Yesterday I wrote a post called ‘Of Dreams’. After I published it, however, it vanished. Completely. Nothing, except the title, remained. As if to demonstrate the fleeting nature of dreams, WordPress took my longish post and made it disappear into thin air.
I was mad. So mad. It had been a horrid day, a somewhat horrid week and it was only WordPress that kept me going. A few posts back, one called Of Writing More, I actually praised WordPress for the superior intelligence it displays compared to everything else on the internet. And that new,frisky ‘Beep Beep Boop’ let me down. Not even a draft was saved. WordPress the magician did not complete its magic trick. It made my post disappear but it refuses to bring it back.
The Russian secret service is buying typewriters now because of the oh-so-prevalent hacking. I completely understand. Computers are supposed to make life easier for you. There is a default saving of work. Whether there is a power cut or a battery going dead or even a disaster happening, you can have your drafts saved out there, somewhere. You can have back ups of back ups of back ups and it won’t cost you an extra dime. Why is it then, that we seem to lose more documents with this increased convenience? Are we too complacent with it? Too trusting? Too lazy?
I remember the first time I wrote and printed something off my computer. Up till then everything I wrote was in my own longhand. But when I saw that printed piece of paper, I was glowing. It was like I had actually published something. Because it looked so official, so legitimate. I didn’t have to worry about my handwriting, cancellations, ink spillage. When I write longhand, as I do quite often even now, I do not feel my writing becoming a separate entity. Even if it is seen by others, my handwriting gives me an ownership. My handmade print on every page has a personal, visual storyto tell. We don’t need graphology for this. We know that our handwriting is a reflection of our personality. But typing creates that dissociation, that separation. It creates that bridge where the writer can obliterate his/her personality for the purpose of communicating what is written. Let’s justsay, despite all the romance about handwritten letters and things, if I wrote my posts in longhand, scanned and uploaded them, I would hardly get any views in the internet blog jungle.
In the novel The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, a handwritten manuscript survives through war,immigration, translation, mis-authorization over decades to finally have its mystery revealed by a teenage girl. I doubt whether such a thing would be possible with a PDF file. Will our published and unpublished electronically written work survive through, say, fifty years?
What angers me most about yesterday’s loss is that I wrote a complete, publishable thing, without any copies. I am writing this on my offline Office software now just to have some sort of security, until I can sort WordPress out. But, I also wonder, will my WordPress post on the 18th of July,2014 have had any lasting value or existence had I published it? Is that post akin to a mere daily blip, like slipping on a wet pavement on my way to work? Do I not make copies because of my greed for instant feedback on publishing a post or because I do not think that a blog post is that big a deal? Blogging is still new to me. I have been doing it regularly for less than 2 months. I can sense it changing me and my life gradually. I suppose the lesson I can take from yesterday’s betrayal is that I need to take this more seriously. I need to make copies, in multiple media. I want this to last, at least, for a while.
Has your post ever vanished? What do you think of the new WordPress posting interface(if that is the technical term)?