It has been a long time since I have written. Actually that’s not quite true; I write all the time. It has been a long time since I have posted a new anecdote, or a string of unintentionally offensive observations, or a self-deprecating reminiscence. There are several drafts in the holding pen on this site, but I haven’t the heart to finish them, and for very good reasons. If you’ve ever baked a cake from scratch, you understand the amount of thought, time and effort that goes into it. The same is the case with writing. First, an idea pops into your head, you craft your story, you sift and mix words furiously before the inspiration disappears into the ether, and then you go back and edit, if you have time to do so before being called to the carpool line. Very similar, these two endeavors. When a cake is finished, it’s beauty and deliciousness on full display, through the nose and palette and into the brain, spreading joy to all ages, one sweet tooth at a time, and a feeling of triumph floods over you. When you polish a piece of writing, and watch a reader relish your labor of love, the same wash of endorphins cleanses the self doubt that plagues most writers, and perhaps bakers, and you feel new shoots of creativity sprouting from your scalp like wild onions. It’s mildly addictive.
Now imagine that your cake tastes like cardboard because you were distracted by some sinister happenstance and you forgot, rhythm having been interrupted, to add the sugar. It’s ruined. You cannot go back and fix it. You are left to swear and dump the bland mess into the trash, pan included because it must be punished for its compicitness (autocorrect tells me this is not a real word, but I like it and it is working for me, so complicitness it is). And a voice riding high on disappointment leaps inside your ear and whispers, I will never bake, again. So it is when you complete something truly extraordinary only to click Publish and have most of it disappear, never to be seen again aside from bits and dots that flash in your mind, cruelly, recent flashbacks, dream-like remembrances that you try to grab ahold of only for them to slip away, always just out of reach…
It sounds like a nightmare, I know, because it is, and it is exactly what has happened the past several times I have sat at my dining room table tapping on a silver metal thing with a glowing apple on it, attempting to entertain family, friends, strangers, and myself, and ending helplessly in futility. All those gorgeous run-on sentences lost…forever. So many spam bots deprived of yet another blog posting to hound with incoherent pleas for URL’s and such. So many laughs that will never have been born, their breaths ripped right out from under them, just as they were forming. I know what you’re thinking. You are wondering why on earth I would repeat the same mistake over and over when it grieves me so, the suffering so palpable that the voice would declare with confidence and triumph, I will never write, again. In fact, would you believe that as I type presently I am playing roulette, exchanging glances between the Save and Publish buttons, wondering if either will dare betray my trust?
It is impossible to know whether or not technical difficulties are personal or simply things that happen. I suppose a computer could develop a passive-aggressive personality disorder and play it out in subtle and irregular acts of sabotage, if computers are so darned smart they would be able to do exactly that and at the same time make it seem perfectly irrational, and impossible, for such a crazy proposition to have any bit of legitimacy. If I were a computer regularly abusing my tapper for kicks, eating the fruits of their labor would be a good way to torment them. I’m not suggesting that computers are conspiring against us, merely stating that if they figured out a way to communicate any sort of displeasure, this would be the perfect way to express it. Like when you go away for a long weekend and leave behind only bowls of dry food and water for your cat, and it poops on your pillow.
So, to cover my bases before I hit the blue rectangle at the bottom right of this page, I say this:
To my little frienemy, temperamental fruit of the rose family who opens and closes at my will, forgive me for my indiscretions. However I have neglected you, improperly fed and cared for you, I am profoundly sorry, especially for the powdered sugar donut crumbs that grow stale between your perfect keys, and for the smudges and fingerprints on your wide flat face, and the encrusted dust that can be seen but not reached in all of your edges. I promise to be a better partner and caretaker. I implore you, reward my forthcoming diligence and attention with rapprochement, with an end to the technical difficulties, the glitches and freezes, the buffering, and especially, the lost words. We once worked well together, harmoniously, you and me, like butter and sugar, partners in crime and taste. Let us go back to the days of unicorns and rainbows. Sincerely lovingly, Me.
Oh, and, just in case I am the sole instrument of destruction responsible for all of my computer woes, I have just copied and pasted this into Word.