Stolen Words

Stolen Words April 30, 2013

I am a writer. I use my words. I try real hard to use my words for good. On April 28 I lost some of my words.  Some of those words that I lost comprised two book proposals and the carefully crafted query letters ready to go out this week. I know it is a long shot since hundreds of MacBook Pros are stolen in Atlanta every day – I probably stand a better chance at winning the PowerBall – but maybe, just maybe I can still get my words back.

Late Saturday evening, after a day of distracted fun wandering around a perfect Inman Park Festival that celebrates a crazy, beautiful cacophonous, spectrum of people living in the city,  I made a terrible mistake and left my laptop in my car. My car was parked in front of my house in Kirkwood, a little neighborhood in Atlanta. Someone looking in the car windows of our newly purchased vehicle, saw my brown, saddle-leather bag and used the screwdriver in his or her hand to smash the back-seat window. I had forgotten to set the alarm.  The dogs barked, but they bark if a squirrel farts on the front porch so we barely stirred.

Whoever you are out there, you left behind my paper notebooks, strewn all along the bike path in the rain. I am grateful to have them back because those words, rough and sharp like un-tumbled stones, had not even made it as far as the keyboard. You left behind my copy of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman – and I am grateful that I still have his words close at hand to make me slow down and think. You even left behind my latest bills for my massive student loans and the speeding ticket I got hurrying to the work I love last week. Thank you, it sure would’ve been a pain to deal with all that without the proper paperwork. Thanks to a neighbor named Adam I even got back the bag after he found it discarded in a park just a few blocks away.

We’ve repaired the window, engaged the club and set the alarm.

What I can never get back are the precise words, in exactly the way I wrote them, that are stored on that computer since my other carelessness was failing to drop the words into the cloud.   But I am throwing this plea out to the universe in the unlikely event that you ever encounter these words.  If there is any way to just get those words back I hope you will reach out to me in whatever anonymous way you can.  Hell, I will give you the password to get past the login screen.  I really just want my words back.

Just typing all of this out makes me starkly aware of the bountiful blessings, the many privealges I enjoy – some of which I earned through very hard work, some of which I inherited with no effort on my part – I get that.   Please know too that I worry terribly about the circumstances that may have  put you on this path in life. I can only pray that the money you make from the laptop will fill a hungry belly, not an empty pipe.

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190 responses to “Stolen Words”

  1. I just found your blog and this article jolted me. I thought about you, your lost words, and my own stories resting in my lizard green laptop as though they are invulnerable. I hope you get your words back or that new, fine words come to replace them. Either way, I’m backing up my laptop right now.

    • Bill,

      Thank you for your kind words and yes, back up now! Dropbox and Evernote are your friend!! Such an easy thing to do and so silly for me to have not clicked the few times needed to save myself so much heartache.


  2. I hope you get your words back. That is terrible.

    Here is a suggestion: if you do your writing in your Google Drive or Dropbox directory on your computer, or if you do your writing in Evernote, you will always be able to access your words from any computer. The “cloud” is our friend, in cases like this.

  3. I am so sorry to hear about your stolen words. Perhaps only a writer can understand the significance of such a loss; even if one rewrites the documents they will never be the same as those lost words. The loss creates a pain in the gut.

    I really hope you get them back. I wish I could replace my smiling photo because I am certainly not smiling now.

    • Thank you friend – I do so appreciate your kind empathy. We shall see – even though I’ve been known to place a bet or two in my life I am not betting in my favor on this one.