To a Thief

Among some of the worst things that can happen to a writer has to be the theft of a computer. I, unfortunately, was the victim of such a theft on Monday.

Later, I may write about the emotional impact of having my laptop stolen, how I had taken my hard drive space for granted, and how I feel like an utter moron for not having established a backup routine for my data. That may come later.

It occurred to me this morning, though, that the laptop lid bore a rather large sticker advertising this very blog, and that the thief might in fact decide to come visit in order to revel in some anonymous fame, paradoxical though the concept is.

So this morning, I address this blog post to the person who made off with my laptop from the library a little before 2:00 on Monday.

Keep the laptop. The hardware means nothing to me. A glorified typewriter is all it really is.

But the data on that computer is irreplaceable. I'm a writer, and the literally hundreds of thousands of words held in hundreds of files on that hard drive represent not only my past but my future. It holds, among other things, almost 40,000 words of one unfinished novel as well as sketches and outlines and preliminary scenes of four or five other possible novels. It holds short stories, essays, and blog posts both finished and unfinished. It holds my life's work.

Those words are very important to me.

So please, person who took my laptop, if you have any decency in you, and if you haven't wiped it clean yet, please pop out the computer's hard drive and drop it into the book return slot at the library where you found the computer. You can get an inexpensive hard drive online or at Best Buy or somewhere and still have a decent laptop for super-cheap to use for whatever you want, and I will have the product of hundreds of hours of creative work returned to me.

Please, just the hard drive. The rest is yours.


The Thing about Going to the Local Zoo

The thing about going to the local zoo is that, after you've been there a few times and gotten to know all the animals, you end up spending more time watching the other zoo-goers than the ostensible main attractions of the place.


After My First Game of Peeve Wars

I received my Grammar Girl's Peeve Wars card game in the mail (along with some other grammary goodies) this weekend, and through an unexpected twist of fate, I actually got to play the game with my sons on Monday morning. Now I'm here to report.


Ten Things I Found in an Old Notebook

Here are ten things I found in an old notebook of mine. Once you read them, they are yours.


Weird Al's Blurred "Word Crimes" Lines

I can’t not respond to Weird Al Yankovic’s new song “Word Crimes,” can I? So here goes.


Dusty Story Ideas

I have been doing some cleaning of late -- you know, when I haven't been busy searching for a job and sending out resumes and losing my hair over the whole kerfuffle -- and whenever I clean, I find all sorts of old story ideas. I'm sure many writers have the same sort of experience from their house cleaning.

They usually show up in the margins of pages of legal pads, and those have been piling up around here over the last couple years. But I also find plenty of (literally [literally literally]) scraps of paper with little ideas written on them.

Sometimes, they will be neatly separated from whatever meeting notes, stories, or doodles occupy most of the page. Occasionally, they'll even be labeled "Story Idea." Other times they're just a few words that might spark an idea -- or might serve as a good writing prompt. Like this:

Book characters meeting the actors who will play them onscreen
Can you just imagine what Captain Ahab would have to say to Gregory Peck or Patrick Stewart? Or Romeo Montague to Leonardo DiCaprio? Or Frodo to Elijah Wood?

Sometimes, though, there's more text but less explanation. This one especially caught my eye because it looks almost finished. Also because it was so obviously derived from Monty Python.
  "Hey boy! What are you doing there?"
  "Sorry, but from the back..."
  Olivia vomited over the rail again. Watched her dinner fall some 200 feet to splash into the dark waves below.
I think this was supposed to be the beginning of a modern retelling of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

You ever find an old, dusty story idea from days past and turn it into something wonderful?


An Appearance Will Be Made

Though it doesn't have the flash, glamour, or legalized prostitution of Las Vegas, Indianapolis (at least this year) does have one thing in common with Sin City: Me as a conference speaker.


A Refreshed and Refreshing Ebook

This morning, I uploaded a brand new cover for my ebook, Seasonal Work, and dropped the price to $1.99. And that's for the whole book, not just the cover!

If you haven't bought it yet, now would be a great time. Especially for me! (See yesterday's post.)

It's available in multiple ereader formats. If you can't find a file that's compatible with your ereader of choice, then you've made a bad, bad choice for your ereader. But even then, you can download it as an RTF and read it on your computer.

It makes a great Father's Day gift (if you don't like your dad very much)!


Getting Fired 32 Ways: A Life Lesson

Fired, axed, canned.
Sacked, dumped and given the boot.
Shown the door and bounced out.
RIFed, outplaced, unhired, and decruited.
Given the pink slip.
Involuntarily separated and put on indefinite unpaid leave.
Transitioned out, laid off, and let go.
Right-sized, downsized, and lateralized.
Given a career change opportunity.
Restructured, removed from the talent pool, and relieved of duties.
Released, discharged, dismissed, eighty-sixed.
Given the heave-ho.
Terminated, but allowed to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities outside the company.


What Does Bladder Control Have to Do with Plate Tectonics?

Because I'm a writer and an editor, I go through a lot of words on the average day — the ones I read, the ones I write, the ones I think about writing, the ones I delete, and on and on. Words become the constant hum of the warp drives in my own personal USS Enterprise. Occasionally, though, that warp drive will hiccup and grab my attention, and I'll notice for the first time the strange connections between words that I've known and used for decades.

Today, the engine hiccupped.


Claimer and Disclaimer

The opinions expressed on this blog are solely mine. None of the opinions necessarily reflect the beliefs of my friends, family, or employers, past, present, or future. I reserve the right to be wrong.

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