Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodbye February. Thanks for pointing out our priorities.

I'm not sad to see this wintry month end. I've heard why they took one day away from February and gave it to the summer. I believe the story is that Julius Caesar didn't want to be outdone by Augustus Caesar, so when he found out his month (July) only had 30 days in it, he borrowed one from February in order to have the same number as August.

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.



  1. Yikes, Ash, I didn't realize it was the 1st of March tomorrow. Means deadline is getting closer! LOL

    You will remember your signing with an agent while having all that trouble so much more than if everything was working just fine! :) Poor Deb, when she called me, I thought she was a telemarketer since I'd been having a whole lot of trouble with them about that time!

    But at least you have gas to keep you going. All electric here, and when the electricity is out, no working's downright primitive.

    Great post!!!

  2. I have a wood stove to heat my house, and as often as the power goes out here, it's been a blessing!

    The power of a good story well told is infinite. I may have had the worst day imaginable and hurt all over, but when I get in my bed with a book, it all goes away and then I can sleep... perchance to dream....

  3. I grew up right outside Houston and we certainly had our fair share of hurricanes over the years. No generators.

    My brothers, sister and myself would huddle around some candles and read everything from Shakespeare to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Entertainment in a very primitive form.

  4. Well it is 1st March here in Australia and the first day of autumn YAY I am looking forward to the cooler weather.

    I totally agree with the need for authors your books are my entertainment they take me to places I will never visit they take me back in time into the future and give me fantastic adventures along the way to a HEA and I thank you all very much for hours of pleasure and lots of entertainment.

    Have Fun

  5. When Deb called me I was sound asleep! I had worked the night before and was in the middle of my "night" of sleep. Hubby came home for lunch and saw the message on the refrig board that my daughter had dutifully written since she knows that waking me for anything less than the house being on fire is an absolute no-no! He freaked and began dialing Deb's # while running into the bedroom where I slept. He literally thrust the phone into my face just as Deb answered! It was hysterical and fortunately we have an editor with a great sense of humor. Now it is a wonderful story!

    As for winter, we have had rain for a week straight so I am MORE than ready for the 100 degree heat!

  6. How true! I don't want to think about life without all my favorite books. That wind storm sounds exactly like a hurricane! When the power goes out here, people get nutty too :)

  7. Fun post, Ash! I love nothing more than snow days. If the elements want to cut me off from the rest of the world and force me to stay home with my family, I'm all for it! Storms always seem to bring all the petty things in life to a screeching halt and remind me of what really matters.
    But wind scares me. We get a lot of it here in Cheyenne, and your "hurricane" sounds pretty terrifying!

  8. What a wonderful, insightful post, Ashlyn, about storytelling. You're so right about the importance of entertainment to get us through the tough times. A good story warms the heart and enriches the soul.

  9. Generator thefts. Unbelievable.

    I know a lot of people hate the snow and cold and February. But I love it. Though I MIGHT change my mind if we had the kind of storms you all did. Knock on wood, we haven't lost any power in the 10 years we've been here.

  10. Good gried, Ash! I'm glad you and your family are okay. We've had wind storms like that, but nothing too severe to knock the power out. *Hugs*

  11. Oops ... sorry. That's supposed to say 'grief'. LOL! What can I say - it's a Monday!

  12. Sorry I just got to your post. We have had some wild weather this winter, haven't we?
    About the need for stories--I believe humans are hard-wired to need entertainment and specifically to need stories.

  13. I heard this ages ago, that if we can dream it, we can make it happen. (Writers were telling stories of landing on the moon long before it ever happened.) And writers are the worlds best dreamers.