Blinded by the light


blinded by lightI started writing the final book of my trilogy (“What Now?” for you latecomers) using notepads, similar to the way I had written Book 2 (“What Next?”- helpful reminder #2).  After five chapters, I switched back to the laptop, ostensibly to save the time it takes transcribing those written pages into the word processor.

Now, though I mentioned this long ago, it bears repeating.  My tiny little laptop (a small Acer, bigger than a netbook, but not by much) has a real aversion to sunlight, especially reflective sunlight.  And since I do all my writing at the beach, all the light is reflective!  This means I’m effectively writing blind.

One of the previously stated problems with blindness is the inability to see what I am typing on the screen.  This means I can’t tell simple things, such as “did I indent that paragraph?”, or more serious things, such as ”where did the paragraph I was working on go?”

Sometimes, when typing on that little keyboard, in the throes of my imagination, my stubby fingers hit the wrong key.  This is not usually a problem, unless you are not able to see that you have hit the wrong key.  Then it can become a big problem.  Or a catastrophic one.  Let’s find out, shall we?

So I’m typing like a madman, in the heat of the passion for the story.  My fingers are not nearly as fast as my thoughts, but they like to pretend they are so they are pounding away in mad abandon, sometimes actually hitting the keys they’re supposed to.  Sometimes not.  And if that “page up” button is hit (being perilously close to the regular keys on the condensed laptop keyboard), all of a sudden I’m typing somewhere else in the body of my story.  This may go on for many minutes, since I’m “in the zone”.  When I finally pause, due to a wording difficulty or knotted plot point, I may glance at the screen and by tilting and squinting, notice there is no white space.  Immediately a feeling of dread creeps over me, since if there is no whitespace, I must not be at the bottom of the page.  Oh well, at least I can sort that out later in rewrite.

Not so the catastrophic calamitous problem!  That’s the one where those same flying fingers hit some key or combination of keys that begin to shut down either the Word program or even the computer itself!  That should never happen, but remember those closely crowded keys.  I’ve had several narrow escapes.  Just yesterday, I thought I had lost an entire chapter and was literally moaning aloud at my misfortune.  As I began to shut down the computer in dismay, a warning came up asking me to save my open document.  Whew.  It was just hidden.

Today, though…disaster.  I lost fully half of a chapter and there was no miraculous rescue.  No telling what I hit to make it all go away, but it would never happen if I could see.  There are so many safeguards built into the computers, always asking if you want to save this document or close this file, you would know you were about to end, delete or erase something before the dastardly deed occurred.  In fact, it would take an extraordinary combination of bad luck and unlucky keystrokes to make a file totally vaporize…just as I apparently did today.  Quite deflating.  The only bright side to the situation is that I was so far into the chapter it is detailed in my memory, so I can reconstruct it here at home.

Please spare me your suggestions to use the “save” function.  I’ve already been blinded by the light; I don’t need to be blinded by the obvious.

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