Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! So, one week ago today when I posted earlier in the day because I had to leave the house for a while, it was never in my wildest dreams that that would be the last time I would see my beloved laptop. A device that was nearly my left hand as often as I used it. If I could see into the future I would’ve done several things differently, but I’m not a clairvoyant and as they say: hindsight is 20/20. When I returned home around 9 PM…one of my three cats did not greet me, which was unusual, but not unheard of. I came into the house and noticed that a cabinet housing some books was open a bit, and I had not left them open…but silly me, I thought the cats might have done it while playing or something. The thought never crossed my mind that an intruder had been in my home. Then I walked up the few steps to the landing by the two bedrooms…and I saw my jewelry box dumped on my bed. The panic set in. I ran to the other bedroom where my cat (the one that didn’t greet me) likes to sit on the bed and look out the window…that window was wide open…and no Graham in sight. I shut the window so the other two cats wouldn’t get out, and turned and saw my laptop was gone too! It felt like I was in a nightmare. I dialed 911 and reported the break-in as I was heading out the front door to look for my cat…in hopes I could at least find him.
The woman on the phone took my address and said the Toledo police were notified. I called for Graham and turned on my cellphone flashlight in hopes of seeing his eyes shining somewhere. Nothing. My heart was breaking. I called my best friend, Glenn, who was over to my place within 10 minutes. We both looked for Graham and he asked if I’d used the treat bag…as Graham doesn’t miss a treat. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I went inside to get that as he still looked for my kitty. As I came out, he came from the backyard saying “Look who I’ve got!” It was Graham! That was a miracle to me as I was afraid they’d stolen him, hurt him, or worse (since he’s a black cat), or I was afraid he’d gotten lost…or hit by a car since he’s not an outdoor cat. (Yes, I’m a writer, so my imagination runs wild!). So, in the big scheme of things…besides a loss of a sense of security, the loss of my laptop with many new writings and various other things I’d saved on there and had not taken the time to backup recently, the loss of a few jewelry items (more sentimental than of monetary value), and the loss of an indoor security camera (and no, I did not have my system on because it hadn’t been working correctly when I was out of the house and I’ve not had the $ for a house call, ugh!) I feel pretty lucky. They could’ve taken so much more…they could’ve destroyed things, they could’ve harmed the cats or let them all outside, or I could have lost Graham forever – but I didn’t. So for that I’m thankful.
The cats (and I) were very skittish for several days and nights…where every noise from outside, or any “normal” house sound we heard…we’d all jump…but little by little, we’ve all settled down. I’ve found (and always knew) that I have some of the best friends around, near and far. Thanks to my best friend, I’ve got new locks on all windows, thanks to two other friends I have the loaner laptop that I’m writing this blog on, and my security company is coming here tomorrow (free of charge!) to fix my door lock so I can lock it when I’m away and feel secure again, and replace that stolen security camera of theirs.
I’ve gone through the five stages of loss (usually thought of as a loss of a loved one through death or divorce, but I think the loss of security is right up there with one’s well-being)…I’ve been in disbelief that it happened (and have kicked myself a few times for leaving that back window open a crack…thinking it was too high off of the ground for anyone to bother with); I’ve been terribly angry…and I’m usually such an easy-going person, but thieves truly do suck, and I do hope they get their comeuppance; the bargaining…thinking, and over-thinking, of what I could’ve done, should’ve done, and what I can do; I’ve been depressed…I’m already hanging on by a thread financially and this just seemed like the last straw, I’ve mourned over writings lost or the time that it will take to recreate files, etc. And, then I’ve finally gotten to the place of acceptance. It happened. It can (and does) happen to most anyone (I’ve also found that it’s happened to more people I know than I ever dreamed…it’s way too common!!). I will write and re-save what I lost, and it will be better. I will be more vigilant about everything…
And that brings me to Writing Prompt Pit Stop #48 or better known as this week’s prompt(s):
“Save, Save, Save, and Make Yourself Secure!”
1) This is not so much of a prompt as a reminder: Save your writings! Diligently. Not only to your laptop, or a flash drive, but to a cloud of some sort. I always saved my work…but always to my laptop, and maybe once a month I’d remember to stick in the flash drive and back up my work…well, not anymore. It’s getting emailed to myself, saved on a flash drive religiously, and I’ve chosen to keep work on Dropbox. There’s many services like this out there, but a friend recommended it and it’s free…so there’s that. There’s also Google Drive, iCloud, etc. There’s also places that will back up your work for a small fee, and if you can do that…that’s a good option as well. No matter what you do, do save your writings as when they’re gone…it’s too late.
2) This is not writing either, but it’s important. I was someone that saved passwords on emails, FB, Twitter, etc., just because it was easier and I knew no one else had access to my laptop. Well, now there’s the possibility that someone does. So, I’ve had to go in and change all passwords (that I’ve thought of) and I will never save them for easy access again…maybe it will save me from Alzheimer’s by having to remember them all, who knows? But at least I feel more secure. So don’t save passwords on your laptops (or other devices)!!
3) Now let’s do some writing…I know I have a whole lot of new ideas for poems, plays and stories from this horrendous incident. How about you? In your daybook, write about a time that you or your personal space were violated. How did that change you? What would you say (or do) to the violators if you had the chance?
4) Besides theft, there are other ways that writers and artists lose work…through fire, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. Have you ever had one of those horrendous things happen to you? How did you cope? How did that change you? What do you do differently now?
5) Take any of those bad/sad incidents of loss, and turn them into something positive…a poem, a story, a play, an essay, a memoir. Send it out into the world! Or just simply share it here in comments.
No matter. If we’re writing and creating, we’ve survived. That is a major positive.
See you next Wednesday!