Sorry I didn't blog this yesterday afternoon when she came. She showed up EARLY - they said between four and six PM and she came at 3:30! I was outside the door to greet her. I looked, and there was the brown truck. Whoohoo! Went outside and yelled and cheered, waved my cane, pointed at the door, pointed at the sign and the driver laughed his head off.
Got her inside and ripped open the package to wild cheering in the chat room! Whoohoo! Most of the box was more box and packing materials. Erik did a great job of packing her safely for travel, with sort of foam stuff wrapped in plastic filling a box inside another box for heavy sturdiness.
Erik was right, WinME does run fast on her and so does Word, to my utter astonishment. What I didn't realize was that her monitor's brighter with better resolution than either of the regular monitors on my desktops! Or that the image area is almost an inch larger? That was something I really didn't expect. Shows you how inefficient monitors scraped up off the curb are likely to be? LOL
I'm sitting here in quiet rapture and deep gratitude. This laptop got me in the gut. My friends pulled together a fund and bought her for me, many of them anonymously, I'm just... stunned. It's hard to describe my feelings, because this ... it goes beyond Christmas mornings and things like that, it says a million good and beautiful things I want to pass on and share somehow. And I'm a wordy old weirdo, so I'll try.
This laptop's freedom.
In chat, talking to Melinda, who's writing a great mainstream biker novel, I realized that what motorcycles are to bikers, laptops have always been to me. The ones I had in the past were a bit like the sort of ratty junkyard type of machine. Toshi is not ratty junkyard machine. Toshi is more like a HOG, just too cool and too fast and too free, with a huge vast hard drive and high RAM and runs Word quick. Toshi is - I can do this anywhere. I could just get in a car with someone and go. If I got a car, I could even run the voice software on Office and dictate stories while driving. And everything is all there...
Everything is all there once I'm done with the file transfers, that is. :)
Toshi is also in some ways like moving into a new apartment. Today, when I got up, I spent... about three hours shoveling files in Ema to get the folders ready to store on a zipdisk, something I should have done a while back and put off. I know that I put it off because I wanted to get it all done at once. Get the files organized for backup, then back up to Toshi and back up to Sonata through the network cables that I haven't hooked up yet. I have serious setup to do here. I estimated it would take about a week to get everything set up, and after that it'll be maintenance.
Time Management is becoming something very bizarre around here.
I'm getting things done. Last night I did a little of the setup inside Toshi and worked on developing her file system, which I'm trying to get the mess that's Ema's sorted into. What I may do is just empty all the folders and heap all the stuff together and start sorting that way - the new system is based on stage of story or novel, not on genre. I had too many folders like "More Stories" and couldn't even tell what's done or not - so there's now Novel Partials, Novel Roughs, Novel Rewrites; Story Partials, Story Roughs, Story Rewrites, Article Partials, Article Roughs, Article Rewrites and 2002 Submissions and... to my delight... 2002 Sales.
The big clean empty hard drive inside Toshi is like moving into a new apartment or house that doesn't even have all its furniture yet and nothing's unpacked or put away. Like, damn it's clean! Being empty, it's very organized! Those folders are sitting there like brand new clean empty file cabinets that I could easily find anything in, because there's nothing in them yet!
Stories change title. Stories change genre in rewrite. Stories mutate all over the place and I am beginning to appreciate the benefits of organization. Novelists who are usually just novelists may laugh their heads off, because they've got what, a dozen, a couple of dozen projects? If they each get a folder that's fine. Easy to tell what's going on ...but I have over a hundred articles written and over a hundred old SelfHelp articles that could get rewritten into other articles and a serious whomping lot of stories, at the moment I don't even remember how many finished short stories I've got. The fiction is a serious mess. I just write it and stuff it in my hard drive and most of it's unsold roughs that need rewrite. The big fat folders are Story Roughs and Story Rewrites. Those actually outnumber Partials and Ideafile is its own folder.
And here I am with two paid sales, waiting for checks that will start changing my life. Checks that are tangible, positive PROOF that I was not just laying some scam line on all those people at the shelter or in the agencies. They were wrong about me. So wrong. Because if I made bead jewelry instead of writing stories and articles, I would be looking at this stack of cardboard boxes filled with stuff, good finished stuff mixed with unfinished, nothing tagged or priced or sorted as to what goes to what fair or event.
It's enough that if I get organized and as soon as I'm done with that Chazho rewrite, start chewing through the stock... I could get a pretty decent income going from short stuff. As long as I get in a habit of flow through and go on writing short stuff after sending out short stuff. And keep the rhythm every pro writer has pounded into me since I was 21 and started meeting pro writers: do not let the stuff sit unsubmitted after rejections. I'm at work right now doing the Job part of the best job on Earth. Simultaneously executive and file clerk. I've also realized 'file clerk' is a good rumination activity, because I'm working on the outline for Magic in the Streets while sorting.
In about three hours, I managed to get every loose file in My Documents shoveled into a category folder. The category folders are a mess, but I may sort them in Toshi. She runs faster. There's also a level of filing and orgnization that's cumulative, in that when I sit down to do a story or article rewrite and look for one to work on, I can file and categorize everything I look at when I look at it. What's more important is getting the rough folders for those categories into a zipdisk and then installing the zipdrive onto Toshi and unloading the unsorted boxes. A lot like the process of moving, except that since files are being copied my familiar old environment will still look the same. The 'putting away' is often a slower process, unpacking one box at a time to make gradual cumulative improvement.
I've got a ton of work ahead of me, but it just doesn't feel as overwhelming - because I do have all the means to do it right in reach. That makes all the difference. And with two recent sales, I've got a driving need to get it done too and prepare for the expedition.
That's it. That's what it feels like. I've got all my electronics in order, the Palm hasn't been sent yet but the Palm is a joy that's not an essential. Toshi is mobile base of operations either across town, across country or across the room to get something done on bad days. And my feeling about this machine is a lot like looking at the nice new used Land Rover packed with the supplies to make it to the site in the Congo or the Amazon... even been through the carwash and totally reconditioned, new to me and rough and rugged and capable of everything I need her to do. There's a glorious sense of adventure about laptops.
The expedition is from Welfareland to the wilds of Writersterritory, a pretty remote kind of Shangri La that I've dreamed of all my life. I didn't expect to go through Welfareland to get there, but I'm on the edges of it now and it's real. All the suburban kids back at my high school who dreamed and grumbled and vaguely wanted to do something fun instead of something miserable found other compensations, a few went on adventures of their own, like Gabrielle who threw over Juilliard (doesn't teach composing to girls) in favor of airline piloting. Most probably stayed right there in that area and got jobs or went to college and got jobs, got married, had kids, had good or bad luck with that but eventually 'grew up and gave up the dream.' I didn't. This laptop has the resonance that a portable typewriter did when I was one of those kids. This is the beginning, the real beginning of the big adventure that my life's always been.
Knowing it came from my friends, that moves me down where joy comes from. I need to use it well and make good things happen and pay forward. We are all going to make it. Welfareland for all its splendid horrors and dreadfully dramatic anecdotes and mighty themes was only a side trip after all.
Robert and Ari >^..^<