A favorite musician of mine once talked about the backpack in which he carried his laptop–a pack always on his shoulder–saying, “My life is in there.” I know what he means.

My laptop, with its year-plus years of work on the book-in-progress, plus The Spiritkeeper, and most all the transcribed notes for the next TWO books, is always with me, nowadays [in the photo at left, it is in plain sight next to my chair at lunch as I write this.] Yes, I back up religiously. And yes, most of the work is in the cloud: I am a follower of the tenet, If your data ain’t in three places, it ain’t noplace. But psychological wellbeing…that’s another matter altogether.

I am a nervous mother. At this stage, the backpack is on my shoulder whenever I leave home, wherever I go. At the river house, if I intend to be away for more than an hour, the thing is often hidden. I have to force myself to forego sleeping with it. I carry the backpack with a fierceness and devotion that would have me throw myself in front of a speeding train to save it. And this paranoid behavior will continue long after the book is finished.

As beloved musician says, my life is in there.

Tape recorders (especially the one with untranscribed notes on it) and notebooks and laptops are the safe deposit boxes of my soul. I touch the places where I expect them to be, anxious until I know they are where I want them.

Do other writers go through this? Or am I alone in my insanity?

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