Having the old laptop come back to life on my desk made me think of the files that were on it. I had a look around them, and with a stomach-clenching start, realized that my six novels were NOT there. The next four were, in various states of unedited/unfinished-ness, but I have them backed up on the work laptop and a thumb drive already. With horror I went to the desktop machine, that perverse Windows 7 HP lemon ... oh, no, that's where the completed novels were? What had I been thinking?
When I transferred those files from my first (and now dead and gone to recycle bin) laptop, I hadn't known that the desktop was a lemon, that's what I had been thinking. Well, what the hell, I thought, I could work with those files on the Big Screen -- maybe that would help me catch typos!
I knew that Character Assassin needed "justified" print (CA was actually my first novel in print) so I thought I'd just do that and see if I still remembered how ...
And thus began the next few hours of sweat and twitchiness: the Word program I had installed on the desktop would not allow me to use "Thai Distributed Justify," which had worked so nicely with the other books. Again and again I typed those three words into Word's "Help" program, Google Search, back to Word, calling up Dreamer and seeing "Thai Distributed Justify" in its formatting, unable to find it for CA ... OMG, don't tell me that Windows 7 won't work with my old 2002 Word program!
I turned off the Big Screen and turned on my Windows Vista laptop. Yes, you can access Thai Distributed there. I turned Vista off and turned on Windows 7 laptop. Sweating bullets of relief, I found Thai Distributed there, too. Why the hell wasn't it on Big Screen -- all my machines had the same Word 2002 disk uploaded -- and what the hell might have happened to my files while they were being mauled by Lemon Big Screen?
There were two thumb drives in the desk drawer, and neither one of them had my novels on them. With a steadily droning "Eeeeeeeeee" of horror running through my head, I carefully loaded the novels from Big Screen onto the thumb drive with palsied hands, checking each one to make sure that Page One and The End were on each. Lamaze breathing exercises and glugged ice water helped me keep from falling into a panic attack.
Did you know that it's okay to mention "Stress Sweat" nowadays? Yes, it is, I heard it on a television commercial just the other night. The ad noted that "Stress Sweat" is really smelly, different than "Exercise Sweat" -- duh! After I made sure that every sentence of my novels had successfully loaded onto Windows 7 Laptop, I re-formatted Out With the Trash to Thai Distributed justification. It looks sharp.
And then I took a shower because I stunk.
But you know what? Making sure that my novel files had lifeboats gave me some time to spend with them, and I liked what I saw. I think I'm ready now to start working with them again, and get Out With the Trash into circulation.
Fan that little spark, and make Sand a writer again, not simply an editor.