…about disasters.

Those of us whose lives are involved in our computer usage live with the knowledge that disaster can strike when we least expect it…our faithful (or not so faithful) silicone friend can turn on us, can become an ugly, vindictive monster, wreaking vengeance on us for all the times we’ve railed at it for not doing what we expected. In short, it can crash. And crash hard.

My “faithful” friend, who would probably have been 97 in human years, died a couple of weeks ago. An annoyance, but not a disaster. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. I’d suspected the coughing, the passing out at odd times and the slow gait at which my friend lumbered along the ‘net paths, meant the end was near. So a few months ago, I bought an external hard drive, copied everything onto it, and smugly made a religion of CD file backups since that time.

I was covered.

Or so I thought.

My new silicone friend and I are making tentative forays into acquaintance and, I hope, eventually, friendship. Things haven’t been as dire as I’d expected. Until this week.

A crit partner discovered three errors in my novel, On Berryhill Road. Yikes!

I loaded my page layout software, pulled out my latest CD backup of my novel files and loaded it…and discovered the font I’d used for chapter headers was not available on my new computer. Sigh. I found the online company which owns the font, plunked down my plastic and bought it. Installed it. Now…ready to go.

But…the first page doesn’t look quite right. I page through the document and discover it is now only 207 pages, not the 250 pages it was originally. Huh?? How can that happen?

It can happen when the font of the body text is a different version than the one on your old computer, with different settings for leading (spacing between each line of text of a paragraph). And when the leading cannot be exactly duplicated when you load the file onto a different computer, no matter what adjustments you make…..you got problems, honey.

So now, after a search through other typefaces available to me on my new computer, I found one which will give me an approximation of the original font, and I’m going through my document, page by page, changing the font (and for those of you who’ve never used page layout software, this process isn’t at all similar to what you can do in a word processor, which is: select all, choose font, voila!).

Yesterday and today, instead of working on my latest WIP, I’m doing monkey work. Page forward, highlight text, select font. Deselect. Page forward…..

…about the power of the written word.

One of the most powerful elements in human interaction is the word. And more specifically, the written word. Our modern world, with its technological advances, would not be possible without reams of written information, inscribed one word at a time. And God chose the medium of the written Word to communicate His will to man, to record what He wanted man to know about Himself.

When I express myself through the spoken word, I don’t always do a good job of getting my ideas across. But when I write down what I want to say, I have an opportunity to evaluate my words, to pick and choose which will carry my meaning best, which will transfer the ideas and images in my mind to the minds of those who read my words. I can hone my message until the meaning is as clear as I’m capable of producing.

Since the written word has the potential for great influence, I believe it behooves us as writers, the wielders of pens (or computer keyboards), to make use of every means to hone our abilities. And I believe it’s good to be reminded occasionally of our potential influence and the responsibility that comes with it.