Mark, a good friend of my dad's, emailed me the other day to say he'd heard about my computer woes and to give me the name of a friend of his who used to work as a Man Genius at the Apple Genius Bar. He's apparently one of those guys who knows computers inside and out, macs especially, and managed to recover a ton of info off Mark's computer when it crashed a while back. I called him today and we did some long-distance troubleshooting--he's in Tennessee--and sadly, the final assessment is that we're looking at the worst case scenario: a bad drive. His professional opinion? "Kiss everything on there goodbye."
Well, I'm just about ready to do that, but I'm going to call some data recovery places just in case. I called the Apple store to see if they recommend anyone, and one of the places they suggested isn't that far from here, so I've contacted them and am waiting for a response. The other place they suggested is for "high end recovery", whatever that means--I'm guessing not me, but if this local place can't do it I'll probably contact them next.
Though I'm starting to wonder if maybe this is God saying, "That book wasn't the right one for right now." My mind keeps sneaking over to plotting the book I'd planned on writing after the current one--maybe this is a sign to go ahead with that one instead? I don't know. I honestly can't imagine trying to piece back together what I'd added to the manuscript; it's hard enough for me to rewrite an email I've accidentally deleted, never mind nearly 50 pages!
So anyway, I'm in limbo for a little while longer while I wait to see what happens with data recovery. In the meantime, maybe I'll start research on that other book...