“Chickenbutt!!!!!!!” she screamed

Chickenbutt is my new all-purpose curse word. I stole it from an NPR piece I heard in which it was the “clean” curse that a truly foul-mouthed elderly great aunt used when in the presence of delicate ears. So when I say “chickenbutt,” please substitue the ugliest, nastiest curse you know so you can get the full effect of my pain, horror, and rage.

Chickenbutt, I say. Chickening, chicked-up, mother of all chickens, chickenbutt. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

::beats self on head with hammer::

Why such profanity on a gorgeous summer afternoon?

Because I lost four days of work today. Because even though I have the best computer in the world (PowerBook G4), I am an idiot and I run Microsoft (insert devil horns here) Word for Mac on it. Don’t ask me why. Just accept that I am an idiot.

You don’t want the details. They include things like a poorly designed Autorecovery system (I HATE YOU, MICROSOFT. I HATE YOU WITH THE FURY OF SHARYN NOVEMBER!), too many hours at the computer, too much coffee, blood all over the keyboard, and a lot of tears. And yes, I back up my files. In fact, I backed up on June 7th.

Seven days ago. Take away three days of not-writing because of the conference, and you are left with 4 days of words lost in the ether. Roughly 20 pages of new material, and MUCH moving around of previous stuff. Because this is the final draft, and this is the last part of the final draft, and I needed to tighten and polish. Four chickenbutting days of work.

(Don’t worry, I made up the part about the blood. Most of it, anyway.)

Those of you who having really been watching this blog closely will remember that this is exactly what chickenbutting happened in February 2006 during the last revision of TWISTED.

Actually, that is the only reason I didn’t perform a swandive from the roof into the driveway. Because what I wrote after I lost 8 hours of TWISTED (it was the most critical scene, of course, the one where he is alone in his dad’s bedroom and he almost…. you know, the scene that almost sent me back into therapy) was some of the pages that I am most satisfied with in the whole book.

So I am trying really hard to convince myself that this is going to be OK. Really.

I’ll be back when I finish fixing this disaster. Until then, BH is keeping the tea kettle bubbling and locking away all the sharp objects.

…buttchickenbuttchickenbuttchickenbuttchickenbuttchickenbuttchickenbutt……

38 Replies to ““Chickenbutt!!!!!!!” she screamed”

  1. Strange how dependent we are on technology, how it makes our lives apparently easier, but the simplest malfunction can leave us in the dust.

    I hope this disaster clears the way for your real swan song.

  2. Oh. Man. That’s brutal. Chickenbutt, however, is awesome, and I shall use it frequently in the future.

    Deep breaths, lots of tea. Take a knitting break, but only if it’s relaxing knitting. Your brain will find the words again, even if the Evil Empire (aka Microsoft) is useless in that capacity.

    (And if you need a giggle, go read: http://freakfest.livejournal.com/367911.html?nc=6)

  3. Ouch. But wait!

    hi – a friend sent me your post in hopes that I can help. Well, not me, but my husband. He’s a Mac tech – and maybe I’m biased, but he’s awesome. I’m going to show him your post and see if he knows any secrets. Because if there’s a secret way to get it back – he’ll know it.

    I’ll post again with any answer and/or my e-mail if it’s going to take more of a personal contact kind of thing.

    – Val

  4. I always like to use Jessie the Cowgirl’s (from Toy Story 2) “Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln!”

    But yes, major suckage on the loss of work. Sorry to hear it.

  5. Okay he said he has a few questions first but that Word is not kind to large, lengthy documents. It’s prone to crashing, so save save save. As you know. 🙂

    You can e-mail me at Valarie73 AT gmail DOT com if you want to get in touch, I can give you his cell that way, or vice versa.

    1. You are so very, very sweet. And so is your husband.

      My experience with the last book is what led me to divide this one up into 2 parts, each of about 150 pages. I am guessing that is still too long for this stupid program to manage.

      I made the mistake of shutting down the computer when Word acted up. From what I can tell that evaporated the Autorecovery file. If he still thinks there is hope, let me know.

      I wish Steve Jobs would just take over Microsoft and save the planet.

  6. I feel your pain

    This happened to me also recently. Apparently you are not supposed to save continuously to a flash disk, using it as your active drive. Who knew? I only lost two days though. Four days is kind of rough. But you’ll get through it! I believe in you, and I know you’ll write something even better!

  7. Ouch ouch.

    I have Word set up for my parents to autosave every 10 minutes, as well as make a backup, which means they don’t have to rely too much on the autorecovery. In Windows it’s under Tools -> Options and then the Save tab. I did need to teach them that it only works if you save the new file asap – don’t ever work with an untitled document unless you don’t care about it.

    Even better is to set it up so that it automatically makes dated backups, so that you can’t easily accidentally overwrite it. I’ll see if I can find an easy recommendation for how you can to do that on a Mac.

  8. condolences on your lost work. chickenbutt indeed! 🙁

    i use a keychain flash drive and i’ve also started saving my stuff as google docs. (how utterly i’m in thrall to google is a separate issue. ;))

    on a cheerier topic — i’m looking forward to seeing you in d.c.!

  9. THE FURY OF SHARYN NOVEMBER

    Ha! That is mad.

    And that is truly frustrating! A few years ago Outlook crashed at my work, and everyone in the entire library system lost all their emails. Five years of saved messages, contacts, and files. And we never got so much as an apology. I feel for you!

    Looking forward to having dinner with you and Sharyn Saturday night at ALA 😀

  10. I am so sorry!

    I have been in a university library when a thunderstorm caused a brownout– twice. It was the afternoon final essays were due in (at least) the English Department. The first brownout caused a collective groan of anguish which could be heard and felt all over the library. The second brownout (less than half an hour later) caused another groan and a collective walkout from many students. I assume they despaired over MS Word.
    As a result, tales about lost Word documents make me cringe in empathy. I am so sorry the autorecovery feature failed you.

  11. You’ve got my sympathy. Thank goodness none of my losses were quite that frustrating, but now I have all my works saved on two or three computers and on an external zip drive. Of course, all four of those are in the same house right now, so I also e-mail my stories to myself periodically in case of a house fire. Me, paranoid?

    Of course, last night my MS crashed while I was working on an outline, before I’d even saved it once. Reminds me why sometimes pencil and paper are best.

  12. Word ate half of my senior thesis. Believe me – I completely understand. There’s also that one time I didn’t save what I was working on and the lightning storm knocked out the power in our house for a full four hours. You can’t recover anything on notepad, alas.

    *sends sympathy and really good cookies your way*

  13. I prefer “chickenburger” myself, but to each his own.

    And I quake in fear at the very idea of The Fury of Sharyn November.

    CHICKENBURGER!

  14. a couple questions about Twisted for an article I am writing…

    Hi,
    I am a teacher in Canada who would like to ask you a few questions about Twisted as I am currently writing an article for publication (I hope) for NCTE on books for reluctant boy readers (grades 10-12).

    I think your novel is a great companion with Patrick Jones’ Nailed.

    Anyways, please e-mail me at dwayne.jeffery@lpsd.ca if possible to answer these questions:

    1-What motivated you to write a novel with a guy protagonist after your other novels focused on girls?
    2-Twisted asks some pretty hard questions, what were you hoping reader’s would leave with after reading Twisted?
    3-All your novels have protagonists who are outcasts (or at least outcasts from the so-called in crowd). What is your motivation to focus on writing about kids who are in the fringes?
    4- Lastly, what books would you recommend for reluctant high school readers?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance…

    1. Re: a couple questions about Twisted for an article I am writing…

      I will try to email you this weekend. Thank you very much for the interest.

      1. Re: a couple questions about Twisted for an article I am writing…

        Hope ALA went well…living in Canada I will probably not be able to go to any of these big conferences ever again (but I did see you speaking in Pittsburgh at NCTE) and really enjoyed it. It makes reading much more interesting when you can put a personality to the writing.

        Anyways, just a reminder during your busy life to try and answer those questions for me, I am near the end (I hope) of my article.

        Thanks again…

  15. sorry to hear you lost your work. i too was a sucker and bought office for mac because of my “love” for word. eck. terrible thing, bringing microsoft software onto a mac. boo for microsoft. chickenbutt you, microsoft!

  16. “I HATE YOU WITH THE FURY OF SHARYN NOVEMBER!” sounds like a code phrase.

    * radio morse-code sounds *

    “John has a long moustache! I hate you with the fury of Sharyn November!”

    November actually is the military radio letter-word to denote “N”.

  17. I could teach you the little ditty my grandma taught me that starts out, “Gee Gosh Golly Darn Deuce Devil Damn…” but the chickenbutting truth is that Word is Word and, apparently, still gets to serve as the modern-day god of the universe. Sigh. It’s Worse than Oz.

  18. Hi – sorry it took me so long to get back to you. My husband is still thinking it over – sadly it might be a corrupt file now.

    He did say that you might want to look into a program called “Pages”. It’s Apple’s newest application that replaces “Appleworks”. He said it’s actually well equipt to handle large files like manuscripts and novels etc.

    You can always e-mail me if you need a Mac tech. 🙂

    Valarie73 AT gmail DOT com

  19. Tag. You’re it.

    Sick of memes? Think they’re dumb? Too bad, so sad! I tag you anyway.

    Instructions here.

    Cheers!

    Jen

  20. Chickenbutt. That is freakin FABULOUS. See I have a variety of curse words, many are not actually curse words, but ‘subsitutes’, and then I also have the ‘actual’ dirty curse words LOL. See, when you say some sort of comical curse word I start laughing and so then it is hard to be pissed off or whatever LOL. 🙂 Checkenbutt is great though… tehehehe 🙂

  21. I am actually old enough to remember the olden days when a reader/fan ONLY had the local newspaper to rely on about any news about forthcoming books from their favorite authors. (And I’ll be 51 next month if you MUST know.)Barring that you pretty much had to just count out the typical 12 months and haunt the bookstore to see if there was anything new from your author(s).

    These days it’s just amazing to me that we as reader/fans NOT ONLY have the internet to be able to get (DAILY!!!) updates from the author(s) we enjoy but interact with them as well and give feedback and discuss a wide range of subjects IN BETWEEN projects.
    (I also check in on Neil Gaiman, Peter David, David Gerrold, Stephen King, Tess Gerritsen, Kevin J. Anderson and others….)

    By the way, my sister in law who is chinese uses the word: “Ikamotey” (it means potatoe in chinese- I probably misspelled it but thats her way to swear around her kids)

    ON A SERIOUS NOTE TO LAURIE___________

    Chickenbutt is a great word, but I was thinking that since you are so influencial to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of young people (many of whom are LIVING real life, frustrating and crappy lives, not just reading fictional troubles) I was wondering if you couldn’t come up with softer, funnier ways to express your frustration?

    (Besides your popular….
    ::beats self on head with hammer::
    ::Head butt on desk::
    etc….

    Just a kind suggestion…some of your fans out there who might just read this blog (and not comment) might not only pick up the chickenbutt habit but the other stuff as well…..I should think it would be a good idea since after all, your numbers probably spike with each new book (like TWISTED) and curious new (sometimes troubled ) fans might find your blog.

  22. YOU STOLE MY NAME/LIFE

    HELLO LAURIE, I WAS TALKING TO ONE OF MY FRIENDS, HER NAME IS CINDY, THE OTHER DAY AND SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS READING A COOL NEW BOOK AND SHE SAID THAT THE BOY IN THE BOOK HAD MY NAME. THIS MADE ME THINK. WHY WOULD A BOOK CALLED TWISTED HAVE A CHARACTER NAMED TYLER MILLER? I WAS READING THE DESCRIPTION OF THE STORY AND I FEEL THAT YOU SLANDERED MY GOOD NAME. I DONT WANT YOU TO GET THE WRONG IDEA OF THE REAL TYLER MILLER IM A GOOD PERSON. MAYBE WE COULD TALK ABOUT THIS MORE. PLEASE SEND ME AN E-MAIL. TMILLER617@YAHOO.COM

    SINCERLY,
    THE REAL TYLER MILLER

  23. Twisted

    I cant wait untill my book arives. I bought it for my holidays but i might read it earlier!!!

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