Saturday, November 21, 2015

Salvaging old files (again)


Having grown weary of scanning and transcribing old journals (from the pre-electronic era), for poems and journal entries, since mid-October I mosied on over to my MFA papers, and collections folders, where I found lots of material I'd forgotten about. A few of my missing poems from 2000-2003, for starters. The beggars!

I also found a treasure trove of folklore collections for Alan Dundes, and book synopses from my Celtic Romanticism class at UC Berkeley. Wish I had discovered them when I was prepping for my Celtic bard talk at Sacramento Poetry Center last month.

Some of those lean middle years of little writing posted on my blog, suddenly swelled to respectable numbers. But alas, there were few poems, and a few pieces I was hunting down an electronic copy of, were corrupt beyond belief. I took a few screen shots. Ugh. (See below.) The worst culprits seem to be from the Works 2, and Word 4 era; they were updated to Word 5, and beyond, but they ghosted themselves into ASCII oblivion anyway. Word 5 docs also didn't fare well.

The early pre-electronic years on this blog have gained many entries. It makes for an interesting timeline. I did that then? So while some writers are deep into NaNoWriMo, I'm spelunking the past for treasure, and revising some pieces. My NaRevWriMo.

In order to rescue corrupted files, I experimented with different applications, and discovered that sometimes those blank docs would reveal some of their secrets if I used other word processing programs (not Word, itself), and I opened them in TextEdit, RTF, etc.) Usually cracking a document open, revealed all the corrections as well as random ASCII bits. In other words, hodgepodge.

I am constantly correcting and updating my work. That's what writers do. Revise, revise, revise. Imagine every iteration you ever wrote, saved all in one doc., in fragments, like an old laundry pile. That's what lurks behind the scene on your Word.doc. (What you see is but a shell hiding the messiness of writing, rewriting, and endless saving—not to mention your printer's vital stats.) In other words, it's a word salad. Not useful. More like electronic cuneiform. In my attempt to salvage some of those docs, I've rewritten poems, so are they new poems, or old poems?

And since I've backed up all my old files onto new hard drives, I've merely copied the corrupted files there too. Yiii! I do have some old work on CDs, from 2000-2003, so that's my last hope, other than finding hard copy.

My advice to you all: don't assume your old files from the last century, are safely backed up on old hard drives and floppy disks. Open them up and air them out, then transcribe them to a new format before it's too late. Otherwise the cybergods will find them and eat them up—like moths to cashmere sweaters deep in the closet of time.

Save your stuff to current format. Or you might be facing something like this:

A mystery Letter of Intent, gone. But where?

The poem is gone, what's left are format instructions.



MORE BLOGGY BYTES ON MY DIVINE OCD OBSESSION:

Paper Trail 10/24/2015 As I weed and ameliorate old copies of typed poems, & their revisions, with the electronic files on my hard drives, and with this blog (I've been posting my work by year as a means to keep track of it all—and it creates a nifty timeline as well), I have an ever-increasing pile of paper poems with no electronic files. No equivalents. Only hard copies. Makes me shudder. Makes me wonder what was lost....

Trolling Old Journals 10/23/2015 I found a stack of old journals mixed in with newer journals, and since I've misplaced most of my old writing, I took a peek, to see if there was anything I could glean, or steal. My 1981 journals, where I spent the summer in Port Townsend, the Olympic peninsula, and Pulsbo, were particularly rich, so I've been typing up (dictating) a few poems and prose pieces....

Updating Old Poems 7/16/2015 I thought I had lost my big black 3-inch manuscript clip binder with all my poems, notes, publications, awards, from last century, etc., in it....

Old Posts, New Posts 2/14/2014 (How I got into this mess) While attempting to consolidate my poems alphabetically on a linear timeline—I got the bright idea to store the ABC titled poems in January 2008, DEF poems in February 2008, and so on. It's a real pain in the blog to attempt to do this on Blogger, I can no longer find anything, and who remembers poem titles anyway?  As I was moving some posts, I accidentally typed 2005 instead of 2008 on one poem as I hit the publish button., it took off for the hinterland...

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