Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Startled By Digital Loss

I like the safety that comes with everything I snap a picture of or type in a document being automatically backed up to some Cloud somewhere.  It's not like I'm taking nude pictures or writing embarrassing erotica.

I mean, just last week, my sister was one of the victims of that cyberattack in which the aggressor left her a digital ransom note that said basically "give us $1400 in Bitcoins or all your files are gone." So just like that, she lost a lot of her documents and pictures.

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The real American Horror Story.

Thankfully, if this happened to me, I don't think I would lose much because of my consistent auto-backup settings across media.

But sometimes... sometimes symbolism kicks in.

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"But you see, searching for symbolism within your reality is a sign of--"
"I spent 6 years getting 2 writing degrees.. Let me have this."

Cut to last winter...

Many of my friendships were dissolving out from under me and I was reaching boiling point. As a lyricist, I decided to channel this emotion into a lyric that I would never, ever show anybody, on account of the extremely specific and personal details I included. I wrote a simple AABA song in a Tim Hortons in, hm, 30 minutes? And then reread it and edited it for the better part of an hour or so. Writing well-crafted lyrics usually takes longer, but this came from such a raw place - and the structure of the lines felt so natural - that it just spouted out of me and became one of the best lyrics I'd ever written.

Which I would still never show to anyone.

Well, maybe Sondheim or Bobby Lopez, should they insist on setting any of my material.


And it was therapeutic. I could have deleted it - cast my worries off to sea, so to speak - but I realized that it encompassed all my emotions in one concise page, and I knew that I would want to have it onhand to calm me down later. (Just 'cause you say, "Hey look! A storm!" doesn't mean the storm is suddenly over.)

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I'm basically a meteorologist.

So I saved it in a private place on my tablet: my Documents folder. Not my OneDrive Documents, just plain ol' Documents. It wouldn't be accidentally read there. This wasn't a big concern, but still... my devices were always around my classmates, and I felt like the more places I had this Diary-Entry-With-Scansion, the more likely it was to pop up.

Meanwhile, in the land of WHYYYY...

The keyboard of my (relatively new) laptop had decided to stop working. Apparently since my computer is an ASUS, which "never breaks," getting a new keyboard would put it out of commission for a month. This is around the time I got a tablet, because I needed something to write my thesis on, and I'd been thinking about investing in a smaller portable device anyway.

Image result for stone tablet
And stone tablets are so last season.

Guess what also broke.

Thankfully, Tablet Dearest held out until school ended. But then the power button got jacked up (it was punched in, but even removing it didn't help) and suddenly I couldn't turn my tablet on.

I took it back to Best Buy. After what happened with my computer, I had bought the warranty, so I was expecting an easy repair. They told me they'd have to send it out, but it was probably going to be fine. I asked if I should have backed everything up - unsure if there was even a way to do that with the tablet unable to turn on. The guy said it would probably be fine but yeah. maybe I should have. I thought about it. Didn't I always save everything to OneDrive? Yeah, except that short story I wanted to start over anyway. No problem. Taker her away, folks!

Can you see these storylines converging yet?

3 Weeks Later...

I received a comically-muffled phone call and all I could make out was my name, something about the tablet, and... yeah, that's it. So I just went back to Best Buy to find out for myself.

Oh, hey. Turns out they couldn't repair my tablet. And they kept it. Like, it's still wherever they sent it. Never to return to my hands.

I know this because I asked.

Because I wondered if there was something I was forgetting.

Tonight I remembered what that thing was.

And it's weird, because the particular subject of the lyric is something that I have recently realized I've made peace with. I still have some anxiety and anger about the situation but most of that is gone, especially the sadness. I don't think I have that sadness anymore.

But still. It was a dang good lyric.

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What? I'm not just saying that because you literally cannot read it now.

And it was a relic of that state of mind I was in. It was honest and strong in the way that something powerful and raw is. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time just conjuring that up. It was an emotional photograph, if that's not being too cheesy.

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It is. It definitely is.

Tonight, I opened up a new document (YES I SAVED IT TO ONEDRIVE THIS TIME) and hammered out everything I could remember from it. I can still feel the rhythm of the rhyme scheme so I know where I'm missing words. And I'm missing a lot of them. It's crazy... I read that thing so many times over. It came so easily to me when I wrote it. How come I can't even remember the gist of some lines? Don't they all lead into each other?

I've preserved nearly all of the first A, but only some of the rest of them.

I keep hoping it'll turn up in a Recycle Bin somewhere, or maybe an email I sent to myself. Dropbox? Open Office? Word's Recent Documents option?



It's gone. I think it's gone.

Could be in my plushy memory somewhere. I hope I'm buying pickles at the store when I remember a line, getting change for the dryer when I remember another. Maybe I'll end up in this kind of situation again and suddenly the sentiments will rush back. Slowly I'll fill in this crazy MadLibs/CrosswordPuzzle hybrid.

But... I mean, it kind of sucks if I have to put myself in that mental and emotional place again to remember those lines. Is it worth revisiting all that for a lyric? That I will still never show anyone (probably)?

I guess so. Because retyping what I do remember didn't put me in a funk. Besides the general regret of not backing up my tablet. RIP Tablet.

And hey... even while writing this post, I remembered another line. There are so many rhymes in this thing that every line is a clue to another one.

Now tell me, what rhymes with "insane"?

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