Fish Bones and So Long Suckers
I lost 90 pages of my WIP late in the summer – don’t ask how. Okay I’ll tell you. I can’t help myself.
Once, when my son was small, about four years old we had a small fish tank with a few fish in it. One fish disappeared one night. I mean … it disappeared. There had been casualties before (many, many, many casualties) but they always showed up on the surface, belly up. So one little guy, like a master illusionist, one night disappeared. I searched the whole tank, top to bottom, filter to gravel graveyard. I checked the floor for 6 feet in all directions. I looked for bones in hideouts.
I called fish experts.
They scratched their heads.
He was too big to be eaten by the two other fish inside the tank with him. So what happened to him? I don’t know. But sometimes, late at night when I’m just about asleep I swear I can hear him laughing and calling out to me, “So long sucker.”
One night in August I was working on my WIP. I left the document open on the screen, got caught up in watching The Big Bang Theory with my son and wife. I went to bed. In the morning…
So long suckers.
The document was there but 90 pages were gone. I looked everywhere. I looked on my screen, in my dropbox, in my WIP folder, in my other computer, in all my back-up files. I checked the floor for 6 feet in all directions. I looked for bones in hideouts.
Fortunately I had a hard copy. I just had to type it all in again…
I wish I was a faster typist. Mavis Beacon, here I come.
So long suckers.
The hard copy sort of takes the sting out of this story. I mean it’s a pain, re-entering all that text, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not quite the herculean tragedy that it would be if those words were just gone, snuffed out into the ether like so much carbon dust.
November 5, 2013 at 6:21 am
What happens to the words that disappear? Even if they were once on the screen electronically? An existential question, but after two days in meetings in DC and a presentation on Gamification in Education (how do I get roped into these things?) I’m feeling a bit existential. Okay I’m also reading a book titled, Assholes, A Theory, by James, and it’s messing with my head – in a good way. Never seen the word asshole used in so many ways and so often in a book before. Saw it in the window (who says face-outs don’t work in book marketing?) at Kramer Books (great indie on Dupont Circle).
November 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm
That sounds fab. It’s non-fiction?
November 7, 2013 at 6:58 am
Non-fiction and philosophy if you can believe it. Very funny and yet not written by a comedian. At least so far.
November 8, 2013 at 7:41 am
Interesting. I will have to check it out.
November 8, 2013 at 7:52 am
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November 14, 2013 at 5:15 am