Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dumas

I’ve gone and done something stupid. Or even stoopid.

I’ve gone and lost my novel. Not the only copy I own of it thankfully – I’m so paranoid about “backing-up” I have copies littered on hard drives and servers the world over. But a copy. A full unexpurgated copy.

I had it on a memory stick. Handy things memory sticks. They allow you to transfer data all over the place willy-nilly. It meant I could foist a copy of my hard worked tome onto anybody that showed the slightest interest in reading it (I counted looks of horror as indicating an interest).

Unfortunately memory sticks are also damned handy at getting themselves lost. It was in my coat pocket one moment – not the most secure of environments, I admit – and gone the next.

It could be anywhere.

Lying on the floor at work. Lying on a pavement somewhere. Being uploaded as I type onto someone else’s computer for them to submit to a publisher as their own work.

I’ve left myself wide open to plagiarism.

I’ve now had to panic buy another memory stick and a jiffy bag to quickly send a sealed copy to myself through the post so I can postdate and prove my authorship.

Sigh.

Technology is great. It allows us to take huge shortcuts in all of our endeavours. But it also opens up shortcuts to monumental disasters as well. For God sake, don’t give me a CD containing people’s confidential medical records or you might find them left on a train somewhere.

And as for the title of this post... well, those of you who’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption will get it.


28 comments:

The Crow said...

You can also prove authorship by the date on your files in your computer, can't you? Did you save drafts, without wiping out the previous work?

I saw the Shawshank Redemption, twice, but I cannot recall what Dumas means, although - for some inexplicable reason - I hear Morgan Freeman's voice saying the word. My memory resembles Swiss cheese more and more every day.

Steve said...

I have about 10 or 11 partially complete drafts that go way back to when I first started the novel plus a couple of people have copies that they are reading so I guess rather a lot of evidence is on my side should I ever need to call on it.

As for Dumas... one of the cons finds a copy of The Count Of Monte Cristo in the prison library and exclaims, "Hey, look at this book! It's written by some guy called Dumb Ass!"

lunarossa said...

Wow, you're writing a novel, wonderful. I'm impressed. One of my articles was "stolen" once. Ie. the editor decided she liked it so much and published it with her own name thinking that living abroad I wouldn't have noticed. But I did! Fortunately I had emailed it to her cc to myself and my best freind so she couldn't deny what she did. Pretty stupid on her side, but very upsetting for me. So beware! Memory sticks are a nightmare in my household. My husband keeps on misplacing or losing his! All the best. Ciao. A.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: what's even more dumb about my experience is that life gave me fair warning that this might occur. Twice before this latest incident the memory stick had fallen out of my pocket but I'd luckily found it again... I should have taken the hint!

Completely Alienne said...

That is such a pain, but it does sound as if you have ample evidence of your authorship. One of my kids found a memorystick at the end of the road. I checked it and found it belonged to a boy at one of the local schools so posted it to the school so they could give it back to him. I lost my own in M&S but I was lucky - I worked out where I had lost it (it had been in my purse and I had bought something there on my way in to work) and when I went back to look it was still there on the floor by the till I had used.

I hope you get it back safely.

EmmaK said...

you are the funniest man alive. The chances of some person finding your memory stick and actually reading the ms and going 'hang on why don't I try and pass this off as my own' is about as likely to happen as Sarah Palin going on Mastermind or a man giving birth to a baby! Strictly paranoia my friend. Now please DO send it to an AGENT because I can't wait to read it.

EmmaK said...

I know this because when I go to the library and find someone has left a memory stick in the portal of the computer I immediately pocket it as my own and actually I don't even read what's on it I just delete the files so no one can say 'hey that was mine' which makes me a bit of a dishonest person but I'd say this is what most people would do. They would not be interested what was on the memory stick unless you were Bill Clinton or Jordan or someone like that.

Steve said...

Completely Alienne: thank you... I have done my best to retrace my steps but it is bordering on the impossible as (a) I suspect I could have lost it days ago (I only realized yeserday) and (b) I suspect I was the victim of alien abduction over the weekend... my memory stick could be lost in space!!

Emma: you weren't in Leamington a few days ago were you...? And if you were can I have my memory stick back, please? Wiping the files won't make any difference as I have marked the stick with celtic runes that I will be able to recognize immediately!

Actually, you're probably right. I am most likely just being paranoid (and possibly being arrogant about the quality of my novel) but the population of Leamo is rather rum and you just don't know whose hands my pendrive has fallen into. Sigh. Why oh why did I write under the sobriquet Sarah Palin?!

ArtSparker said...

Ah, the perfidy of inanimate objects.

Steve said...

ArtSparker: if there's no pulse you can't trust it. And if there is... well. That isn't a guarantee either.

French Fancy said...

Oh you must have driven yourself mad hunting round the house and everywhere you could remember being - this implies you are forgetful, not at all. I just remember how absent-minded I could become at busy work times.

With a bit of luck you might suddenly come across it - like you did the spurs (I've still not come across my mum's missing eternity ring though)

Steve said...

FF: I am foolishly / glumly scanning the pavements on my walk home too... desperately hoping... but no. Nowt.

TheUndertaker said...

Hmm, this is the second post about loosing something, is someone sending you cryptic messages? : ) That is, except us cryptic bloggers that leave cryptic comments.
I think sometimes paranoia can serve us as well, it will make you take steps for it never to happen again. You know, just in case someone had been stalking you for days to keep track on your whereabouts just to get to that memory stick so that they could get their hands on that novel... You just never know...

Steve said...

TheUndertaker: you might be onto something there... my memory stick has not been merely lost, it has been halfinched from out of my rightful possession! I need to call the police! I need to check the insides of my pockets for fingerprints...!

Joe Bloggs said...

I've just had a look on Google Maps to try and help find your memostick but there's no street view, sorry :)

As for The Shawshank Redemption, I don't recall Gerard Depardieu playing the chap in the iron mask.

Steve said...

Joe Bloggs: you've foxed me with the Depardieu reference but I'm quite pleased I'm not on Google maps... nice to know I can maintain a little privacy when I need to!

femminismo said...

Dumas ... I thought you were either riding with the musketeers or in a stone prison. I had forgotten about the book the library got at the prison. What a great movie!! Well, at least somewhere in the universe you have a completed book and not the beginnings of 12 books ... just saying ...

Steve said...

Femminismo: that's true... and maybe I have an appreciative if annonymous reader somewhere too? Gotta look on the bright side, eh?

missbehaving said...

Twice the Universe warned you??
I won't throw stones from this glass house though. I am exactly the same, the most annoying thing is the time given over to locating stuff I need, such a waste!
I remember once loosing something crucial and employing the kids to help find it, telling them it was a 'very very important piece of paper' when my then 5 year old said, 'if it's so important why didn't you keep it safe?'
Good question!

Vicky said...

Okay, I lost a memory stick for about 6 months with all my photos on it. Checked in all my handbags, backpacks etc nope. Then beginning of December was going through a bag looking for what I don't know and poof there was my memory stick and I swear I had checked that bag about 6 times. I think they are like socks and go on a holiday to the twilight zone every now and then.

Steve said...

MissBehaving: that's exactly what my wife said - you had two warnings?! Two?! And still you persisted in your idiocy?! Well, OK, she didn't use those exact words but that's what she meant. I'm suitably chastised and have learnt my lesson.

Vicky: I emptied my work holdall out yesterday - completely bottomed it - no sign of the memory stick at all but I did find 5 chocolate bars that I'd completely forgotten about. 5! See, every cloud has a silver lining...!

Selina Kingston said...

Oh my - I would be in such a panic now. I hate hate hate losing things. But I know where your memory stick is ..... it's in a marks and spencer bag on top of the cabinet !!!
(come on! you have to be impressed at how every word you write is etched on my mind!!) xx

The Crow said...

Re: Shawshank - oh, yes! Thanks for the memory jog. (I find I need a lot of those, lately. Just wait until you're 62, whippersnapper.)

:D

Steve said...

Selina: your knowledge of my storage techniques is indeed both impressive and damned scary. But alas not accurate in this case. I've already checked that particular bag and it isn't there! ;-)

The Crow: the way I'm going I'm going to need a dogtag around my neck by the time I'm 50!

Susie said...

LOL again at yet another post of yours. :-)

I know you might look kind of funny in one of these-but maybe they have a men's version:
http://www.usbmemorysticks.net/usb-flash-drive-necklaces-pendants

Another suggestion-is why not wite your name and phone number on your USB stick. Maybe an honest prson would find it and return it. I know I would.

Steve said...

Susie: doh! So blinking obvious! Why didn't I think of that! ;-)

The Dotterel said...

Did you know... (cue Michael Caine whine a la funny voices mentioned in the next post... I'm from the future, see)

Anyway, did you know that Lawrence of Arabia left the entire (and only copy) of the manuscript of his massive masterpiece 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' on a train. Never saw it again. Gone. Forever.

What did he do? Started writing it again. By hand.

Like I said, not a lot of people know that....

Steve said...

The Dotterel: that's a level of stoicism that few possess these days. I can't help wandering what happened to the original manuscript... hope it didn't end up in a bin somewhere. What a waste! Maybe my pendrive will be someone else's claim to fame one day...? (yeah right)