I arrived home Friday night full of energy all ready to boot up my nice new laptop and get started learning how to make it do back flips.
And promptly managed to delete all my mail management data.
Think of it like this: Five YEARS of files in filing cabinets. Neatly labelled, sorted, organized, color coded. You can find things in less than a minute. It's a sweet system and clearly you've tempted the gods with hubris because what happens is: someone opened every one of the file drawers, turned it upside down and threw every piece of paper on the floor. And then turned on a fan.
Nothing is actually LOST but you sure as hell can't find it.
The only way to rebuild the data base at this point is to download every piece of email since 2006 and link it back in to the mail management program.
Ok. No problem. I can do this while I read.
It turns out (no surprise here) I have a LOT of email.
About 40,000. That's received AND sent.
It's turned out to be an interesting little exercise.
It was actually kind of fun to see the first emails from my earliest clients (Jeff Somers, Sean Ferrell.) Then up pop a few more. A long spate of no one new, then a few more.
It was almost like flipping through an old photo album. Emails I'd long forgotten about were back on my screen.
Lots of email to editors for projects I didn't sell them.
Lots of emails to editors just filed away because they've moved on to new jobs so I didn't need to link or remember the old addresses.
The heartbreaking ones from friends and editors and queriers who have since died. Elaine Flinn. Laura Hruska. James Farmer. People I liked a lot, and still miss.
Lots and lots of queries of course. With this many emails, I can see people who've queried me more than ten times over the years. People who queried me but ended up elsewhere, happily.
It's now 4:00pm on Sunday afternoon. I've been at this for more than 24 hours and I still have a YEAR (at least it's the last one!) to go. This year will take a while. One thing that's really obvious now is my email volume has doubled every year for three years. I'd guessed it was increasing but I had no idea it was this much.
Part of that is more queries. Part of that is running QueryShark. Part of it is being part of a larger agency with emails flying back and forth about cupcake shenanigans and who is responsible for bartending for the Herpet American assssistant when I'm not around.
The one thing that remains to be seen is if I can actually do the transfer this time without erasing anything.
If you hear a giant scream around 4am, and CNN reports NYC has fallen into the Atlantic, you'll know who to blame: Suzie Townsend. She actually had the nerve to leave town to attend a writing conference. (Cody, Wyoming this is All Your Fault!) As you can see, the rule that I'm not allowed to touch machinery without supervision really does need to be tattooed on my head.