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Hey Y’all: Gloom, Despair, Agony on Me

Marlene Ratledge Buchanan
Do you remember the TV show Hee-Haw?

Marlene Ratledge BuchananIt was a variety show that showcased many country-western entertainers and other stars of the times.  There was always a segment that included my new theme song—

Gloom, despair, agony on me.
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, agony on me.

That’s me this morning. I save the books I am writing on thumb drives. I have three in the works. One is all finished except for a few editions and editing. One is a good start with concepts and characters, but only about 6,000 words, quite a ways before it is done. Then there is Finding Home, the title of the book I have been concentrating on. It was three-quarters complete in the writing. Something like 60,000 words. I would have finished it this week. I WOULD HAVE finished it this week. Gloom, despair, agony on me.

Until this morning, I could insert the thumb drive and open up my story. Everything is gone but part of the first four chapters. I really don’t understand. I thought I was saving it to both a thumb drive and to the computer program. I “save” at the end of each chapter. My computer guru said my thumb drive may have been old and it just failed. Well, guess what? If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

I had printed out a full copy of everything. I do that so my husband and I can read it. It is my way to check that things are flowing in the book the way they flow in my head. Isn’t that brilliant? A paper copy I can retype into the program. Yes! NO!!! After making the changes from paper to the thumb drive I tossed the paper copy. “Oh no, you didn’t?” You say. “OH yes, I did.” I wale in deep, dark depression, excessive misery.

So—four chapters saved. Basically, the intro. Three thousand words in and I had just announced the victim. Twelve or fifteen hours of my life. Only 57,000 words to be back where I was. And I can’t seem to recreate those 57,000 words. My brain just fizzled. Do I start over? Do I just go on to another project? Right now, my plan is to pick up the story at chapter four and write from there. So far what I have done has been a struggle.  I think I must set it aside and let the cloud of despair lift.  In the meantime, I will continue to hum Hee Haw’s song as that is the only thing circulating in my brain right now.

A southern humorist, Marlene is the 2020 Georgia Independent Author of the Year for Life is Hard, Soften It with Laughter and 2021 GIAYA for A Place with a Past. Marlene is available for speaking engagements. You may reach her through her website