Further to what I wrote yesterday.
Let me now add this: if I did not have this website I’ve built over some 14 years or the blogs I’ve created or the thousands of files, I would not care so much about this as I do.
My case is of a person who is only mildly computer competent doing things well beyond my capacity because Jim intervened all the time or whenever necessary to clear up errors and he deliberately found me simple programs I could use. I am in the position of someone who has created precious and valuable matter without knowing how to sustain it. The admiral encouraged me to think of it as mine because I created the content; not so: he was there behind me continually; if the framing, structure, and all the supports of this website matter, all the small things that would go wrong and he’d fix, the use of filezilla and notepad +- (both vanished from the new computer), the website is far more his legacy than mine.
Whether or not I get a new computer with the proper programs re-installed probably in less than a year (considerably) the website will begin to break in all sorts of places, I have to face the reality more squarely of how tenuous such a thing is — I know that in 2004 a GMU librarian actually downloaded a lot of the site into GMU MARs, but whether it’s still there (she said they’d keep it forever but so do funeral directors say they’ll keep grass around a tomb eternally) I don’t know and anyway I can’t reach it nor I think can many others.
My blogs are made using the programs the Admiral found for me (like a good picture-resizer) and are now mostly vanished. I can still write in them, but for now no more pictures or the things that made them attractive. I tried to download a picture resizer and it took over the computer. The description was utterly misleading; how do I tell when the description of something to download is false?
My files I use as notes — in effect I have thousands and thousands of notes towards writing things and the loss of this is hard for me.
I have been in over my head for years and known this. One of the reasons I hoped he would predecease me is precisely this problem: so I would not have to cope with my lack of computer expertise. I also hoped that (more likely) if I lost him it would be at a time when say I had 5 years to go (say I would be 80) and not care. I twas not a hopeless hope for I have a condition that has brought me into passing contact with death 4 times now.
The Admiral persuaded me years ago (1999 it was) not to leave all I had written in loose-leaf notebooks and various other handwritten places or (at the time increasingly) note files on my computer. He was right: I have been able to share my work — like the Finch. I never had the connections or position or social know-how or conformism to write to order what is publishable readily by academic journals or as books. I have been able to do more conforming in the last couple of years — my reviews are still too long but they are within bounds; my papers are getting to be the right length but they are not publishable unless changed much so it has been a joy to put them on the Net. The Net was a place to share my work without having to have the social power to print it.
It’s going to hurt to see it dissolve away if I can’t get the programs back; the loss of files is hard. I had typed 3 volumes of Smith’s Ethelinde onto OpenOffice.org and was in the fourth of five. I had a text out of copyright the first but the only one I could reach was the facsimile reprint from Elibron. It took me about 3 years on and off half an hour or sometimes an hour a day to get this far. I had one more volume to go. When I finished that I was going to write an introduction; I kept an account of items to be explained by notes and I was going to annotate. The files with the notes are gone too. The Best Buy people failed to transfer this.
I have been proud of the poetry translations and Finch texts and all the Austen and Trollope matter has been praised again and again over the years (and used in academic papers) but it if goes, Shall I say I should not have tried as it was impermanent? I knew that but thought I would not live much beyond seeing it go down. I assumed that Jim and I would die within a brief span of one another (4 to 5 years at most: I am almost 2 years older than he; I have a bleeding disorder). Jim’s sudden early death trumped all that; cancer trumped all that. Perhaps I should have been content to stay within my capacity. If I do end up losing all this, I certainly will not do this kind of thing again.
I could even be suicidal over this – except I don’t want to be annihilated and my remains in the ground. If I die, I’d lose all — there’s the sky, reading, watching movies, friends, walking, talking to people. I have to ask myself what I minimally need to be able to do to enjoy life on the Net, and to teach. Today Yvette downloaded with me watching carefully openoffice.org for me and now I have a writing program; she also downloaded with me watching carefully a good vlc viewer. I printed out all my chapters for the 5 chapters of my book and also sets of notes about the films. I could go back to that because I have the data.
The Net presented me with an opportunity I never imagined for some of these things too — to make friends like you people here. That won’t go away –