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Snowstorms & Setbacks: Dealing with them (somewhat)

Snowflake. Small microscope kept outdoors. Sna...

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My apologies for no post today. (I’m on a borrowed computer for this post.) Two interesting things have happened. I was the victim of a cyber attack and a state of emergency has been declared in London, Ontario due to unprecedented snowfall which has shut the city down. We’re trapped, but it could be worse.

I’ve taken some measures to deal with the cyber attack. My computer has been damaged and some more will have to be done on that score. When things you don’t budget for happen at inopportune times (i.e. right before Christmas in the middle of a blizzard) it can really drag you down and sap your energy. And by “you” of course I mean “me.” You’re probably more resilient. I get headaches and need to lie very still.

I could have used to today to get some writing done and get productive. Instead I alternated between fiddling with the computer and shovelling to try to keep up with the snowfall. And, of course, there was the laying down, headachy part. When the computer is down and I can’t see clients, I’m not making money. Worries and the headaches grow in that fertile soil.

It really is an amazing storm, especially if you are looking at it from inside. The thing that I think is my van is now a pile of snow, now elegantly sculptured by the wind and almost as high as the house. I’ve knocked snow off my satellite dish five times now and each time there is just as much snow. As we shovel, the sirens keep wailing in the background. (House fires, people who ignore the warnings to stay off the roads, people who have to get to a hospital and will go by ladder truck, fat guys with heavy shovels and thick hearts etc.,…)

After the massive black out a few years ago, I started preparing for this. That black out happened during the summer and all I could think then was, what if the power outage that took out half of North America had happened during the winter?

We started scraping together emergency supplies. We have a cord of wood and a good wood stove. We’ve stocked up on batteries and the flashlights are ready. We have packaged food set aside. The kids won’t like it, but no one will starve. At some point the power will probably go out and then the challenge will be keeping the kids occupied and the fire stoked through the night, snuggling close and calling it the Adventure They Will Remember. We’re ready. Not Walking Dead ready, but reasonably prepared. We don’t have anywhere to go and we’ve cancelled everything that required face-to-face contact. Lie jail, even if you have nowhere to go, knowing you can’t go is the claustrophobia of it.

Which leaves my disappointment over the cyber attack. I worry about malware and wonder how expensive this will be for me, just so someone with no life could take over my Facebook page address. (And I’m hoping that was all they were after.) If you have the power to annoy someone with your technological expertise, why wouldn’t you go after one of those Goldman Sachs fraudsters or a North Korean dictator or Sarah Palin? Why, hacker? Why victimize a writer? (With kids? Before Christmas? In the library? With a candlestick? Up the…you get the idea.)

So tomorrow I’ll begin again. I’ll have a coffee and make some phone calls to get my computer to recognize the modem that sits beside it. Currently the machine is blind to the existence of the little machine that sits so near, no matter how many times I say, “Look! It’s right effin’ there!” And I’ll hope the power doesn’t go just as I’m finding the solution from Bangalore.

And some day, I’ll use this feeling. The particular circumstance won’t make it into my writing, but the feelings I endured will wind their way into a story. This is not to say that bad things happening does a writer a favour. We have great imaginations for that, thank you very much. But we do use what we have, whatever it is. The heart makes it to the page, all bloody and awful, to deepen our connection with our readers and their problems.

Through writing and reading, we recognize each other. “I get it,” we say. And by getting it, we mean we’ve made the human connection through our web of shared experiences, the large and small pains spread amongst the roses.

Filed under: What about Chazz?, Writers, , ,

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