Monday, August 29, 2011

The value of entertainment


I'm scheduling this to post ahead of time, because my house is right in the path of Hurricane Irene. In fact, maps have the eye going right over us. If I don't get to comment--you'll know why!

Entertainment

Every year, the power goes out here in snowy, rainy, windy New England. Hundreds of thousands of homes lose electricity, ours being one of them. I learned something during the ice storm that crippled our area for over a week.

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 and some heat to one room. The generator provided heat and hot water to the rest of the house. 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 with 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 by 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. Native Americans 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 the term 'singing for your supper' came from.)

So, the point of this rambling post (and I did have one) is to highlight just how important storytellers are. Without us pulling new ideas from our imaginations and experiences, the world would be a boring place. I hope all authors realize their 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.

I’d love it if you’d check out my books. They are FYE only. (For your entertainment.) Nothing heavy...loads of fun. I have mass market paperbacks, trade paperbacks, and for those ridiculous blackouts, everything I write is available in ebook, which you can read on your hand-held electronic reading device! Be sure to keep your batteries charged! www.ashlynchase.com

20 comments:

  1. Ashlyn, I hope you've weathered the storm okay. I think our brains need a constant source of stimuli so it doesn't shrivel up into a ball of mush. Stories are a way of keeping the spark ignited.

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  2. I can vouch for the entertainment value of your stories, Ash!

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  3. Thanks, Mia!

    And Tracey, we came through fine. It was only a tropical storm by the time it got to NH, and we only lost one tree way out in the woods. Power went out for a few hours, but came back on and stayed on, thankfully!

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  4. We had a camp-in like yours several years ago when an ice storm knocked out our power for four days. Our house is total electric but the kids all said that it was warmer than their places so here they came. Most likely because I cooked on the outside grill! LOL
    I'm glad everyone has weathered the storm without too many catastrophes. Will still trade all the heat you want for one inch of rain!

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  5. The storyteller was also a repository of social memory, a teacher, and a bringer of the news--not just an entertainer. There are entire books written on the destruction of societies wreaked by de-valuing their stories and storytellers. This is particularly so when storytelling serves as education, and it gets replaced exclusively with structured classrooms and textbooks.

    The power went out at my house frequently, and that's when my daughter and I would get out the stories, the cribbage board, and the candles.

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  6. Cooking on the grill would have been a daunting task in an ice storm, Caolyn! Even afterward. I picture the meat slip sliding across the plate as you skate to the grill and back. LOL

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  7. Yes, Grace. I agree. I include some kind of real event in my books as often as possible. My readers have frequently commented that it's one part of my books they enjoy most. They learn a little something from me while enjoying a good story.

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  8. Ash, having lived in Florida for most of my life I know all about hurricane life. And I live right on the water. One year we had to evacuate 4 times because of hurricanes. I don't want anyone to feel the effects of such a storm, but I don't mind saying, I'm glad we didn't feel any winds or rain from Hurricane Irene. Glad you are safe and blessings to those who weren't so lucky.
    Amelia

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  9. Ashlyn, I'm glad you came though fine and have power again. A couple of years ago when Ike came through here, we were all without power for weeks. I remember one little kid at the school where I taught write a story and illustrated it then "bound" it into a book. Would he had done that with TV and video games? Doubtful. Maybe losing power isn't so bad sometimes. Just not when it's 100 degrees.

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  10. You've taken more than your share of hurricane abuse, Amelia! I'm happy to take one for you. Especially since they usually lose steam by the time they get up here.

    I know folks in Florida that have an RV all loaded and ready to go at a moment's notice. Other Florida folks I know have "Hurricane parties." They hunker down with a group of friends and stock up the bar. LOL

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  11. Hi, Ashlyn.

    I live in MD and we had our fair share of "nature goes wild" last week. First the earthquake and then the hurricane.

    I was this weekend; I didn't lose power but so many folks did, including my parents! I told my mother to make sure her Nook was charged up, because she may need it. For once, she listened to me...LOL

    Thanks,
    Tracey D

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  12. Ugh. I can't imagine 100 degree weather and a power outage, Shana. I'm afraid I'd live in my air conditioned car. LOL

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  13. LOL Tracey. I didn't the same thing. Charged everything with a battery. My ipod, nook, phone, and netbook.

    We had my m-i-l over again, and we used the power cleaner to charge up the movie room. After a double feature the trouble was over.

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  14. Entertainment is what gets me through tough times. How wonderful that you were able to weather your storm with some fun!

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  15. You understand what I'm talking about, Lil.

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  16. I'm glad you came through the storm alright! I agree on the importance of a good storyteller.

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  17. Hi ash I whole heartedly agree Im gettingr eady to move in to my own place so everythings going to be a budget so i have to pick and chose whats more important one thing i can say for sure thats important is book I love to read i have flashlights and lighteed lamps I loved to be told stories and spend family time with out the tv and everything so i have to say ty as a reader and a fan ty for the entertainment and ty for all of ur hard work and stories your an amazing person and an amazing author

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  18. Awww, SiNn,

    That's about the nicest thing you could ever say to me. Big bear hugs and sloppy kisses.

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  19. Hope you got through the storm. I kept my Nook charged and actually got to read when the power was out :)

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