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Pulitzer Prize-perfect piece goes ‘poof’

Pulitzer Prize-perfect piece goes ‘poof’

Posted: Friday, May 25, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Glenda Caudle

Pulitzer Prize-perfect piece goes ‘poof’ | Just A Thought, Glenda Caudle

I was nearing the conclusion of the longest chapter I have ever written in my literary life Wednesday night.
It was perfection, if I do say so myself.
I had presented the hero in terms designed to win him instant adulation and to make him the star of countless maidenly sweet and swooning dreams. My heroine combined just the proper proportions of wafting Southern gentility and 21st century feminine stamina of the sterner-stuff variety.
They were communicating with each other, and with the reader I had in mind as I penned the fictional account, in terms so perfect that I kept searching for the shadow of Shakespeare over my shoulder.
The entertainment value was somewhere in the stratosphere and the lessons to be learned were manifold and meritorious.
If Steve Goodman (Outlaw David Allen Coe’s song-writing friend) penned the perfect country and western song under the title “You Don’t Have to Call Me Darlin’, Darlin,’” I had certainly attained the heights of best-seller story telling with my chick lit masterpiece, “He Never Even Called Her Barbara Jane.”
I was trying to decide precisely how to describe their first passionate embrace in terms that would send feminine pulses racing and yet would not embarrass me if my children read it aloud just after dessert at Sunday dinner, when the unthinkable occurred.
My laptop ate it.
And it has yet to regurgitate any part of it, in spite of the fact that I have given it ample opportunity and offered all the incentives at my disposal.
I knew it was hopeless when my computer-guru son-in-law tapped and clicked and cheerfully muttered his way through an hour of effort on my behalf. During his Internet travels through the universe, he attempted to acquaint me with other delights that can be mine if I only open myself up to the possibilities, but my desires were focused on nothing else but retrieving my Pulitzer Prize winner.
I know there are distinct advantages to tapping out letters on a keyboard and having them magically appear on a screen. For one thing, I don’t have to deal with messy eraser smudges when I need to make a correction. For another, I never have to run out and buy typewriter ribbon and a new supply of white-out.
On the other hand, my spiral bound notebook and Bic™ never ate my work and my typewriter never refused to follow the commands I was issuing as I jabbed at first one button and then another and then the whole blamed alphabet’s worth in a frustrating effort to make it give me back the thoughts it had snatched and buried in a deep, dark Internet graveyard somewhere.
My laptop has admirable “memory,” but it’s a selfish little son-of-an-itch when it comes to sharing what it knows from storing up my work. If it is not in a generous frame of mind, I might as well abandon any and all friendly overtures and just start all over on a fresh page.
Which is precisely what I did at 2 a.m. Thursday.
However, only time — and the next meeting of the Pulitzer committee — will tell the story of how effectively I recovered from the trauma.
Glenda Caudle may be reached by email at

Published in The Messenger 5.25.12


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