Sunday, February 28, 2010
Goodbye February. Thanks for pointing out our priorities.
I sure don't miss it.
Thursday evening we had a wind storm to rival some hurricane force winds, and it lasted for hours. It was one of the weirdest things I've ever seen here in New England--and we see all kinds of weather. Large trees were ripped from the ground by the roots. We had two approximately eighty footers beside the driveway topple over. Thank goodness they fell away from our house!
And, of course, the power went out. Hundreds of thousands of homes lost power, ours being one of them. People were recalling last year's ice storm with horror. We went without power for 7 days. My husband stood in line for two hours to get one of the precious generators being shipped up from Massachusetts where they weren't as badly affected. Fortunately, we had it for this year's "event."
Last year we saw all kinds of behavior during the ice storm. It brought out the best and worst in people. I had to stay home and guard the generator until we could buy a thick chain and padlock. Yup, you guessed it. There were hundreds of generator thefts. But workers from as far as Tennessee came up to help restore our power.
What really got to me was the fact that I was negotiating my first Sourcebooks contract and hiring an agent during all this! I live in a "dead zone" so my cell phone was essentially useless. Fortunately, the deal didn't go away. And my agent understood when we kept getting cut off that I wasn't hanging up on her! I was really nervous about the horrible "first impression" I must have been making.
So, here it is a year later. My agent has been wonderful. My book is almost a reality, and during this power outage, the Fed Ex man brought me bookmarks and postcards with my cover on them! Yayyyy! I couldn't have asked for a brighter moment in an otherwise bleak day.
My mother-in-law lives a couple of towns away...alone. So we had her come over right away. My daughter and her boyfriend called to say they were at his mother's house, so they were safe! But as soon as they heard that we had entertainment, they came right over. It was fun to have everyone "camping" in our home.
I have a gas stove, so I was able to cook. We have a gas fireplace, so there was ambiance. The generator provided heat and hot water. It's funny what you decide you value when you have to pick and choose what to turn on and what to live without.
We have an electricity cleaner. (The "dirty electricity" coming from the generator can't power electronics which are too apt to be damaged by energy surges.) So, we had to decide on one electronic item to use with the electricity cleaner.
The choice was easy! My husband powered up the movie room and suddenly we had stories. We watched one comedy and one drama. Before we knew it, the day had flown and we were that much closer to having normalcy restored.
What is it about stories we love so much? I remember hearing something Michael Creighton said several years ago. He believed that no matter how bad things got, people would still need entertainment. During WWII, dance halls sprung up all over Europe. Our ancestors from long ago would sit around a campfire and tell stories. The traveling bard in medieval times was valued for the entertainment he brought and was fed for the price of his gift. (That's where 'singing for your supper' came from.)
So, the point of this rambling post (and I did have one) is to highlight just how important we storytellers are. Without us pulling new ideas from our imaginations and experiences, the world would be a boring place. I hope you all realize your value. Sometimes I think we forget how much we're needed. We're more apt to judge brain surgeons or research scientists as important people--but even they need entertainment.
Posted by Ashlyn Chase at 8:17 AM