Monday 11 June, 2018 9.10pm
‘Losing Something You Created’ 2018
There are a thousand ways to lose something you’ve created. The most obvious is the most important: a child, created in the womb and lost (miscarriage) – or created, born, and then developed outside of the womb and lost.
Then there are creations which exist beause they are part of our creator giving us the ability to think and design our own works of art – our own creations.
Sometimes we lost them because they’re painted on the ceiling or wall of a building that is reduced to rubble. Sometimes they are words on a page, a manuscript, that is lost. Sometimes they are cut-down, abbreviated, versions of what the writer/composer/artist originally intended. In some of these cases the bits which were rejected by someone are lost forever.
In a digital world, a poem may be composed, or any email written, but never sent. A computer glitch could result in it no longer existing because it wasn’t on paper or on a wall. It didn’t have to burn or be bombed. It just ceased to exist because of an inadvertant touch of a finger which didn’t SAVE it.
One of those things happened today. For me, in my last couple of weeks of trying to gather all my thoughts and writings, it happened in a big way. Bigger than anything else before which I can recall. I’ve lost poems written on pieces of paper in 1981. I regret that loss. It makes me sad. I don’t think they were necessarily great poems and I’d like to read them again to have a reaction 35-years later. I have had musical compositions written on a piece of manuscript disappear. That is a niggle which creates a level of disappointment. But, the musical work – as I know the value of my musical works – isn’t a great loss to myself, let alone the world.
Then there is last night. I have watched the two episodes of Shoah from the First Era and I wrote a collection of words which brought together a thousand different thoughts from all of those people interviewed into an article which was developing into something that I already knew was good but which could have been exceptional with some time honing it.
It was a fully-realised article, which was polished and then re-polished. Through the medium of computers it was created and though the medium of computers it was erased: by a keystroke.
It doesn’t exist anymore. It wasn’t my musings about a television show like Bewitched or My Three Sons; or like Some Like it Hot or Rear Window; or like Blue Velvet and Sunset Boulevard. It was a full leg of lamb with meat covering every piece of bone, beautifully prepared, suddenly snatched away by dog looking for a tasty snack.
It was about people exterminating Jews. It was drawn from interviews with people who survived the camps, those who were soldiers in the camps, those who were the train drivers and prosecutors who accused the Nazis of their crimes. I had written something which was my own document creating my response to Shoah Parts 1 and 2. Dozens of hours of thinking and about five or six hours of writing. All lost in less than the smallest amount of time it takes a person to hit a key on a keypad.
It has caused me trauma beyond anything I’ve lost in these last three hundred days. It was thousands of words about something that was so confronting that I never want to go back and watch the interviews again so I can write and recreate accurately about what these human beings said they observed.
The grief over losing this article has turned my life upside down. Five thousand words (35-pages) or even ten thousand words – all gone. I don’t how much was lost.
Kate gave me a hug and we talked about grieving the loss of the words and either letting it go or recreating it.
I could tell Ali that I need to work on it tonight instead of spending time with her but either way I lost a day yesterday when I didn’t watch a film and I’ll lose another day when I could have watched a movie, tonight.
Kate gave me two realistic options: “Go and rewrite everything down and risk not finishing the films you’ve yet to see for the project or walk away from it and come back to it later.”
“I think I’m going to do your latter suggestion. Put what I’ve reconstructed in a file and come back to it later.”
“Or you could put a date in your diary in July and then revisit Shoah 1 and 2 then, and rewrite it.”
“No, I’ll just do the other thing. I’ll come back to it and use my notes from the four hours I did between 3am and 7am at some later point without a date or time.”
“Okay, that’s a good plan then. If that had happened to me, I would have been so angry.”
“No. I just went numb. I resisted the (splitsecond) urge to throw the laptop across the room through the front window and just started writing it down again. It’s not like there wasn’t an instant aspect of emotion that contained anger but it was more like a numbness that set in immediately. A disbelief. A growing realisation that I’d watched a lot of Part 1 and 2 again to write this essay, and it had just disappeared – forever. Notepad, allows one undo (control z), but I’d done consecutive control x, control x. I just went numb with disbelief.”