Keep HAL, I’ve got Buttercup!

I hit writer’s paydirt this weekend.

While sorting through some things stored in the Haunted Hospital, I came across a box full of old floppy disks. On these disks are the sum total of my career as a writer. All the finished novels I sent on the rounds in decades past, along with the articles which were my bread-and-butter for a number of years, were just sitting in a drawer waiting to be retrieved. The only problem is that none of the functioning computers in my home have floppy drives.

Then I found Buttercup.

Buttercup is my old, trusty Compaq Presario 1240 notebook computer circa 1998. Buttercup went halfway around the world with me when I was working in television at a job which kept me on the road for twenty-eight days out of the month.

Buttercup was my lifeline and my boon companion. My ex-husband had a reputation for crashing computers. This only had to happen to me once when I was a freelance writer on deadline for me to insist on my own computer, which he was not allowed to touch. I only had to recreate one article at Kinko’s while apologizing to my editor for cutting it so close to the wire. I purchased Buttercup with the proceeds from that article. I christened the computer “Buttercup” and immediately posted beefcake for my wallpaper as added insurance that no self-respecting male would dare boot her up. It worked.

Buttercup served me well for seven years. She started slowing with age and couldn’t keep up with changing technology. Wi-fi, MP3 files, and a stone-dead battery sent her into retirement. Still, she kept my secrets and served as my archive.

After a ten-year break from writing, I looked to her to provide the novel I’d left incomplete on her hard drive. Unable to read flash media, I scrambled to transfer files from her before they were locked inside forever. I set her aside again until this past weekend.

It took some maneuvering and some technical tenacity, but I managed to download my files. Today I shall turn my sights on the floppy disks that only Buttercup can unlock. Those floppy disks hold a decade’s worth of novels in varying stages of completion. Some of which made the rounds of slush piles everywhere and were rejected by publishing houses because they did not fit the publishing catalog of the time, others because they were too racy, still more because they were just plain BAD!

I will revise and edit the good ones. I will laugh at the bad. I may complete a few in-progress. But thanks to today’s e-books, the ones worthy of being read will see the light of day… all thanks to an ancient Compaq computer affectionately known as “Buttercup.”

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