Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Continuing Saga

Friends, I had a look at my last saved copy of my manuscript, which was from about March 4th, before the Big Sur workshop. And then I realized the scope of what I had lost, and I was like, Whoa. Entire chapters, little nitpicky word changes: lots and lots of stuff. I began to lose my nerve for redoing it all from memory.

So yesterday morning I got up bright and early, hopped in my Prius and joined the commuting herds on the 110 to downtown Los Angeles, to find a company called Data Retrieval. An adventure!

Downtown looms ahead like the, um, Emerald City

Driving on the freeway in Los Angeles is a pain. We wish for a subway all the time. But Rachel, doesn't L.A. already have a Metro? No. The Metro is a cruel, stupid joke.

The L.A. experience

Thanks for the public transportation to nowhere

(I've got an awesome story about losing my house keys, sleeping on someone's floor in a party dress and taking the Metro through the scary part of town, but I'll save that for another time.)

When I finally got downtown, I had to park, but the building I needed to go to was valet-only, $4 for every 10 minutes. Wow. So I drove around. Why is all the parking in downtown L.A. all-day flat rate? I missed a couple of turns, and ended up in a tunnel that shot me out way over by the L.A. Times. Good grief.


Finally I caved and took the ritzy valet parking. I convinced the valet to let me park along the wall, ran upstairs and made an ass out of myself by racing past security and setting off alarms, took an elevator to the 36th floor with a man in a suit and scornful expression (apparently flipflops and frizzy ponytails are not the proper attire for the business district), and turned in my flash drive to an awkward but friendly young man named Roman.

I had high hopes.

This morning I received the diagnostic email from Data Retrieval. The data may be there, it may not. They're willing to give it a whirl to the tune of $762.77. OUCH. You know how many writer's conferences that would pay for? I just can't pay that much for something that currently has a market value of $0, so I sent a short reply, NothankyouverymuchmayIhavemymediaback?

My sweet husband, who runs an entire avionics department full of brilliant people, has promised to take my corrupt drive in to work when I get it back and see if anything can be done. I'm not counting on any miracles, so it looks like I'll be redoing the work after all. Thank you so much for all your supportive comments on my last post; it really made me feel much better.

I will redo this. And it will be awesome.

p.s. Don't worry Mom, I only took these pictures when the driving got slow and kept my eyes on the road the entire time, I promise.


  1. Ohmygoodness!!! That's awful. I have nightmares about that happening all the time. I'm so sorry to hear you're living it. I can guarantee the newer version will be stellar, though. You'll wind up adding in great stuff that never occured to you before.

  2. So I talked to Rachel about this post right after it went up, and discovered that the place she went to is in the same building I work at. (Gotta love the $4 every 10 minute valet).

    We are planning a rescue mission for the USB now!

  3. AW! I am so sorry this happened to you! What a mess! And don-t feel so bad - sometimes I'm lazy and don't back up my work! Chin up - maybe this second round you'll make the manuscript even shinier!

  4. I was in the same boat recently. I lost 5,000 words from a very new first draft when my hard drive crashed. I also ran around to a bunch of data recovery places and got quotes from $400 to $2000--I don't think I'll EVER have $2000 of disposable money lying around, so I had to face the horrible reality that I'd have to retype everything. I've replicated a lot of the lost stuff, and I feel much, much better now. When you get past the "Oh God, this sucks so bad!" phase of retyping your work, it's easier to move on and forget about the tragedy of losing your writing.

  5. Quite the adventure - hope you can get your data back. That sucks.

  6. WOW- this is quite the horror story! Perhaps this is just the 'revision boost' your story needed. :)

    Loved your side note to your mom (PS).

  7. Oh no! I am so sorry this happened. I'm still hoping you get everything you lost back. :(

  8. At least you weren't a dumb kid like me when I first moved out here and lost my laptop drive with all my photos of my Harvard graduation and thesis performance (argh how many times do you get to graduate from Harvard in a lifetime? I can't believe I lost them!). I found some shady place in Van Nuys through the phone book (yup, still used that back then) and they charged me a bunch to put a new operating system on but didn't recover the data. First life lesson. :P

  9. OUCH! That's a lot of moolah. That sucks, but you can fix this. I believe in you. :)

  10. It will be better than ever when you redo it because you will remember and find lots of new stuff to add. It's like an EXTREME version of putting your manuscript in a drawer to think it over! That quote is outrageous btw!

  11. Darn it. I hope you and your husband can find someone to help you retrieve the data!

    (By the way, I went to one of the Big Sur workshops a couple years ago. It was awesome.)