Writer Risks Life to Save Life’s Work

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A cautionary tale that reminds us all to back up our work

Gideon Hodge en route to save laptop. Apparently not a reinactment. This and other dramatic photographs by Matthew Hinton, available at the New Orleans Advocate.

In the digital age, despite differences in creed, color, and craft, all writers share one practice in common: backing up their work. Since most modern authors write on a laptop, they are particularly sensitive to the risk of losing all of their hard work in a nightmarish moment of bad luck. All it takes is one hard drive crash. Or in Gideon Hodge’s case, a raging fire.

Last week, Hodge who writes plays and novels, found himself running into his burning down home to save his laptop, which contained the entirety of his life’s work. When his fiancée called to tell him the terrible news, he instantly thought of the lone copies of two completed novels which he had not backed up elsewhere. He darted past firefighters who tried to dissuade him from entering what was essentially a death trap. Fortunately he and his laptop made it out unscathed. Everything else in the couple’s home was charred.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, Hodge didn’t think twice about putting himself in harm’s way for his art. He said, “Despite my better sense, I just ran inside and grabbed it. I didn’t think to be scared.”

Sometimes it takes a traumatic wakeup call to remind a writer the importance of backing up their work. As for Hodge, he plans on investing in multiple external hard drives to store outside of his home, just in case lightning strikes twice.

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