I almost threw my phone across the Northern Line tube to Edgware via Bank in anger. I'd frantically typed over one thousand words into my Google Drive. For whatever reason, I hadn't saved it when I got online, so when I did open it, the version I'd added to the story had gone. Poof. Into the imagination drift from whence it came. That curling smoke of inspiration I had inhaled whilst listening to Young Fathers on Spotify vanished.
You learn the hard way. Save everywhere. Save many versions of the same thing, so this thing never happens again. But it keeps happening to me! Back to the old days where I used to save work to CD drives, only for my bag to be stolen and every single one of my CDs in their bright pink cover case would be gone. Or even further back to floppy disk days, where it no longer worked, because it ended up in the bottom of my bag with a Tunnock Teacake and never recovered. Or to the early days where I'd make a note on the back of an envelope only for someone (not naming names Lady London) in a fit of OCD tidied up and that barnstorming idea was no more.
I like to think that the first time you write a scene is like an invisible tattoo. I remember giggling to myself when I wrote Tony playing Akon minutes after Nick was shot. I can recall how it amused me. I can feel to my fingertips how Danny and Will raged at their parents for having the audacity to get divorced and get back together. I can smell the stench of death when I wrote a shivering, naked Mical calling to her mother from the afterlife. I don't know, or rather, I'm not confident of how those would be the same if I'd had to write it from scratch, because dumbo here doesn't know how to save her work.
USBs and iClouds don't make any of this easier. I'm still having to rely on Ctrl + S and my brain, which is mocking me these days.
And yet, as I'm making the effort to type up some notes from an untouched and very long manuscript, adding to missing chapters, I feel a sense of the most wonderful deja vu. A battle of an 80s themed birthday party. An art gallery punch up. The dissolution of a friendship and the desperate hunger for love.
It all joined in holy matrimony with an understanding that I could do it. "You got this, heffa!" Hank reassures me repeatedly. It finally becomes clear that it's not impossible the second time around. I am older and wiser and more patient. The words trip from my fingertips right onto my keyboard, absent of the same frustration that has plagued my writing for weeks now. I have got this!
Funny that, I thought the older I became the less patience I had with everything. Well, everything except writing. It's one of the few things that deserves all my dedicated, committed patience.
Hot Muse Hank: Told you.