A Man Without Qualities

Had a death in the family today – my hard drive. It’s the third drive failure I’ve experienced in the last couple of years, all with the same computer, which is pretty disappointing. More disappointing is that I’m out of Apple Care, so no replacements will be forthcoming, kind of bricking my laptop unless I get in there are replace the drive myself. More disappointing still is that the system died at the precise moment it was backing up, corrupting the backup image to an extent that it’s pretty irreparable thanks to Apple’s (rather questionable) choices in terms of backup architecture.

All of which is to say, today I hit a kind of “data zero” in terms of my hard drive, with small exceptions relating to my (minor) use of Drop Box and the general cloudiness of today’s internet use meaning that things like email and blog posts are, of course, still floating in the ether for me to pluck at.

What I did lose, though, was a remarkable slab of my history. Digital guy that I am, overzealous writer that I am, I’ve produced a lot of digital stuff over the years – I’ve written novels, drawn many a comic, made video games, and on and on. All gone like dust in the wind. From nothing the bits and bytes come, and to nothing they return. It’s kind of an amazing experience to have around 10 years of your stuff vanish like that, literally without a trace.

There’s a big part of me that is gamely treating this as a (very) fresh start. Another sizeable chunk that is well aware that it doesn’t really matter that that stuff is gone, as I’ll just make more. And then there’s a very sad chunk (not that I’m chunky) that feels like I’ve betrayed “historical me” who wrote all that stuff. I used to like reading through my really old writing – poems, novels, motivational speeches to myself – and getting a sense of who I thought I was back then. It always felt like a real gift to myself to be able to see the old me in new lights and it’s one of the big reasons I keep at the writing and drawing and so forth so tenuously – my future audience of myself.

Nonetheless, there’s a definitely lightness associated with not having it around. I’ll probably miss it on and off, but realistically I’m pointed forward rather than backward most of the time, so I’ll largely just not even notice. It’s like a security blanket on a hot night: you probably won’t even notice it’s gone. (I’ve been thinking of lots of awkward metaphors today.)

So. Onwards and upwards with the arts.

13 June 2011
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