Lost Things

by limebirdster

At the end of last year, I opened my tumble dryer for the first time since it had gotten cold, to find some sheets that I’d washed in about January, that I’d forgotten all about and left sitting in there for about 8 months. I also discovered that my parent’s oldest teapot has a teabag fused to the bottom of it because my dad didn’t notice it was in there and put it away at the back of the cupboard for about a year. And in the corner of my bedroom is my old PC, with all of my third year uni work trapped somewhere inside.

I suppose the computer is a bit different to the sheets and the teabag because I haven’t really forgotten about it, but it is definitely lost. You see, about a month after my final assignments were due in, my computer locked itself out of windows and had to go in for repair. Everything was wiped but it cost about £100 more to retrieve data and I didn’t realise that nothing was backed up, so I didn’t pay the extra £100.

I then got home and found that I only had copies of my first and second year assignments. But being fresh out of uni and unemployed I didn’t really have the money to take my computer back in, especially considering that I needed a new one anyway.

So the old computer has been sat in the corner of my bedroom for almost three years, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. Because somewhere inside of it, is a story that, no matter how many times I try, I can’t write again.

I do the same thing in my head sometimes, think of a line and then when I come to write it down, I can’t quite remember how it went. And then I can’t continue writing until I’ve remembered that exact line because nothing else that I can come up with fits as well.

Do you ever do that? Think of something and then forget it, and then get stuck for ages trying to remember exactly what it was?

Sometimes I remember and realise that it was actually terrible in the first place! But I still can’t carry on with a story without knowing what I was going to write, even if I know that I’m going to change it anyway. Is that weird?

Maybe it’s a bit OCD, but I have the first draft of that story that’s stuck in my computer. I have the notes I used for the rewrite too, and the feedback sheet from my lecturer. But I can’t bring myself to try and do it again without knowing how good or bad the original is. Somehow it doesn’t feel like a new draft, it feels like trying to write a whole new story instead!

19 Comments to “Lost Things”

  1. You’ve got to try to get it back. Take it somewhere and plead, cry, beg ….

  2. My first reaction, to your opening line, was, “Ew!” 😀

    I think if it’s gnawing at you that much, you should find a way to get that old draft off of the harddrive. If you want to try and cheat your way through it, try taking it to your local uni’s IT department. Many specialise in data restoration, and usually for cheaper than a professional service. Although, if it’s a few years old, you might need the professionals. If you think you want to try doing this yourself, this site has a nice list of your options:

    As for the writing part, I have to admit that I write down almost EVERYTHING, these days. That can occasionally become a pain, but it can also make for some fun lookbacks, after I’ve sobered up or gotten a good night’s sleep. 😉

    Good luck!

    • That was my first reaction when I found them too!

      I’ve got a friend who I’m sure sort it out, he just lives ages away & for some reason I’ve never got my old computer with me when we meet up!

  3. Writing a story over is a dreadful feeling. Editing, by all means, editing dominates my writing life right now, but referencing the original still matters. I hope you can retrieve it one day.

  4. I wish you luck in retrieving your story. I know how that goes. It’s so annoying, but if you are able to find it again, it’s such a great feeling. 🙂

  5. I have a friend whose dad carries a pen and bound little notebook that will fit in his shirt pocket. He calls it his memory, and I see him use it a half-dozen times an hour. With the lost data, I lost all of the sermons I wrote in 1989-1992 by asking a friend to convert them from Tandy to a PC. Crash — she lost them all. I stomped around for awhile — I never made paper copies of anything. Finally, I had a memorial service and bid them farewell. I still wish I had them!

  6. Turn it loose and start writing. Maybe it will evolve into a whole new story. I definately do the thinking and losing thing!! So frustrating!

    • It is frustrating! I think I need to let it go completely to be honest, it was an assignment for a children’s writing class that was aimed at an age group much younger than what I actually want to write. It’s just annoying that I’ve lost it!

  7. Ohhhh that is painful! I’ve had a much smaller experience. I had worked up a 10 page-ish short story that man oh man I was proud of. I got up for 2 seconds, the cat jumped on my keyboard and hit the lovely power off button (why do they put those on keyboards !?!?!?!?!?!?) I lost the whole thing. I’ve never been so heartbroken! And I’ve tried and tried to re-create it but it just seems sour now. Can’t quite make it live up to the original.

    • Why DO they put those on keyboards? I’m lucky enough that I’ve never had a keyboard fancy enough to have one, or a cat to jump on it for that matter, but I can imagine that would be really devestating, especially as you can’t really have a go at a cat!

  8. I have done the think of it and it’s gone thing so many times through out the years that it no longer cripples me. I’ve learned to just let that baby go, if it was that good it will come back to me again…and if not, I’m going to miss even more by not writing at all during the meantime.
    I still kick myself every time it happens, but really a book or any good piece is a lot more than ONE good idea, right? I would have had to think up more anyhow…good luck! I agree with the university IT dept. thing, it’s a great idea.

    • My old head teacher used to say something similar when we couldn’t remember what we’d put our hands up for, that if it was important we’d remember otherwise we didn’t need to say it in the first place. I think she was just trying to shut us up though! 😉

  9. Nice post. I have 5 dusty manuscripts in a drawer, three completed and two not finished. My critique partner keeps telling me I should fix up the completed ones — since they’re dog shit in their current state — and publish them. I can’t do it. They remind me too much of my early days of writing, when I had stars in my eyes and didn’t know my own voice. They don’t reflect who I am as a writer NOW. I think it’s important I wrote them, they were part of my learning, but publish them? I’d rather eat nails.

    • I know exactly how you feel! I’ve got a notebook of poetry that I wrote while I was in school and I’ll never throw it away, but I’ll never let anyone read it either!

  10. I think up my best lines in the car on the way to work. And I always say to myself ‘I’m going to write these down as soon as I get there’ but low and behold when I do get there, I can never remember them. I also do the same before I go to sleep, I always seem to think of something and then drift off to sleep and the words disappear in a cloud of dreams. I also have a disc somewhere of barely started stories long since forgotten, although maybe that’s the best place for those ones?

    • I hate thinking of things as I’m falligf asleep, I’m always too lazy to wake up and write them down and then I never remember them in the morning either!

  11. I’ve had two computers eat my writing now and its only this time around that I’ve learned my lesson about having up.
    I have to say though, as a result of losing various stories I’ve somehow managed to keep going and write new drafts. I stull have the first and second drafts of most of my writing, it was just new attempts I lost which may seem worse until I point out that i’ve been able to rewrite these pieces better than ever before

    Though if my hard drive pecked in again, this time it would be devastating!

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