Sunday, January 4, 2009

One Step Forward . . .



I'm in the final throes of the Miss Birdie book -- almost done with the historical story and very, very close with the main story. So, after being up till two AM Friday night, busily putting Our Heroine into all sorts of peril, yesterday I was refining and polishing the previous night's work and had just added what seemed like a really brilliant little section when the heel of my left hand inadvertently touched some keys and the WHOLE BLINKING NOVEL disappeared. Gone. Gone, baby, gone. Utterly gone.



Of course it was backed up on disk and elsewhere -- but only through the previous night. I could not retrieve a copy of the past few hours' work and the harder I tried, the more I felt my memory of that brilliant little section fading.

I tried to calm myself by staring out the window and contemplating the nature of Life and Loss.



I thought about drowning my sorrows in drink, as so many famous writers have done. (That's a jar of moonshine with peaches in it, there amongst the wine -- Christmas presents all.)



But then John brought me a bowl of popcorn. So, quickly, before the memory of the changes, so recently made and lost, blurred and floated away, I called up my saved copy and started fixing it.

Soon, I was back to go and ready to take Our Heroine to her next stop -- the boarding house run by Inez and Odessa's family. A quick look at the diary from 1938 for verisimilitude's sake and I was off, happy it hadn't been worse.

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13 comments:

Carol said...

What can I say,everything happens for a reason? In this case that doesn't seem to fit! I am just thankful you are such a brilliant
writer that in the end......it won't matter, the book will still be an award winner!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

The horror, the horror!
I need to transfer my new poems, few as they are, to my flash drive, or else---and I'm not sure I'd be able to resist the moonshine at that point!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

P.S., I did once lose some handwritten drafts of poems in the voice of a mountain granny-woman that I thought (of course) could be brilliant. They were written at the Hambidge Center where I spent 2 restorative weeks years ago. The notebook got stuffed in a black plastic bag with a few of my favorite old tee and sweathshirts, taken home, and best I can figure, my husband tought they were garbage and ....well, I didn't discover their abence till a few days later (it wasThanksgiving, so lots of holiday distractions at the time. I still think longingly of those poems---and the well-worn sweat shirts.

Fay said...

Bless John for the quick thinking!

Pat in east TN said...

WOW, the absolute worst, but between you, John and the popcorn, all was saved!!

Susan M. Bell said...

Do you happen to work in Microsoft Word? You can set it up to automatically save at specific intervals. My hubby showed this to me after listening to me rant and rave after losing a good bit of a short story I was working on. Of course, I also save everything on SD memory cards now, and am thinking about getting a safe deposit box to keep copies in. (Better safe than sorry.)

Vicki Lane said...

Such a bummer, realizing that the past few hours are to do over again. But that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger -- or so they say, whoever They are.

And I thought I had that auto-save thing set up but evidently, I didn't set it when I switched to a new lap top a while back. (It's set now -- thanks, Susan.)

Kay, I've learned to be really careful about using those black plastic garbage bags for anything but garbage after a couple of close calls involving some old quilts . . .

Sue P said...

I thought I was going to throw up before I read the rest of your message - thinking you had lost the manuscript! Thank heavens it's mostly restored. Am looking so forward to it. Last night, I re-ordered all of your books from Amazon, because the copies I have have been loaned and loaned and used and used. I wanted some to keep just for me, in good condition. They were all still available, thank goodness. That has to be good news!

Vicki Lane said...

Yeah, that was my initial response too before realizing that I did have most of the book safe elsewhere.

RE replacing books -- thank you! -- I'm on my third set of Dorothy L. Sayers -- finally bought hardcovers after wearing out two sets of paperbacks.

Alas, the hardcover option isn't available for my stuff -- except for ART'S BLOOD which was a Mystery Guild selection in a special hardcover edition and is around, probably through used book dealers, in hardcover.

byron ballard said...

Just want to cheer you on! I'm spending the day writng a couple of essays and poking and prodding my book. And avoiding it all by readig your blog. Tee hee. Thinking of you and hoping you're taking a moment to stretch.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, BB -- Doing a little avoidance my own self -- read your blog earlier. Find that broom yet? I think I got one such as you describe at (blush) Sam's once. A stout industrial quality instrument up to supporting the heaviest Quidditch player.

Nancy M. said...

Vicki, I was thrilled to see your reference to the boarding house run by Inez and Odessa's family and the picture of the diary. I am anxiously awaiting the new book!!!

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Nancy,

I finally went up that road to take a look at the house and if I read your directions right, I've actually been in that house. Friends of ours rented it over twenty years ago.