Bits and Locks and Blue Screens of Death, by Sheila Deeth

They give “star gifts” to celebrate Epiphany at our local church. Each member of the congregation receives a star, signifying one of the gifts God has given or is giving us. My gift this year is “quietness.”star gift

Ah, thought I, as I read the word on my star. Some peace and quiet and time to type perhaps. What bliss! I’ll finish that next novel!

Then I switched on my computer.


My husband thinks I type too noisily, and God offers quietness, but is this really what my star gift meant? A screen attractively shaded blue sports a mournful icon and the message that we’re going to restart for you because something went wrong. Alas, the restart fails because something went wrong, so it’s going to restart for me…blue screen

Trying hard not to scream (because screaming isn’t quiet) I think I’m about to give up, when suddenly… a question appears on the screen. My computer wants me to tell it something…

And the world grows noisy in my ears. My heart thuds fearfully in my chest, as I ponder how to answer the proffered question. “Bitlocker” has locked me out, but where will I find the key? And what is Bitlocker anyway?

Luckily my husband’s laptop and the internet yield what’s needed, a code that’s only 48 characters long!

Sadly, as you’d know if you’d ever edited my work, I can’t type 48 characters, quietly or noisily, without mistakes. But at last I get the keycode right and I’m in and…

A screen attractively shaded blue sports a mournful icon…

Apparently this is the Windows 10 blue screen loop of death. I shan’t be typing for a while. My novel won’t grow, and my office will indeed be quiet, a silence that’s not what I wanted.

But quietness is still written on my star. And maybe what I need is more important than what I want.

Perhaps a break from typing will offer star gifts of its own.

Perhaps I’ll finish some thoughts and conversations, and even prayers, while the novel languishes.

Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero, Infinite Sum (coming soon from Indigo Sea), Subtraction (which she will edit when the computer recovers), and Imaginary Numbers (languishing).


Filed under Sheila Deeth, writing

2 responses to “Bits and Locks and Blue Screens of Death, by Sheila Deeth

  1. How interesting, Sheila. A few months ago, my computer guy told me to wait to get my Windows 10 update, because it had some bugs that needed to be worked out. I wonder if this is an example. I followed my computer guy’s advice and still have Windows 8 with no problems. Maybe I should re-check with my guy and see what he says now. thanks for sharing your problem. I hope it gets fixed for you soon. We want you writing, noisy or not!

  2. And now… the same blue screen of death on my husband’s laptop too! Luckily he’d run more system backups, so we’ve got it limping again, until Windows sends out the next update I suppose.

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