Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An All-Nighter

I’m thinking “rheumatoid arthritis?”  The epitaph of Mary Humphrey, who died at age 36 in 1791:
My glass is run
With graceful & engaging mein
She trod the carpet & the green
With such refulgent virtues deckt
As gained her wide & warm respect.
Prim health sat blooming on her cheeks
Till fortune play’d her cruel freaks
Her limbs in tort’ring pains confind
That wreck’d her joints tho not her Mind
By faith and patience fortified
The rudest tempest to abide
‘Bove which she soar’d to realms of bliss
When Jesus hail’d her with a kiss.

I had rather an adventure this weekend.  I had gotten the notated manuscript of Darned If You Do and found there were a lot more corrections and additions to be made than I thought – and I knew there’d be a lot.  I’d sent it off during that dreadful time when Ellen was diagnosed with kidney cancer and swiftly had surgery, so the novel was, you might say, a tad rough.  But now was my chance to fix it.  Normally at this stage my manuscripts are in good shape, but not this time.  So I had Anset to work.  It was due this past Friday, but I needed just a little more time and my editor gave me till yesterday, Monday.  Sunday evening I was comin’ ’round the clubhouse turn, ready to sprint for the wire.  There was a scene I’d totally re-written after I’d sent the original manuscript in and I wanted to insert it.  I called it up, copied it – and when I went back to insert it into the manuscript, the manuscript had disappeared.  I tried to get it back and couldn’t.  I have automatic backup, but it wasn’t to be found among the other things saved.  Ellen, who can make any computer sit up and pay attention, rummaged deeply for an hour, but couldn’t retrieve the work I’d done.  It was Sunday evening, the thing was due in my editor’s computer Monday morning, and well over a hundred pages of work were gone. I was scared and furious. Ellen offered a backup plan.  She occasionally takes a medication that combats daytime sleepiness.  She gave me half of a pill and it was amazing.  It isn’t an upper, I wasn’t freaking out, feeling rushed, or even coffee-nerves jittery.  I was just quietly wide awake and clear minded.  I pulled my first all-nighter in many years, and sent the finished manuscript off at nine Monday morning.  I took a four-hour nap – I didn’t want to totally turn my circadian rhythms upside down -–slept last night normally and am back on schedule this morning.  What’s the old saying?  Better living through chemistry!


Anonymous said...

Good for you! I can only imagine how horrible it must have been to lose all that work, and have to pull an all-nighter to salvage it. Glad you were able to pull it off without any ill effects.

Monica Ferris said...

What's great is that I'm totally back to normal today. I hope I don't need another dose any time soon, but now I know I have a source if I do. I'm going to England next spring, and I'm thinking I'll take another half tab to get me over jet lag that first day.

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a scary, miserable situation, Monica--and I admire how you handled it.

Betty Hechtman said...

How horrible for the manuscript to disappear. It's great that you could recreate your changes.

I think I knnow the drug you took. There was an article about it in Reader's Digest a while ago. The reporter took it for a week and sad that it was seductively addictive. I have a friend with multiple ailments who has taken it a lot, as well. I'm glad it worked for you.

Monica Ferris said...

The generic name of the drug is modafinil. You need a prescription to get it, but it's far better than od'ing on coffee or taking those OTC stay-awake pills.