It’s amazing how quickly writing gears rust: over-night! I’ve been on holiday, sick (for weeks!), dealing with serious computer problems, and now only gradually emerging out of the I-will-never-be-able-to-write-again-despair that so quickly sets in.

I begin by making visible piles: the manuscript to be read, the untouched notebook in which to record daily progress, files of notes, my favorite pencils.

I also begin by getting things fixed: me, first (yet a work in progress). My computer glasses, limping along on one leg, were finally repaired yesterday. My email database program … well, we might—might—be getting there.

The biggest disadvantage with using Microsoft Entourage is that everything—everything!—is stored in one huge database: all contacts with notes and categories attached, all calendar items, all email, past and present. (A life in letters!) When that database gets damaged, game over. And mine is damaged.

(And, I now discover, wading through impossible-to-understand papers written by techs: twice the size Entourage is prepared to handle. Could the program not have informed me?)

Fortnately, I’m a back-up fanatic: I use TimeMachine, plus an on-line automatic back-up (CrashPlan), plus SuperDuper, a back-up to a separate drive. (Plus, when I’m writing, I email myself the draft I’m working on every day. But that’s another story ? and possibly one reason the database is fat?)

Sound extreme? Consider this: the TimeMachine back-up of my database is not really any good (why I don’t know). CrashPlan’s on-line back-up is current, and so its copy of the file I need is of the damaged database. Don’t want that, thank you very much! And so, my hopes lie with back-up #3: SuperDuper.

Through Google I found Entourage help on-line. The first issue seems to be an over-crowded hard drive. I used Disk Inventory X to find out what the disk-hogs were, and tossed them out. Right now I’m using iDefrag to defragment the drive. I feel leaner and meaner already. If only I could Defrag my brain.