JK Rowling once reference to her then-planned massive book about all things Harry Potter as "the Scottish Book." The original reference belong to Shakespeare, as Macbeth was called "the Scottish play." It was considered bad luck to speak the name of a play before it was preformed. I jokingly refer to one of my works as "the Scottish book" in the same manner. Not because it doesn't have a name (it does) or because I think it's unlucky speak the name of a book first (I don't) but because if I don't joke about this book, I'll cry.
Many eons ago, I wrote a highly fictional account of my time spent in Asia. It was awesome, or so people said. It won an award or two. Friends read it and liked it. I've reconnected with people from that time period and they all ask me about this book. It was never published and it was tucked away to be edited and revised later.
Like many of my ideas from that time period, it was undergoing extensive re-writes at my hand. This book was particularly difficult to revise because I had to look up dates from years ago (was that day a Monday? Tuesday?) and keep events historical accurate and realistic. It required reading non-fiction books and speaking to my parents about events that happened when I was a young teenager. My father had to fill me in what had really happened, events that had been hidden from me because I was too young to know about them.
Needless to say, it was super slow going and a very painstaking process. While I was working on this, I was also in college, dating my now-husband, getting married and having babies. Technology was changing, computers were changing and upgrading the files the hosted my book wasn't a priority. When life settled down a bit, I began to work on it again- and my computer died.
Gone were many pictures of my son in the NICU. Gone were several books, including my "Scottish Book." You see, my computer had a virus. I think I had backed up the story on CD-ROM. I think. I don't know for sure and the computer tech told me that my CDs were likely infected too. I never tried to put them in my new computer, for fear of infecting that one too.
That was also several years ago. After a second computer crash (I'm a slow learner), my father gifted me with an external hard drive. All my writing is backed up on that and on my computer. I also have an external CD/DVD port but I haven't tried to run the Scottish book's CD on it. Honestly, I don't know if it would work with my computer; I'm using the same program but a much, much newer one. And if the tech is right and there is a horrible virus on it? I can't risk my shiny new computer like that.
But all.that.work! Allll the work. I still have hard copies of the original, thank God. I could go back and re-type a new copy but I had some awesome scenes in the most recent re-writes. I had figured out dates and done a lot of the "grunt work" so to speak. It's upsetting to think of it all there, but not. When people ask me about it, I sternly say, "We do not speak of this. Ever." They laugh but I'm sad.
Will my Scottish book ever be written? I don't know. It's not even in my personal que of novels I am working on. Nevertheless, it holds a special place in my heart and I hope that, one day, it shall be officially named and worked on.
And the moral of this story, if there is one? Back up, back up, back up and get a damn good virus software.