A couple of weeks ago, my then-two-month-old laptop died a rather anticlimatic death. I attempted to boot it up, only to have it try to boot from a media device that didn’t exist on the machine. Huh, thought I, I guess this might explain those messages I was getting about Windows shutting down unexpectedly, even though it never shut down unexpectedly while I was using it. (Windows 8 is weird.) It simply would not boot, and rooting around in the BIOS showed that it didn’t seem to realize it had a hard drive.
All is well now; the nice folks at the Microsoft store gutted it and gave it new innards, and it now seems to be running rather well, without other annoyances I’d been experiencing, such as my laptop losing contact with my bluetooth mouse every couple of hours. So I know that the death of one’s computer is a first world problem. It’s not my death or the death of a family member or friend, or even a beloved goldfish. It’s the death of a thing. And this particular death wasn’t even all that big of a deal. Everything important I had on the machine I’d saved to Dropbox, and other things, like my iTunes library, are readily available on other devices. It was a bit annoying to be relegated to using my desktop, which, after having gotten used to the quick boot time of my laptop, seems to lumber along like an aging mastodon. But in all, it was an annoyance, nothing more.
But seeing as the laptop had become my writing tool of choice for my WIP, it got me to thinking about all the time I spend thinking about the current WIP. I’m in a season of frustration with this novel, where I know where I need to go, but getting there is difficult and often painful. I frequently wake up at three a.m. and immediately start thinking about this book. I think about it driving to and from work. I think about it during my walks at work. If it were possible to map out the amount of my synapses that are devoted to The Book, it would likely cover more than half of my brain.* Truth be told, I probably think more about the problems of imaginary people than I do real ones. My friends and family are all doing fairly well, meaning I don’t worry about them.** My thought processes on them are largely Oh I should remember to tell Person X about blah blah and then my brain will shout, Your lack of scientific knowledge is going to sink your book! or Do you realize that you can’t possibly fit that many subplots in a 100k novel? YOU MUST MURDER ALL THE DARLINGS! or (and these are the moments that help keep me writing) Hey, that part’s actually pretty good. Maybe there’s hope for this mess after all.
And at some point I remember to think about things that exist in the real world. Sometimes.
Point being: It’s kind of amazing that I can devote so much time to a nonexistent place and people. It’s the sort of thing that some might say is indicative of mental illness, except for the fact that I still understand that all this stuff exists only inside my head and as 95k words, plus however many I’ve put in my “trash” folder, stored as bytes of data. I live in a place where I don’t have to worry about finding food, shelter, or drinkable water. I don’t even have to worry about whether I’ll have enough money to fill my car with gas to get to work. (Read that on a blog recently.) If the worst of my problems are about things that don’t really exist, I am incredibly blessed. So, thanks, God. I’m aware that things could be much, much worse, and I’m grateful that they’re not.
Just trying to give myself some perspective in the midst of the land of frustration.
And to all the people currently living inside my head: We’ll get there. Eventually your lives will suck less. Just not yet.***
*Well, I think. I’m not a medical person; I’m not sure how much of my brain is devoted to all that unconscious and all those involuntary things that have to do with automatic bodily processes, like breathing and having my heart beat and whatnot.
**Or they consider me a selfish person and deliberately avoid telling me about their problems because they think I wouldn’t care. Which I hope is untrue, but . . .
Crap. Now I need to do some self-analysis.
***Now I laugh the laugh of the evil author: Muahahahaha!