Once when I was a grad student taking a mandatory Historiography class I lost my final exam essay. It was written and ready to print for handing it in to the professor the next morning. It was late at night (isn’t it always?) and I was too tired to take the time involved in dealing with the printer, all bleary-eyed from cramming for finals.
I loved the class, don’t get me wrong. The history of History and Historians is very interesting. My favorites were Herodotus, The Beards, and of course The Venerable Bede, who wrote the first non-Church-based histories about secular matters—such as War.
The assignment for the writing portion of the final exam was to expound on the following proposition: “You are in your coffin, and ten of your favorite Historians stop, in turn, to pay their respects. Who are they and what do they say?” If anyone really wants to read it I intend to load it into position from its current state (on paper) and post it on this site. This is my all-time favorite paper which I wrote at university, and is even more remarkable because of circumstances.
Well, by the time of the incident, the excuse that “my computer lost the paper” was already old, in a category with “the dog ate my homework” in legitimacy.
So I knew that there were NO saving graces here, no Fail Safe protocol to fall back on, and there would be no possibility of an A for a late paper. SO, I had no choice but to re-create the paper from scratch—in about an hour.
Fortunately, thanks to my annoying and anal study practices, I was writing my paper from note cards. Known as the “Note Card Queen” among some of my professors, I had a stack of more-than-ten [smug smirk] note cards out-lining in great detail of Historians through the ages. An aside: to me, study habits that most consider busy-work were as important to me as the finished product, so my obsession was something of a life-saver.
The finished paper was finished in time, handed in at the zero-hour, and produced an A on the graded paper. I was pleased as punch, and to this day that is my favorite all-time work of writing.
I admit that it is pretty localized in readership…only students who REALLY like History (and not even a lot of them) would be chomping at the bit to get their hands on a term paper about the lives of people who wrote History over the years…most of them quite dead. I rather think that it might be like a gathering of Mathematicians…hanging out at a Math convention chatting brightly and with animation about Pythagoras and other Math greats. (Sorry, I am not up on Math history.)
SO…yes, there is a point here! Today I lost a post that was all ready to go…in fact it was posted on my site…but the CONTENT was all missing: the poem, a haibun, a picture of a tree, and a poem about the tree, which I wrote last year. All my formatting, capitalization, clever title, indents and centering—gone. I searched and searched…but that post is GONE!!! I do have the haiku poem itself, written in my notebook. But I pooh-pooed the Muse when she whispered that I should write the prose part of the Haibun in my notebook also, and I just winged it and composed the thing right into the machine.
Alas! ….no notecards! I am just becoming too complacent…