barely breathe.
And poof – there would go another computer anyway. I became legendary in my office for being the woman whose computers would just spontaneously wig out.
I have a theory about this.
I think my creative energy interferes with my computers.
Scientists tell us we’re a bundle of electrical impulses. Ghost hunters claim we cheat death by living on as roving, mischief-loving little clouds of energy. Dr. Frankenstein would be awfully impressed with our heart defibrillators that jolt us back to life with a quick burst of electricity.
We are, they tell us, energy personified.
Somehow I just seemed to have gotten more than my share of that energy. Or maybe I got loaded up with an experimental variety of energy that proved so volatile that they stopped making it. So I’m pretty sure that my problem with my computers is my creative energy. I’m just too darned creative for my computer’s own good.
Of course, my husband says the correct terminology isn’t “creative energy.” He insists it’s “static.”
I suppose one answer would be to abandon my computer and go old-school with a notepad and paper.
Yeah, right. Not in this lifetime.
I know some writers love writing long-hand. More power to them. (Ha! Energy pun. Sorry.) Those writers claim they feel a stronger connection to their stories if the ink flows through a pen in their hand. I don’t. I get frustrated because I’m much faster with two hands on a keyboard than I could ever be with one hand on paper – and even then I can’t always keep up with my thoughts. I’ll write long-hand if I must, but my creativity happens in my brain, not my hand, so I will always choose the faster output method if there’s a choice.
So for now, that means I will make all the appropriate sacrifices to the computer deities, and hope that when I finally get it all up and working again, they’ll be satisfied for at least another year.
And next year, I’m going to leave my computer turned off and I will curl up with a good book on January 11. Seems like a good day to give my creative energy the day off.