Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Losing Anathema

One of the reasons that I am consistently writing again is because of a great tragedy.

You see, when I'm not near my computer and I get a great (or terrible) idea for something to write about, I input it into my iPhone's notepad.

I have a few notes, but the one that contained nearly 100% of my writing ideas was titled "Anathema."  iPhones take the liberty of titling your notes whatever the first word or words that you write for in it.  This particular note was created so long ago that I don't even remember why I created a new note and wrote the word "anathema," but I just did.  I think I heard the word somewhere and just meant to look up what it meant.

Anyway, that's how it went a couple years ago.  I just wrote the word "anathema" into a new note and added more and more random thoughts on that note for the next two years.  Anathema eventually became this thing -- a holding cell for my ideas, as they sat and waited to be individually plucked, inserted into a blank Microsoft word document where they could blossom into a full, robust idea that would become a blog post or short story.

I'm sad to say that didn't happen.

Anathema died, along with all of the ideas inside of it.

Accidentally deleted.

Gone forever.

I don't know what happened.  I needed my Comcast password, which I knew I had written down amongst all of the other random things in Anathema.  The only trouble was that Anathema had grown to be so large that it would have taken me too much time to manually scroll through the note.  Naturally, I opened up the "search" feature, typed "comcast" and my Anathema note file popped up as the first result.  I clicked it, but instead of being taken to the section of the note that had the information I desired, nothing but a blank note appeared.

As I said, I don't know what happened or how it happened.  But this blank note was Anathema, void of everything. 

And no, I don't back up anything on my phone.

When I started to write this post, I was going to conclude it with a lesson: Back up your shit.  But then I realized that for me, losing Anathema should teach me a more important lesson: Actually do your shit.

The sheer amount of ideas, thoughts, opinions, quotes, and dreams that were lost in that file break my heart, sure.  But the volume should suggest that I spend way too much time thinking about ideas and virtually no time at all implementing those ideas into their full form.  Many of those ideas could have been salvaged had I simply sat my ass down at the computer and plucked them out one at a time.

So yea.  I should back up my stuff more often than once every five years.  But more importantly, what's the point of getting ideas and writing them down if I'm going to let that be their final form?

And so:

Look at me go.

-Youngman Brown

For the record:

anathema: a·nath·e·ma
  1. object of loathing: somebody or something that is greatly disliked or detested and is therefore shunned
  2. somebody or something formally denounced: somebody or something cursed, denounced, or excommunicated by a religious authority
  3. general curse: a forceful curse or denunciation


  1. I share your pain. This also happened to me… more than once. I've taken to taking a screenshot and storing in my pictures. Or emailing myself.

  2. Anathema. Hmm. I thought you meant "an enema" or "nemesis." Seems that your anathema falls somewhere between the two.

    Here is a hint from someone who used to write A LOT: Cap yourself at 10 notes. When you have a total of 10, either delete one and replace it with something new, or, better yet: WRITE ABOUT ONE OF THEM.

    If you keep your cap at 10, you do more ACTUAL writing and less scribbling down of ideas.

    Good luck! The blogosphere misses you. ;)


  3. I deleted a file containing writing prompts too. I was so angry!

    Hmm, anathema means something cursed? Maybe that's what happened to the was cursed!

  4. Mine delete randomly ALL THE TIME. I have stopped using mine at all because I never know when they will be there or not. OR, I use it, take a screen shot of it and save the picture because my phone hates me and deletes all my genius ideas.

  5. My i-phone notepad deleted automatically some time ago, so I can empathize. I googled it and picked up some advice (something to do with my e-mail settings) which I implemented and have had no problem for the last 18 months.

  6. Thank goodness you defined Anathema at the end there, so I didn't have to Google it. I thought I knew what it meant (something mysterious), but I clearly didn't. Thank goodness I never tried to use that in writing.

    I write post ideas everywhere. I have a binder in my house, I use the note section on my ipod and on my phone. I also have scraps of paper stuck here and then. Even though it's not organized at all, at least spreading the ideas out everywhere protects me from losing them all in one fell swoop, I guess!

  7. I already knew what anathema means. *snicker of superiority*



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