Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

162 Disconnecting . . .

It only took a moment. I looked down. My computer bag was gone. Yes, I lost my driver's license, some meds, but mostly I was stunned. Would all my backups function? Had I backed up my poetry as carefully as my fiction?

Only days later did I realize the extent of my loss, pictures of this once-in-a-lifetime trip, six months through South America. Yes, all my backups (flash drive, DVD/CD, e-mailed copies of current work to my yahoo account), all worked. But the biggest loss was being able to write easily, whenever and wherever I wished. Now, only 3-1/2 weeks from home and being able to replace my computer, I'm calmer. I can write in bits and pieces, but I lost truly this last month as well.

Tenacity remains. I scribble on scratches of paper, a new notebook and whenever I have access (internet cafes, hotel lobbies), I try to write something -- bits of scenes, parts of poems, and posts to my travel blog.

What I learned: Back on up i-Google documents, especially when writing on the road. That service is free, private, and accessible from any computer (tip thanks to Internet Writing Workshop, an online writing critique group that shall forever be appreciated for their prompt practical and thoughtful advice). Trust yourself to write, no matter what happens. New concepts, scenes, bits of dialogue, insights into characters, commitments to different strategies for research, all have come my way. Appreciate what you have. No matter what your workspace is, know it, appreciate it! It is your unique writing place, your refuge, your inspiration. That view out the window, the line of books in front of you, the stack of notes, the quiet at early morning. You have made this as surely as any written product. And, if you are traveling, Wrap your laptop in your arms, no matter where you are -- in a bus stop after 12 hours, on the airplane, on a train, sitting in a rstaurant, or even standing on a corner.

We are often told some experiences can never be taken from us. What remains for me is a commitment to writing. I lost a few poems. I lost some treasured photographs. And perhaps several hundred research files. I cannot replace some of the drawings or notes. But I still write.

Leaves quiver in morning sunlight.
A mysterious bird warbles,
and its call is answered by a passing train.
I sit in this garden and watch for the birds
as the sun shimmers on the leaves,
the train passes, the ground rumbles,
and the chip-chip-chip of hummingbirds
punctuates the garden.
Pale white trumpet flowers sway,
the train´s bell makes a harsh last call,
metal on metal clanging, the rails hum.
I sit under this mango tree,
looking up into its green leaves,
where buds hallow into fruit.
The past, the present, the future,
all fuse in the humming bird's call.
The mountains rise around me impossibly high,
but I remain at peace,


  1. I feel for you there. I back-up everything I do. Place on a memory stick and email it to me, so I have it all in two mailboxes. And if that wasn't enough, i don't trust electronics. I print everything I write in order to have a hard copy on paper. I call that the real one.

  2. wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i just went higherrrrrrrrrrr with every change in line!

  3. oh no!!! I was trying to figure out a way for you to get your info back... but have only suffered the crashing of my lacie without backing up on cd... and paid the price for that ($2500 at DriveSavers)
    I think too every once in awhile of things stolen; physical things like a crate of old albums and my daughters baby ring - stolen by the movers... but also non-physical things stolen by others; which one can't help but flashing on throughout life.
    Sigh. thieves.

  4. Doing most of my work on computer, whether writing, animating or illustrating, I've gotten a bit paranoid about backing things up. But, I admit I can get lazy about my laptop. In cafes I go to a lot I might leave it there while I go to the loo. But I'll usually pile stuff on top to so that even if someone were to try to take it, they'd make too much of a scene to get away easily. Still foolish, I know.

    But I like how you turned your experience into a learning opportunity, and a lovely poem. Some things cannot be replaced, but most material things are not worth holding onto. You can't take it with you in the end.

  5. Oh, I hate it when I have something lost or stolen, such a horrid feeling! Thanks for the tips! Never heard of i-google.