In which the author recounts disaster and searches for her suitcase

It’s time to pack again and hit the road. I leave tomorrow for a long flight West. If you live in the upper left-hand corner of America, you’ll find me here:

Thursday – on an airplane all day
Friday morning – Mt. Baker JH/SH, Deming, WA
Friday afternoon & evening – preconference activities
Saturday – 2006 Bond Children’s Literature Conference, Western Washington U., Bellingham WA
(Here’s a nice article about the gig, and the wonderful woman who runs it, Nancy Johnson.)
Saturday night -Sunday – red-eye flight home. Ack.

Yesterday was horrible. Why? Background first: I am an Apple (PowerBook G4) user, one of the crazy drooling fanatics who irritate people condemned to use Microsoft. But in order to communicate with the rest of the world, I use the Word and Powerpoint (Microsoft products) – the versions which were specifically designed for Apples. So far, so good. I keep my AutoRecovery set to back up every 3 minutes, so in case of disaster, I would at worst lose only 180 seconds of work.

My computer had a seizure yesterday (yes, this happens to Apple users… about once a year). “No problem, I have AutoRecovery,” I chirped. I rebooted, humming a happy tune, and waited for Word to reopen my document. When it did, eight hours of changes, including three new scenes, were gone. Vanished into the ether. Forever. Poof!

We’ll skip the details of what I said at that point, and what I said for the next hour as I combed through files and logs in a vain search for my lost words.

What happened? AutoRecovery had gone on strike eight hours earlier. Why? Who knows. Maybe because I called Microsoft, “Microdweeb” a couple days ago. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. I really went over the edge, emotionally, fell all to pieces and thought Very Dark Thoughts. It had been years since I felt that bad. Decades, maybe. Thank goodness for my incredibly strong and loving husband, who calmly went around the house picking up all of the shattered pieces of my soul. He wrapped them into an afghan and brewed chamomile tea. When I emerged from this coccoon, he gently suggested I get back to work before I forgot everything.

Moral of the story: Choose your significant other wisely if you are going into the arts.

38 Replies to “In which the author recounts disaster and searches for her suitcase”

  1. Once, when a power outage fragged the file of one my stories, a well-meaning friend said, “Oh well, you’ll rewrite it better now that you know the story.”

    His bruises healed nicely.

    (the afghan and tea method seems effective, too)

  2. Once, when a power outage fragged the file of one my stories, a well-meaning friend said, “Oh well, you’ll rewrite it better now that you know the story.”

    His bruises healed nicely.

    (the afghan and tea method seems effective, too)

  3. Sorry you lost all that work. It’s happened to me before and is extremely frustrating. On the bright side, I think some of what I replaced it with was better than the original writing – hope that happens for you also.

    Your husband sounds so sweet! Glad he was there to pick up the pieces.

  4. Sorry you lost all that work. It’s happened to me before and is extremely frustrating. On the bright side, I think some of what I replaced it with was better than the original writing – hope that happens for you also.

    Your husband sounds so sweet! Glad he was there to pick up the pieces.

  5. Your husband sounds perfect. Mind if I steal him? (just kidding, no worries here.) Hey, you should consider taking a trip down South…like…Durham, North Carolina? Yes, shameless city-promotion. I know a lot of people down here who adore you and would pay endless amounts of money to meet you in person. Worth your time? You bet.

    I love chamomile tea…and afghans…and fires…yes. I’m done.

  6. Your husband sounds perfect. Mind if I steal him? (just kidding, no worries here.) Hey, you should consider taking a trip down South…like…Durham, North Carolina? Yes, shameless city-promotion. I know a lot of people down here who adore you and would pay endless amounts of money to meet you in person. Worth your time? You bet.

    I love chamomile tea…and afghans…and fires…yes. I’m done.

  7. ouch

    That REALLY stinks. Those moments of lost geniusness are so hectic. Its all the bad feelings one might feel combined into a mess of sadness. I’m terribly sorry.

    I WISH so badly that I could see you in conference. It would be extremely awesome, but unfortunately, from Idaho- Washington is a world (or two) away. Have a giant amount of fun-..

    Julia.

  8. ouch

    That REALLY stinks. Those moments of lost geniusness are so hectic. Its all the bad feelings one might feel combined into a mess of sadness. I’m terribly sorry.

    I WISH so badly that I could see you in conference. It would be extremely awesome, but unfortunately, from Idaho- Washington is a world (or two) away. Have a giant amount of fun-..

    Julia.

  9. Computers and Guys

    That’s never happened to me, but if it did I would totally flip. One time I opened up my book a day after I had added a lot of stuff, and I started looking for it (because I always like to read like a page before I start writing again to get into the story), and it wasn’t there! I started spazzing because I thought that I had forgotten to save it all! But then I realized that I had opened the wrong thing! lol

    Yeah, my boyfriend totally supports me being a starving artist. Whenever I get a burst of inspiration, he lets me release my enthusiasm by telling him all about. He’s really sweet. He knows how happy I get when I write.

    I’ve been thinking…I want to suggest to my yearbook sponsor (who’s also an English teacher) that she maybe let her classes (like 9th or 10th) read one of your books. A lot of people at my school don’t like to read, and I think part of it is because the only books they’ve ever been exposed to all classics. Now, classics aren’t bad (I enjoy them), but I think that they just sometimes get bored with them – the language and everything. So I think that if they read your writing, they might get more interestedand learn that books aren’t that bad.

    Oh, and just wondering…do you ever do part-time jobs? Or did you before you started getting your work published?

  10. Computers and Guys

    That’s never happened to me, but if it did I would totally flip. One time I opened up my book a day after I had added a lot of stuff, and I started looking for it (because I always like to read like a page before I start writing again to get into the story), and it wasn’t there! I started spazzing because I thought that I had forgotten to save it all! But then I realized that I had opened the wrong thing! lol

    Yeah, my boyfriend totally supports me being a starving artist. Whenever I get a burst of inspiration, he lets me release my enthusiasm by telling him all about. He’s really sweet. He knows how happy I get when I write.

    I’ve been thinking…I want to suggest to my yearbook sponsor (who’s also an English teacher) that she maybe let her classes (like 9th or 10th) read one of your books. A lot of people at my school don’t like to read, and I think part of it is because the only books they’ve ever been exposed to all classics. Now, classics aren’t bad (I enjoy them), but I think that they just sometimes get bored with them – the language and everything. So I think that if they read your writing, they might get more interestedand learn that books aren’t that bad.

    Oh, and just wondering…do you ever do part-time jobs? Or did you before you started getting your work published?

  11. Oh my, I SO feel your pain! Granted, what I lost was only about 2 hours of work on an academic project, and I was operating an evil Microcrap comp at the time. Also granted, in my sleep deprived stupor, I clicked “YES” when Microcrap Word asked me if I wanted to restore the original (and incomplete) file. My husband is a mega-geek, and actually got out of bed at 4:30 AM to see if he could find my lost file for me. YOUR afghan-and-chamomile-tea-bearing husband does indeed sound perfect.

    Wishing you a safe trip and return home!

    Lisa

  12. Oh my, I SO feel your pain! Granted, what I lost was only about 2 hours of work on an academic project, and I was operating an evil Microcrap comp at the time. Also granted, in my sleep deprived stupor, I clicked “YES” when Microcrap Word asked me if I wanted to restore the original (and incomplete) file. My husband is a mega-geek, and actually got out of bed at 4:30 AM to see if he could find my lost file for me. YOUR afghan-and-chamomile-tea-bearing husband does indeed sound perfect.

    Wishing you a safe trip and return home!

    Lisa

  13. Ack!

    OMG I just realized it! You said ack. I thought I was the only person that did that, and my friends make fun of me for it. My boyfriend always asks what it means, and how you say it. I tell him I don’t SAY it; I just use it on the internet.

    Yeah, it also helps when they are computer geniuses and can bring your files back from the after life.

  14. Ack!

    OMG I just realized it! You said ack. I thought I was the only person that did that, and my friends make fun of me for it. My boyfriend always asks what it means, and how you say it. I tell him I don’t SAY it; I just use it on the internet.

    Yeah, it also helps when they are computer geniuses and can bring your files back from the after life.

  15. speak

    Hello Laurie! I am writing to complement you on your wonderful book “Speak”. I am a freshman at Stratford highschool and am contacting you because your book really speaks, “no pun intended” to a lot of teens and I think that you did a good job.

  16. speak

    Hello Laurie! I am writing to complement you on your wonderful book “Speak”. I am a freshman at Stratford highschool and am contacting you because your book really speaks, “no pun intended” to a lot of teens and I think that you did a good job.

  17. Thanks!

    Dear Laurie,
    I just got back from the Bond Children’s Literature Conference and I wanted to say thank you very much for coming this year. Your presentation was fascinating and I feel very previlaged to have met you! Thank you very much for Speak (imagine the underline, my computer wont do it), Melinda is a lot like I felt in H.S. and I’m sure I’m not alone. By the way, did you know that your book was assigned in one of my classes? How’s that for the improvement of homework?
    Thanks again!
    Quinn

  18. Thanks!

    Dear Laurie,
    I just got back from the Bond Children’s Literature Conference and I wanted to say thank you very much for coming this year. Your presentation was fascinating and I feel very previlaged to have met you! Thank you very much for Speak (imagine the underline, my computer wont do it), Melinda is a lot like I felt in H.S. and I’m sure I’m not alone. By the way, did you know that your book was assigned in one of my classes? How’s that for the improvement of homework?
    Thanks again!
    Quinn

  19. I realize I probably will not get onto your friends list, but that’s not a big deal. I just want to tell you that I was at the Bond Childrens Literature Conference today (yesterday now), and it was great. I was the only little dorky highschooler there and was glad to get to speak with you and get my book signed. You are an amazing author, and I want to say that what you wrote about in ‘Speak’ has meant so much to me– I went through almost that same situation just 2 years ago, and it’s been so hard since.I Think you are an amazing writer, and I’m so glad I heard you talk today and got to meet you. Your book is amazing, and I’m excited to get all the others to read too. Thank yuo for everything-

    -Ashley

  20. I realize I probably will not get onto your friends list, but that’s not a big deal. I just want to tell you that I was at the Bond Childrens Literature Conference today (yesterday now), and it was great. I was the only little dorky highschooler there and was glad to get to speak with you and get my book signed. You are an amazing author, and I want to say that what you wrote about in ‘Speak’ has meant so much to me– I went through almost that same situation just 2 years ago, and it’s been so hard since.I Think you are an amazing writer, and I’m so glad I heard you talk today and got to meet you. Your book is amazing, and I’m excited to get all the others to read too. Thank yuo for everything-

    -Ashley

    1. Hi Ash!

      It was a relief to see at least one teeanger there. I hope you weren’t bored to death. It was a real pleasure meeting you – keep speaking up!!

  21. Thank you for coming to the Bond Children’s Lit conference! It was so interesting hearing about where you came from and how you go about your writing. It was also fun meeting you (even though briefly). I always put authors up on some unreachable pedestal, but it was easy to talk with you… just like I was talking to any other person! I enjoyed your presentation, it was a joy to hear you speak (hehe).

  22. Thank you for coming to the Bond Children’s Lit conference! It was so interesting hearing about where you came from and how you go about your writing. It was also fun meeting you (even though briefly). I always put authors up on some unreachable pedestal, but it was easy to talk with you… just like I was talking to any other person! I enjoyed your presentation, it was a joy to hear you speak (hehe).

  23. Hi Ash!

    It was a relief to see at least one teeanger there. I hope you weren’t bored to death. It was a real pleasure meeting you – keep speaking up!!

  24. Hey

    Lauri,
    If you could maybe e mail me or something so i could talk to you for a bit that would be awsome. This is casey and my e mail is oxobabigurl13@aol.com . Im a big fan of yours and your probley like wow another fan who wont leave me alone but i just want to talk about one of your books.. But thank you very much. And we will see u in april in tully.

    Thankyou
    Casey

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