Lonely is the cloud

I fear the cloud. I agree totally with the dialogue from Sex Tape, the romp starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. They’ve made a sex tape that he was supposed to delete, but forgot. And somehow now it’s on the Internet. “It went up to the cloud,” Segel tells Diaz. “And you can’t get it down from the cloud?” she asks incredulously. “Nobody understands the cloud,” he says. “It’s  a mystery.”

In an attempt to unravel the mystery, I went looking for an explanation. The first one I read made it all sound so sensible. You want to plant some tomatoes but don’t have a shovel, went the description, so you borrow a shovel from your neighbour and return it when you’re finished. So folksy, so foolish. The cloud is nothing like that. I can see the borrowed shovel in my hand; I return it and the deal’s done.

But as a writer, I worry incessantly about losing my work. My current book project will take two years. I’m not quite halfway through so I’m building the word count and the number of chapters daily. I can’t afford to lose everything and have to start all over. If my iMac expires I need backups.

So here’s what I do: I backup daily on an external hard drive. I back up weekly on a flash drive and keep it at home. Every three weeks I put a flash drive in my safe deposit box at the bank. Every time I visit my daughter in Hamilton, I leave a flash drive there in a drawer. If I travel out of town, I take a copy with me. I think that makes five different iterations in different locations at any given time. Except for asking my favourite local squirrel, Nutsy Fagan, to bury a flash drive somewhere in the neighbourhood, I think I’ve done all I can.

So, even though it’s inviting, I’m certainly not going to send my work up to the cloud. That would be like watching a member of your family march off to war.


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