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Saturday, February 03, 2007


"The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many thing seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their lossis no disaster.

Lose something evry day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master."
David Morris Potter 1910-1971 Geography II (1976) "One Art"

Off I went to my Travel Writing class the other night. I usually tote my looseleaf of class notes and books in my back-pack or pull-along bag but this time I decided to show off the snazzy white cloth bag from Maui I'd been given last week at a Maui media luncheon. I was reading on the bus (a fascinating book about Venice by Jan Morris), and after a few chapters felt a bit dozey so I let myself nod off. It's a long bus ride across town. Sometimes I catch up on napping on the way. Before this, a little voice in my head had said "Better put your arm through the bag handle just in case." I ignored this insight. So when I reached my stop I dashed off the bus're right! my horror I discovered I had left my bag and notebooks behind! Oh horrors. I hate losing things and it doesn't often happen (except for all the time I lose because of procrastinating).

Of course I was able to conduct the class okay because I've been doing it since 1994, and aside from the nice little Maui bag, there wasn't anything of value to anybody except myself. (I had included some published articles of mine which I wasn't sure I had copies of, and also copies of previous student's published articles which I like to show my classes to prove they too can get published.) Something like that always flusters me though, and I was in a stew all night. Even had a nightmare after lying away awhile thinking about the possible consequences of my loss.

Anyway, I went to the Transit Lost and Found the next morning, and thank goodness the bag and all it's contents were there! But it gave me pause for serious thought. What if it had been something more valuable and irreplacable like a hard copy of my novel or other important notes that I couldn't replace? Of course, I keep my novel on a CD rom as well as floppies, but it would cost a lot of time and money to reprint it all. And suppose it had been a lost travel diary that hadn't been saved on a disk? I've read horror stories of this happening to writers. I seem to recally a story by a well-known actress who had lost her entire memoir off her computer (I suppose because she was forgetting to 'save' as she wrote.) Actually I've done that myself and now have to constantly remind myself to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

Has that happened to any of you? Have you lost your precious words? special books? important papers?

"This could but have happened once - and we missed it, lost it forever."

Robert Browning 1812- 1889 "Youth and Art" 1864 st. 17


Anonymous said...

I learned to save very early on. I trusted the computer and lost a whole book for three horrible days.
I finally got it back, but it scared me. Now I back Everything up in several ways.
First way:
USB key
2nd way - I created my own Yahoo group and upload into the file section. I keep the site live, but not public.
3rd way - I send the manuscripts to my hotmail address and keep them there as well.
Sam (who sounds a bit paranoid, lol)

Wynn Bexton said...

Checking to see if this gets through to my new email address

Adrian Swift said...

Glad you got your bag back!

I actually lost my Master's thesis due to a computer crash a week before the final copy was due.

I knew better! Oh, I knew better!

I now keep additional copies.

(BTW, I was able to scan in a hardcopy, but I lost a couple of days "cleaning it up" before I could finish the final edits.)

We live and learn.

Wynn Bexton said...

Just want to see if this gets sent on to my new email address.

Adrian, what a terrible thing to happen. I hope it all turned out OK.