I’d figured out a way to manage and even enjoy the quiet of the Covid 19 shutdown. My walking challenge carried me over 400 miles in four months. I discovered new trails, enjoyed beautiful oceanfront scenery, and did most of my errands around town on foot. I wore out one pair of shoes, and seriously broke in another. Life was working for me. I’d adapted.
But just when I thought I could see that circle of light at the end of the metaphor, life decided to seal off that promise and sent in her lightning brigade. There’s nothing like a 3 a.m. streak of fire across the sky followed by the sound of large colliding boulders overhead to pump up the old adrenaline. Then looking out the window to find columns of smoke across the canyon shifts you into Emergency mode like nothing else. Find the flashlight (obviously, there’s no power), get out the Must Take With Me list, open the gate and garage door for a quick getaway, turn on battery operated radio, then pace while listening to the emergency alert system. That sound alone can drive you mad.
I’ve been evacuated twice before, so I’m not a novice. Still when it’s dark, when the sky’s raining a billion volts of electrical power (did you know that?) all around you, and you’re thinking maybe Covid 19 isn’t that big a deal, it’s hard not to panic, and that doesn’t serve you well at all. When the sun came up (100+ degrees– thank you for that), I took advantage of natural light and loaded the car with important papers and some irreplaceables. I waited, keeping an eye on the ridge until the air became so thick I couldn’t breath–even inside–then I took off and headed south. Finally, the wind blew the fire and smoke away from my side of the canyon, and for the moment, I could return and stay sheltered in my place, like in the good old days when only a virus threatened my life.
I’m thinking of those who were caught in this maelstrom and hoping they can return to their abandoned homes, although I already know several friends who will be rebuilding or moving.
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Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
Remember, the question is optional!
September 2 question – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?
Now that is a great question. And it’s so difficult to answer. If I choose one of those literary luminaries like Dos Passos or Faulkner (one of my favorite and most challenging authors) I know they’d chew up my prose and spit it out after the first paragraph. So how about Hemingway? I treasure his writing, but he shot animals to prove his manliness, not to mention his penchant for not being a very nice guy. So not him. Twain might work. Maybe he could teach me how to capture wit and humor in my writing, how to tweak noses without being pendantic. So moving on…Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver. I could learn so much from them, but, like the others, I would have absolutely nothing to suggest by way of improvement in return. A beta partnership has to be a two-way street.
I think I’ll have to set my sights on a writer who is still striving to improve their craft and who I see doing that each time they publish another book. I want to list my choices here, but sure as I do, I’ll leave out someone and regret this post, so I’ll just say there are a lot of writers I’m connected with who I admire for their diligence and determination. I’ll choose one of them.
I’m eager to see how others answer this question today.
The WEP had an awesome theme this month, so I entered because I love to do Flash Fiction once in a while. It gives me chance to “play” with characterization and dialogue in the short form. Here’s my contribution.
The entries for the IWSG Anthology Contest are coming in like crazy, and they’re good, so readers will be in for a treat when this one comes out.
Quote of the Month: “If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy.” Ursula K. Le Guin