Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stumbling Around

In my recent internet ramblings, my metaphorical hikes through the electronic woods, I came across some blogs with little nuggets of help for writers and artists.  In lieu of any actual thinking of my own, I pass them along to you:

How To Steal Like An Artist serves up a refreshing insight on inspiration and creativity.

Best Blogs For Aspiring Writers is just a list, but a good starting point to poke around for what you need.

Lester Dent's Master Plot is the famous pulp wordsmith's breakdown of how to create a story.

Of course, the best advice -- the advice most frequently ignored -- is to keep writing, always.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Going Japanese

Last week, as the family was winding down from a long day of our usual bickering, cajoling, and rollicking fun, while I was sitting with a glass of wine and a book, there came a sputtering-sizzling-thumping sound, a tremor passed through the house, followed rapidly by flickering lights, a WHUMP! and darkness.  The quiet that only comes when you've lost power.  From downstairs, my son yelled, "I smell something!"  I grabbed a flashlight, and stepped into the basement, only to meet a hanging pall of smoke.  Thankfully, no flames, but still... smoke can't be good.

Ushering everyone out into the unseasonably cold night, we huddled on the porch waiting for the fire department, which came out in force: 5 trucks from at least two companies.  At one point, there were ten fully-geared firemen exploring my house in the dark, trying to figure out what had happened.  They roamed from the attic to the basement.  In the end, they discovered the main cable coming into the house had exploded in the foundation.  The cable burned apart and the breaker tripped, cutting off the mains to the house.  No imminent fire threat, but the electric company shut off service to the house.

The following morning, the house temps were in the low 50s.  Not dangerous, but not comfortable, either.  Everything stayed cool in the fridge, so we were okay on food, etc.  The electrician came in the morning, and power (and internet) was back online before the afternoon.  What's the point of the story, you may well ask.  We were lucky in a lot of ways.  Mainly that the house didn't burn down, but also that we really didn't lose anything, weren't in physical danger, and could get everything repaired in under 24 hours.  That got me to thinking about Japan.  For one night, I was inconvenienced and irritable, but that was the extent of it.  I didn't like it one bit.  My kids were scared, and in our society, a lack of electricity in your home is a very unnerving situation.

Many of those who survived in Japan are dealing with conditions I don't even want to imagine.  Theirs is a life-altering hardship, and it is ongoing.  Just because it isn't at the top of the news coverage any more doesn't mean the situation is over, or their needs have lessened, it just means the media can't make money off of it any more.  Meanwhile, those affected by the quake and tsunami still struggle.  Send a prayer their way, or donate something to the relief efforts.  Below are just two of the many sites that will take monetary donations.

American Red Cross

United Methodist Committee on Relief