Friday 1 March 2019


A rather self-focused post, I’m afraid.

Being a creature of habit, this month has been an odd one. As I said at the start of February, my main computer - a desktop model - crashed and died, and took my main email set-up with it.

As my tax returns had just been done, there was a certain kindness in the machine’s demise. Besides, I knew all was not lost; the material was merely inaccessible for a while. So, while the big box was being mended by a generous friend, my days took on a different rhythm.

The email thing. 

I did have a “travelling” gmail account, so I could email family, some of my friends and a few essential contacts when away from home, but with the desktop gone, I was unable to access my main email account.

Consequently, for most of February, my main incoming emails were invisible – at least to me. All the usual information was coming in and/or being rejected somewhere but, for this patch of time, there was nothing I can do about it.

I was concerned about anyone truly trying to reach me and hoped they’d try other methods.(Sorry, if the silence included you.)

I was also slightly worried that the offer of a lifetime might have been rebuffed but I didn’t, truly, think it was likely.

What,  however, was not arriving was the weight of everyday information, from book releases and media promotions through to shopping and spam. Day by day, everything felt lighter – and the silence was strangely liberating. And enjoyable

There was another sideways effect.

I tried using my newish laptop much more but the dainty keys responded all too well to the lightest touch of my fat fingers. Any mis-tap on the key-board set the laptop swallowing lumps of text before I'd had time to see what was being eaten. In my technically anxious state, I dare not trust my WIP to my elegant laptop in case I lots the lot.

Instead, I read and I pottered around the house, doing practical things, and let myself think about the WIP too. Steadily, while I was away from the tyranny of my own blooming wads of words, various ideas and answers arrived and useful thoughts got thunk. The WIP moved on and that was a second delightful result of my disaster.

Today is the first day of March, and a new (but not-yet-tried) desktop is in place and ready. 

I am still not sure how my various email setups will work out, but something will, though I shall try to be less in thrall and maybe unsubscribe more often.

My time away with my New Blue laptop, partly unconnected, has been unexpectedly useful and we will be staying better working friends than we were. So a g.ood and useful patch of time, all in all!

That's it. A new month has arrived, so have a good March yourself, and  I will try to write a more outgoing post for the start of April, if that’s possible by then. 

By then, it may be a whole other story . . .

Penny Dolan


Nick Garlick said...

Computers: so useful, so tyrannical. I liked this post.

Penny Dolan said...

Thank you, Nick. What I've most missed has been the use of the desktop's big screen. Editing is a much harder visual task when you're squinting at the text, and scanning for errors in tense and grammar a lot less accurate - as you'll have noticed in this post. :-)

Susan Price said...

Glad to hear the WIP is moving on. And there's nothing like leaving it alone for a month to move it on.

Joan Lennon said...

Brains and books - strange things that they are - glad that the enforced computerlessness prompted new thoughts on the tome.

Jenny Alexander said...

I enjoyed this, Penny! The best thing about going North with my tent in the summer for 3 or 4 weeks is I'm off the grid for most of the time, and I so relate to what you're saying. I love all the online social and info - the friendship and buzz of it - but I always feel a bit reluctant to re-engage after I've been away from it for a while.

Lynne Benton said...

Sorry I came to this late, Penny, but hope all is well by now. Good luck with both the new desktop and the Big Blue laptop - and, of course, with the WIP!