Here Today, Gone in a Flash: Panic, Perspiration, and (almost) Tears Over a Lost Flash Drive

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Here’s one thing you never want to do: lose a flash drive with tons of information on it, some of which you foolishly did not back up.

Here’s another thing you don’t want to do: lose a flash drive with a copy of your novel on it.

I managed to do both.

This one flash drive I had contained too much of my life’s work—class notes, assignments, activities, poetry, and, of course, my novel. That’s not to say I didn’t have other copies of my novel stored away, but because it is still forthcoming (edits being made as we speak), I didn’t want a copy of it  “floating out there,” because you never know what could happen if it were.

I taught my first class in the morning. Afterwards, I headed upstairs for my second class, reached into my little pink zipper “S” change purse where I keep my two flash drives, and only the white one was there. The black one was not. And the black one contained my Powerpoint lecture and the rest of my life.

It was, in fact, M-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I started to perspire as one would when losing a child for a few moments. (After all, I gave birth to the work, but please don’t tell my children I used that particular analogy). I rummaged through bags, purses, files and folders, and ran out to my car and scoured the other bag in there…I knew I had it yesterday during my lecture on crisis public relations. Where could I have put it? (And how ironic that the last time I saw it was during a lecture on crisis. Go figure.)

My class was in the lab working on a writing assignment, but they were very sweetly worried about me (and my flash drive). I ran down to Tech Connection to see if anyone turned one in. No one had. I went into the next building to Lost and Found to see if anyone had turned it in. No one had. At this point, I let it go, and conducted my lecture without the Powerpoint (which isn’t a problem for me, but the students usually like a visual to go with the talk of the day). I thought it might be time to call in St. Anthony, the Patron Saint of lost things. Calling him in for assistance had helped three times in the past for our family: twice for my mother-in-law and once for my daughter. (My mother-in-law’s pet parakeet flew out of the cage, outside, and onto the neighbor’s roof, but later returned upon her urging; additionally, she lost her pear-shaped diamond in the grass, but found it while on her hands and knees when the sun reflected light onto it. St. Anthony also helped my daughter find something she lost recently, too—one of her favorite toys).

I was still in panic mode and wasn’t hiding it very well from the students. All I could think was why didn’t I delete my novel off of that damn flash drive. I’d been meaning to, I just hadn’t done it.

After class, I went downstairs to my office and checked in all the places I had previously checked. As I was digging through my purse, I felt something way down on the bottom in the corner. The purse interior was black and so was the flash drive.


So, here’s a lesson to all of you, especially you creative writers with valuable cargo riding on those flash drives: Back up your flash drives. Then, back up the back up to the flash drives. Don’t lose your flash drive. Keep it attached to something that’s big, so you can’t possibly lose it.

I’m thinking of attaching mine to chair, a boulder, or The Empire State Building. That way, there will be a much slimmer chance of losing it again.

And, I know that wonderful Patron Saint offered his help, even though I didn’t come right out and ask for it.


  • Cheryl Klein

    Phew! Glad you found it. And as a nerdy aside, have you tried Dropbox? It’s cloud storage that you can download and use for free (or pay $10 a month for a bunch more space). Since I started using it, I’ve stopped filling up huge stacks of discs.

  • miss1sue

    this happened to me today and I didn’t find it. I have no backup and it had all my documents and law school notes. The silver lining is that at least it’s only one semester lost, I had backed up the last semester, but still something bad nonetheless. I even cried a bit

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