I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my computer

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I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my computer

Postby inspiresuccess » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:27 pm

I'm writing this in the writers forum because I think other writers will understand more than anyone.

I've been saving my writing on an external zip drive for years. Everything I wrote was saved directly there because I was told that was the safest way to go. I saved almost nothing on my computer.

I bought a new/used computer. I asked the computer people (I've gone to them for years and they've always been great) to please save everything from my external zip drive to the new computer. They said that they had a hard time because files were corrupt but my impression was that they'd saved everything they could. The impression I got was that lots of stuff was rescued. They didn't say, "I'm sorry but 99% was lost".

I was seriously injured in an auto accident during the time they were doing this. A friend of mine picked up the new computer and the old zip drive. I couldn't deal with any of it for about a year. During that year, I threw away the zip drive and disks thinking that everything that could be saved was on the new computer. Now that I'm well enough, I've been going through the files.

This is what was lost.

ALL OF MY PERSONAL JOURNALS FROM 1999-2013.

ALL OF MY WRITING FOR MY MASTERS THESIS.

ALL OF MY WRITING FOR THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL CLASS I CREATED AND TAUGHT FOR TWO SEMESTERS. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH WRITING, PLANNING, LESSON PLANS, AND WRITING FOR AN ORIGINAL UNTESTED SEMESTER LONG CLASS TAUGHT FOR TWO SEMESTERS FOR A UNIVERSITY LEVEL CLASS TAKES? UNBELIEVABLE.

AND I THREW THE ZIP DRIVE AND THE ZIP DISKS OUT BECAUSE THEY SAID THEY WEREN'T USABLE. AND I STILL BELIEVE THAT EVEN IF I STILL HAD THE ZIP STUFF THAT I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO RESCUE ANYTHING. THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO. THE ZIP STUFF IS GONE.

THE ONLY HARD COPY I HAVE IS OF MY FINISHED MASTERS THESIS AND THE PORTFOLIOS I WAS REQUIRED TO WRITE FOR MY MASTERS DEGREE. I HAVE ONE SYLLABUS FROM ONE SEMESTER OF MY MASTERS PROGRAM. THAT'S ALL.

Please don't tell me this might be for good, that something good will come of this, that this was MEANT TO BE, blah, blah, blah, etc.

I FEEL PHYSICALLY SICK, LIKE I WANT TO THROW UP BUT CAN'T. I FEEL IN SHOCK. SICK. STUNNED. TOTALLY UNABLE TO WRAP MY MIND AROUND THIS LOSS. TWENTY YEARS OF WRITING, TOTALLY, COMPLETELY GONE. JUST GONE. I'VE BEEN TRYING TO HANG IN THERE ALL DAY, TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS. NOW I THINK I JUST NEED TO GO EAT SOMETHING AND JUST CRY. I'VE BEEN HOLDING OFF CRYING ALL DAY. I'M DEVASTATED.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Tituba » Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:27 am

It isn't good or meant to be. It is loss. You will need to get angry, cry and grieve. Eventually, you will need to let it go. You aren't at the place of acceptance now and can't expected to be calm about this. If you tossed the backup media, then there really isn't anything else to do but feel loss. What is important here is your health. Don't let the anger and loss consume you. Working yourself into a state of blind fury is only going to hurt your health.

It might be helpful if you threw yourself into a new writing project. Even if that writing is about loss. You can't bring back what is lost, but you can create new.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Elizabeth » Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:49 am

Oh, InspireSuccess, I am so sorry. I am another writer and I feel sick right along with you. I wish there was a weeping emoticon because I'd use it here. I hope you were able to cry last night because that's pretty much the only possible response.

Would the university have copies of any of your class material? Are you still in touch with any of your students, who might have saved some of it?

I'm just so sorry. You might look into Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of grief, because what you have suffered is a major loss and moving through grieving stages might give you a structure to protect your health and sanity, as Tituba wisely points out.

.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby SquarePeg » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:52 pm

I don't know what to write except that I'm so sorry for your loss. I would feel sick, too. In fact, I felt sick just reading your post out of empathy.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:15 pm

Inspire, I'm so very sorry that that happened to you. I hope crying comes easily to you, because that's just horrible.

You're probably in shock right now, and you're probably not going to feel like taking any action for a while. When you do, you could talk to the University, friends, students, someone who knows someone who could help. Maybe some of your students kept notes or handouts or something useful. Elizabeth's idea is a good one. Maybe the computer guys know something useful, some way to recover something. Computer geeks (and I use the term with the highest regard - I love computer geeks.) can do amazing things.

I'll say a prayer.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:29 am

Just had to say - I've only known you for a short time, and only through the Internet. I think you're one of the kindest,most supportive people I know. I wish this hadn't happened to anyone, but I especially wish it hadn't happened to you.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby inspiresuccess » Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:03 pm

Elaine Glimme wrote:Just had to say - I've only known you for a short time, and only through the Internet. I think you're one of the kindest,most supportive people I know. I wish this hadn't happened to anyone, but I especially wish it hadn't happened to you.



Okay, that did it. I don't cry easily and I haven't cried yet for the 3 days since I first posted here. But when I read your last comment, Elaine, I just broke down and starting sobbing. Briefly. I wish it were easier for me to cry but it just isn't! Damn!

I'll come back soon and respond to all your comments. For now -- thank you for your compassion and support. I still feel really sick and in shock.

I wish I could just take the computer to the computer store tomorrow and say, "Show me where my stuff is". But I can't. A doctor took my driving privileges away 2.5 months ago and even though he said I was fine to drive 2 weeks ago I'm still waiting for F***ing DMV to let me know that they think I'm safe to drive. And, no, I don't have any friends who could take me. I've been sick a long time and the few friends I have are done (and I mean DONE) with driving me places. The county gives me rides to doctor's appointments and grocery shopping and that's it.

So here I am going on almost 3 months of sitting here alone in this apartment. And I don't know if I have any of my computer files or not. I try to stay away from the computer but I have come back a few times to see if I could find anything. There are a couple of things that seem...........maybe............possibly............don't want to get my hopes up..........like...........there might be some more files in there that I don't know how to access. The computer guys would just look and say.........here's how you open them. Hmmmmmmmmmm....... I wonder how much it would cost to have one of them come here? Don't even want to know. I live way below the poverty line. I'm just going to have to be patient and wait for the F***ing DMV.

Thanks for all your comments and support.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Tituba » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:45 am

Click the Start key on your desktop
At the bottom, you'll see a box saying "search programs & files"
tyep *.doc* and hit ENTER

Whatever documents you have on your computer will then show.
(here are step by step with screenshots http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/h ... indow.html)


Otherwise, you can download and install teamviewer (http://www.teamviewer.com) and call a computer tech in your area and pay them to remote in and look at your computer. You don't have to take your computer to the computer store.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby inspiresuccess » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:46 pm

Tituba wrote:Click the Start key on your desktop
At the bottom, you'll see a box saying "search programs & files"
tyep *.doc* and hit ENTER

Whatever documents you have on your computer will then show.
(here are step by step with screenshots http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/h ... indow.html)


Otherwise, you can download and install teamviewer (http://www.teamviewer.com) and call a computer tech in your area and pay them to remote in and look at your computer. You don't have to take your computer to the computer store.


I did that. Sadly, the only thing that came up was what I know I have on the computer. Nothing from journals, nothing from Masters Degree.

The thing that gave me hope was in my C: drive, it had a folder that said," disk1,disk2,disk3,disk4,disk5 328 MB. I was hoping the disks meant my zip disks. I didn't open it though for fear of messing something up. I'll check out the teamviews later. Thanks, Tituba.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Tituba » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:10 pm

Click once on disk1 and see what kind of file is there. It might be a zip file. If it is a zip file, it may contain the files you are looking for.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:02 pm

I'm wishing you success with disk1, etc.

Re DMV: my husband and I went through something similar. I am also wishing you a nicer DMV officer than we got. In our experience, the doctor fills out the DMV form exactly the way DMV wants it filled out (it's a tad ambiguous.) and DMV gets to it in their own sweet time, and either tells you you can have your license, or tells you what the doctor did wrong and how to fix it to get your license. It helps if you can say that you need the license for work.

May you get the most competent DMV officer they have; may all forms be done perfectly the first time; and may no one be on vacation when you need them. :D

p.s. The doctor told you that you are okay to drive. Did the doctor also tell DMV? If you need to check this, you just have to ask the receptionist at the doctor's office. You don't actually have to bother the doctor.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby inspiresuccess » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:29 pm

Elaine Glimme wrote:I'm wishing you success with disk1, etc.

May you get the most competent DMV officer they have; may all forms be done perfectly the first time; and may no one be on vacation when you need them. :D

p.s. The doctor told you that you are okay to drive. Did the doctor also tell DMV?


Elaine, thank you for the DMV "affirmations"! The doctor called me personally to tell me he'd filled out the 5 page report and mailed it. 2.5 weeks ago. Still waiting.

RE: Disk1. I haven't gotten up enough courage to face it yet. Waffling between, What if it's there? What if it isn't there? Don't have enough courage yet but I'm feeling more calmed down and somewhat hopeful.

After doing some relaxation/meditation stuff, it came to me that I have 2 file boxes filled with school stuff. Got those out. Nothing useful. Gathered up all the books I used when I was doing the class. Remembered there's a box in the closet (haven't faced that yet!). Remembered which book I used for the first semester. Remembered that I created a "Reader" for the 2nd semester. For those who don't know what a reader is -- the students have a 3-ring binder, each week I give them handouts to put in the binder, taken from a range of books that I printed out. Found the hard copy of that. Very interesting! (I taught this class 12 years ago and haven't read any of this stuff.)

In case anyone is curious, the class I created and taught at Sonoma State University was, Psychology of Music. Here's the reader's sections:

Section 1: Rhythm and the Body
Section 2: Melody and the Emotions
Section 3: Harmony, the Mind, and Learning
Section 4: Relaxation and Mind/Body Healing

Also, I found the copy of my thesis but not the official one with the signatures on it (maybe in the closet box?) There is an "Acknowledgments" section of the thesis and here is the 3rd paragraph:

"I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Barbara Sher for her inspiring books and to the many anonymous people on her website who enthusiastically cheered me on. Special thanks to Tam for her daily check-ins and to Banffwriter, MDG, and Vict, for keeping the supportive, funny, and creative thesis writing thread going."

The name of my thesis is: The Music Journal Process: Exploring the story of our lives through, music, word, and image."

Sigh. I actually did an enormous amount of work for the classes, the thesis, and the portfolios. After being really ill for many years it seems like it was just someone else or just a dream. But I know I really did it. Makes me feel like crying again.

P.S. I don't know if Barbara ever knew about that acknowledgement. Tituba, could you pass it on to her?
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:43 pm

A smiley face :D to your doctor for telling you that s/he had mailed the form to the DMV. DMV has been known to take their own sweet time.

I hope you're very gentle with yourself about opening disks and looking in boxes. Of course you're waffling. I would be.

And your course sounds really interesting.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby skannie » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:12 pm

Hi inspiresuccess.

It's awful to lose all that stuff :( But don't give up hope yet. That folder with disk1,disk2, etc looks promising. Did you have 5 Zip disks?

I think Tituba might be confusing Zip disks with zip files. A Zip disk is something like a giant floppy disc that could be inserted into a special Zip drive. I still have a few of them somewhere. They weren't in common use for very long because burnable CDs came along that could store more stuff, and then external hard drives appeared that were even better. A Zip disk has normal files on it, whereas a zip file is a kind of compressed file that has to be opened by a special piece of unzipping software.

It shouldn't do any harm trying to open the folder. You can just do a double click on it and see what happens. If you're really worried, make a new folder to copy it into somewhere else on your computer, e.g. in My Documents. Give it a name like MaybeZipDisks. Then go back to the disk1,disk2 folder and right click on it and click copy, then right click on or in the new MaybeZipDisks folder and click paste. When it's finished copying you can then try to open the new copy while keeping the old one safe.

If you do find your files, or if in future you create any new precious ones, the safest thing is actually to save them in more than one place. Save copies on the computer and on an external drive. Maybe somewhere online too e.g. in Google Drive, or open a GMail account and email them to yourself.
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Re: I've just lost 20 years of writing because of my compute

Postby Tituba » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:24 pm

I know the difference. She said she threw out the zip discs and had zip files on her hard drive.
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