Yesterday morning at 3:20 AM a carless friend calls me, says his wife is in labor. I hop in the golden minivan of power and rush over to his place. When I see them and I talk to her, I’m pretty sure she’s not in labor. I’ve seen labor several times now, and I’ve done lots of reading on the subject. Anyway, I know it’ll only cause friction, so I don’t say anything -“ besides, who knows what the hospitals going to say. So we take the five minute ride up the hill, I make sure they get situated, and I go home and try to get some sleep. I’m unsuccessful, and that’s OK, because they call me at 4:45 to come pick them up – false alarm. Fast forward a few minutes. I’m home, tired, and trying to sleep. 5:30 rolls around, I’m still awake, and now it’s my mother-in-law’s wake up time. She’s been with us the past week and a half, for which I am grateful. I love that woman. Anyway, even though she’s great, she is noisy, and thus interrupts my (attempted) sleep. I eventually get an hour’s worth of sleep and then it’s time to go to work.
While I’m at work, my wife smells gas, and calls the gas company. They come out, find a leak and shut off the gas – no hot water or furnace.
After work, I have some duties at my church, so I take care of those and come home. My parents live six minutes away so my wife and I head over there to shower.
We get home, I get everybody in bed, then go to the fridge for a snack. The light in the fridge doesn’t come on – Yay! The power’s out!
No, wait – only half the power’s out!
I check the breaker box and everything looks like it’s in order – no breakers tripped.
I can’t figure out what has happened.
So a dig up an extension chord and string it from one of the few plugs in the house that is working to our refrigerator. After, all, I don’t want a bunch of spoiled food. I go to sleep and hope the home repair fairies visit me in the night.
This morning, I wake up, and the home repair fairies have passed me by. I must not have been good this year.
I call the power company and they come out. The guy gets in the bucket lifter.
Half of the old school power line that feeds my home has burned out. The other half looks like it’s about to go at any time. They can’t repair it, as for liability reasons they only use newer style wire. To use the newer style wire, I need to get a new meter box, poke a hole in my roof, and install a weather head thingy. So he has to cut the other half of my power until I can get things fixed up. Yay!
So now my house is not only cold, but dark.
I buy dome dry ice and throw it in the freezer and the fridge, then pack up the family and send them off to my wife’s sister’s house. We were going to all head there Saturday afternoon, anyway, so it’s no big deal to juggle things and get them on the road.
Now it’s time for me to get on the phone, dig up some professionals and funding, and get to work. (and of course, do my day job, too.)
Now before you get all weepy, let me just say: don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I have good friends, good family, and I’m willing to do what it takes to get stuff fixed. Like all storms, this too shall pass. Pity isn’t the point.
Here’s why I share with you my sad, sad story:
I use writing to deal with the pains and frustrations of everyday life. Something bad happens to me, and I kick Corbin St. Laurent (The hero of my book & its sequel) in the groin. Writing takes my mind off irritants and is releases some of the pressure. For me, writing is better than therapy. I love it, and I’m grateful for all of my painful experiences. Not only to they help me grow personally, they give me an emotional reservoir from which to draw every time I sit down to write. If I can just learn how to tap it fully, I’ll be unstoppable.
I think all successful writing is drawn on big emotions, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. There are folks who have experiences huge financial losses who now use that pain to write on money management. Jane Austen apparently wrote about relationships that were happy endings to her own tragic romance.
So, yes, I believe great emotion can bring about great writing.
All I can say is that after all this, something absolutely evil is on its way to meet poor ol’ Corbin.