Monday, October 29, 2012

What to Do When the Lights Go Out...

from Mia Marlowe...

Today Sandy is supposed to make landfall somewhere on the eastern seaboard. We're in Boston, so chances are good the storm will give us at least a backward slap as it moves inland. My heart is with everyone who's in Sandy's path and hope you are safe.

Growing up in the Midwest, I'm accustomed to taking shelter and waiting for a storm to pass. We headed to the basement with regularity during tornado season. It became so second nature, we ceased to be afraid and became more concerned about how we'd occupy ourselves while the power was off. I vividly remember one night sitting up late playing cards with my sisters, my mom and our neighbor lady by the light of our camping lantern. We listened to a battery powered radio for storm updates while we waited for my dad and the neighbor's husband to come home from their jobs on the railroad.

Of course, as an author, you might expect me to encourage you to read when the power's out, but during times of uncertainty, like a storm the size of Sandy, it makes sense for families to pull together. So if you're going to read by whatever temporary light you may have, I suggest reading aloud.

My kids and I loved to read aloud, and not just during storms. We laughed through THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER. Wept together through WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. Anne Shirley's exploits from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES provided us with a number of verbal shorthands. We always look for places that give us "scope for imagination." And we didn't neglect the classics either. We read WATERSHIP DOWN and MOBY DICK. Sharing a book is sharing a world.

And if the real world is a little off kilter at the moment, that makes a shared book an even better activity. It gives you a little escape from inconvenience and hope that things will turn out all right eventually.
 
So how about you and your family? How do you fill the time when the TV is out and the lights are off?
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 Mia loves to connect with readers. Find her at MiaMarlowe.com, Twitter and Facebook. Her most recent release is LORD OF DEVIL ISLE, a collaborative novel written with New York Times bestseller Connie Mason. Set in exotic Bermuda during the years leading up to the American Revolution, LORD OF DEVIL ISLE is the story of smuggler, Captain Nicholas Scott and Eve Upshall, the English miss he pulls from stormy seas.

20 comments:

  1. Heh. We lost electricity for several hours just last week, and I read John Taylor's new memoir by flashlight. Interestingly, the outage wasn't weather-related. It was Squirrel vs. Sub-station. Alas, this did not turn out well for the unfortunate squirrel. ;-(

    Anyone in Sandy's route, please keep safe and sound.

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  2. We've lost electricity for days due to ice storms and it's not fun when you're freezing and have no fireplace. We live in the tornado zone with no basements. So we just hope for the best. There's no "getting away from it," not when they just pop up unexpected like.

    Hopefully it will not be as bad as they predict. Losing electricity for days ends up with an increase in conceptions, so we know what some folks do when the lights go out and don't come back on for days.... They are not reading books. :)

    All my best to you and everyone else who lives in the path of the storm.

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  3. Hi Mia! I can't even begin to imagine what it was like living where tornados are the norm. I agree reading used to calm our kids down when they were little and the power went out. :)

    Am the one home right now, DH is at work, planning to come home early. Oldest son is an IT guy and they're putting him up at the Marriott across the street so he can be there at work. Daughter checked in, she's home with darling grandbaby today. Waiting to hear from youngest son...

    Stay safe everyone!!!

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  4. Hi Mia~ I cook. A surprise I know. I remember being trapped in a strange house (a friend was watching her friend's house which was inland; so when we were evacuated, she called her friends and got the okay to offer us their house) for 4 days with my grandparents and my mother. The hurricane stalled just off the coast the entire time pounding us with wind and rain. We had electricity, no TV, so we cooked and ate and listened to my grandmother's favorite radio station WGUL. Sigh.

    I live just west of Baltimore so I started cooking yesterday. Luckily we have a generator and propane so we always have heat and at least some electric. Right now, it's pouring. I just hope it doesn't bring snow because we still have so many leaves, we'd lose trees. Sigh... Good writing weather. :)

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  5. i can remembe a few time my life when I was with my family during storms and powerfailers.. My mom and grandma would wrap us in big blankets to keep us warm and we would either sing songs, tell funny jokes and stories.. My brother of course would want to tell ghost stories. My dad would tell us about growing up in Ireland, he came to Canada after WWII and mom about her childhood growing up with her sisters and two brothers..
    Now I live alone and am glad I have my Kindle and my battery light. I am never alone if I have a book.

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  6. As a resident of Northwest Florida I've lived through my share of hurricanes and storms. I pray everyone will be safe.
    Amelia

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  7. Tamara--That reminds me of the time in Wyoming when most of Sheridan county went dark because someone was using a transformer as a target. He was eventually caught and prosecuted, but praised for his markmanship!

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  8. Terry--Does make you wonder how many babies named "Sandy" will arrive in 9 months...

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  9. We have some pretty good winter storms in PA and have lost power for 4 or 5 days. I wish we had a fireplace lol. Playing games and reading our my two favorite things to do. We have a large lantern always ready. It's just my husband and me now so if Sandy knocks out our power, I'll be reading and he'll be sleeping lol.

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  10. CH--Tornadoes were just a fact of life. Now earthquakes, that's something I could never get used to. It used to weird me out when our chandelier would swing a bit in Seattle sometimes. I could feel the building move sometimes even when there was no earthquake reported.

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  11. ok the first "our" should have been "are" lol

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  12. Robin--Stay safe. You're much more in the path than we are here in Boston.

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  13. Kathleen--I made sure to charge up my phone, as much for my Kindle app as for being able to stay in touch!

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  14. Thanks, Amelia. I think we've had our first US casualties on that tall ship off NC. My dad said 4 people were unaccounted for. So sad.

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  15. Catslady--Board games can be lots of fun. My DH and I used to have 2 couples who got together with us to play Monopoly every Friday. Then we all started having kids and things changed. Chutes and Ladders was the big draw!

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  16. I'm happy to read when the power is out, but after a few days, it gets frustrating. You never realize how much you use electricity for until you don't have it for an extended period. When Hurricane Ike came through, I heard about kids making books to illustrate their own stories (that mom and dad wrote down for them). I thought that was a great idea.

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  17. We play mah jong or read.

    Sandy caused a five hour outage which wasn't bad. We had a pot of soup on the stove which helped to keep us warm.

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  18. Great idea, Shana. Love it when kids get creative!

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  19. Taurus--How smart of you to have a pot of stew bubbling on the stove. Glad your power interruption was relatively short. We didn't have any trouble here in Boston, but our dogs didn't like the wind and rain one bit.

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  20. I tend to have multiple booklights so of course I read and, amazingly enough, I can sometimes crochet in the dark if the pattern isn't too fancy.

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