There's a scene in Little Women (the movie -- because I never did finish reading the book) when Amy throws Jo's manuscript in the fire out of spite. Jo is, obviously, incredibly upset, swears that she hates her sister, and after a violent outburst, she falls into her mother's arms and mourns the loss of all her hard work.
I can empathize.
I've been writing for years. (Before I knew about Dropbox.com, and before I used Google Docs - now called Drive.) Here and there, and with not much success, but I like it, and I like the storeis, and even if no one ever read another thing that I created, it wouldn't matter. I like my characters and my banter, and sometimes I get verbiose and I don't care, because I like that too. But last year, when my computer was on its dying days I bought a new one and set the old one aside, and continued writing. I thought I had removed all the files I needed, or in my mind, I thought I had enough of my old computer left in order to retrieve the files I wanted.
But the other day, when I checked my external harddrive, I noticed that there was a whole folder, supposedly filled with several different stories, missing. I wasn't worried. I was certain they were on the other harddrive. But when I checked that, they were missing from there as well. Again, I did not panic. I have a thumb drive that most certainly had the files I wanted... until, no. They weren't there either.
I still didn't worry, because this has all happened to me before. My computer crashed once during finals week, and all I did was pull out the harddrive and insert it into a casing and plug it into a new computer and WALAH! I had access to everything I needed.
I spent an evening dismantling my whole computer (unnecessarily, because they make harddrives incredibly easy to remove) and putting it into a casing and optimistically I plugged it into my computer.
You would think that this would be the time for me to panic, but no. It wasn't a big deal because my dad would be in town in a month, and surely there could be something done in order to retrieve the files. (Why weren't they on the external harddrives like I though!?)
But last night, my dad pronounced the harddrive dead.
Honestly, it wasn't a surprise, but it was a sting -- no, a blow -- that I had been putting off now for months. I am devastated. How easily years of work and toil and creativity can be wiped away without so much as a by your leave! I can't remember the last time I curled into a ball on my mother's lap and cried, but that I did.
Sure, there are expensive processes whereby the data may be accessed. But, if it is $500-800, who can really afford that?
I know how Jo feels. Instead of a spiteful sister, I have a vindictive harddrive. Instead of a fire, I have malfunctioning technology. And instead of having sisters who can help recreate the entirety of the story with all the best parts, I have... my own memory of how things go and no way to actually recreate any of it.