Skip to main content

How Beautiful to Be Immersed in a Good, Clean Flood

For the past year or two, much of my stress has been caused by human cruelty and weakness. At work and in the news and sometimes in life, I'm witnessing more overt forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, and gun violence. And then, in response to any efforts at reducing such cruelty, there's a fact-resistant, compassion-resistant, intelligence-resistant backlash justified by the same cannibalistic attitude of victim-blaming: "You must have deserved it, you fill-in-the-slur."

While no one dares to visit such cruelty upon me personally, probably because my ass kicking reputation rivals that of Chuck Norris (among my other #blessed privileges), it makes me sick to watch people I know on social media either: a) turn into Russian zombie bot trolls hell-bent on destroying life for anyone who isn't a rich white dudebro in a fact-resistant helmet, or b) unplug completely. It wouldn't be so bad if the trolling were all about hypotheticals and ideas not affecting the RL, or if I could just stay offline, but I'm on here checking daily on my first grade child's school district to find out if there's a Code Red drill (three times a year minimum now) or a lockdown or an evacuation due to a copycat violent threat made immediately after the most recent news story about a mass murder.

At times like this, a natural disaster can be refreshing to the soul.

My metropolitan area is underwater right now! Yeehaw!

We are under a State of Emergency. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes. The abruptly changing temperatures, rapid snowmelt, and rushing waters have smashed up Michigan's already-terrible roads with epic potholes, rendering many of them impassable, even those that are not covered. Military helicopters are blattering low in the sky, surveying the washed-out landscape. Lots of people I know have had their cars, homes, land, and possessions damaged or ruined. The biggest liquor store in town is submerged almost to the ceiling. The zoo is surrounded by a deep moat which is being enjoyed by the moose. The drained wetlands to the east have risen from their earthly suppression to reclaim wealthy suburbanites' neighborhoods.

It is so exhilarating!

Now, I'm not pleased about the harm this flood is doing to undeserving civilians. I would never wish these things upon anyone (*cough* out loud), and in fact I do whatever tiny things I can to resist the climate change that increases these disasters and the economic and racial injustices that push people into living in dangerous zones.

But also, for reasons I can neither choose nor fully explain, it feels cleansing to have my attention diverted from problems caused by regular a**holes to problems caused by Acts of God. I feel more prepared to respond to this kind of disaster. Although this bank-busting of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers is the largest in our lifetimes, my husband and I have planned our lives around the possibility of weather-related disasters. (Maybe it's a Michigan thing?) We purchased a house on high ground with a walk-out basement that literally cannot flood beyond the floor getting wet. It's a rugged and sturdy home that can function without utility connections for a good, long time (as we found out the hard way during The 2013 Ice Storm that left us without power during record-breaking low temperatures for two weeks over the holidays). Our house ain't fancy, but it can sure pull a plow. Or something.

We don't believe in the zombie apocalypse (except the digital kind happening now), but we do believe in climate change, so we prep accordingly--not by hoarding (sorry, hoarders whose crap is underwater today) but by designing a more resilient and less needy life.

If you are impacted by this flood, please visit for updates on road closures, evacuations, and resources.

I must admit that I am finding nature's wrath to be inspiring to my creative writing, and I've been humming classic Bjork this whole time. State of emergency, how beautiful to be...


Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

I Have Created Something!

I have completed (and rewritten and revised and revised again and edited) an epic historical dark thriller. I have written a subversive Parsival tale in contemporary style, narrated by a a teenage orphan girl of unknown heritage, raised by a hermit of unknown origin, with no particular religion, certain race, or coherent social class, a girl who seeks identity and meaning along her adventures with assorted outcasts, misfits, criminals, and trailblazers. It's a queer, multicultural, interracial, boundary-blurring brick of densely woven subplots and big themes glued together with tears and profanity and bestial love. In other words, I have produced the kind of Byzantine journey saga that only the Millennial alumnus of an urban American public school with both gang violence and a celebrated AP program could have written.

I have no idea whether this work can be packaged and sold as a consumer product (though I sure hope it can), but in this moment, I am riding that high that comes afte…

The Golden Moments

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. -George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) 

The only time this is not generally true for me is in the fall. This is the golden moment when I feel most alive, aware, and present with everyone and everything around me. This is when my daughter and I begin most days with a walk in the golden hour of the morning, in this most golden season of the year.

It's also that magical time when my little golden child is still excited about school, from our morning walks to seeing her friends at recess to the Scholastic Book Fair to riding the bus home with more friends. She has already earned another "Golden Warrior of the Week" award (for exceptionally helpful behavior) and received an excellent, glowing report at the first parent-teacher conference of the year.

I've extended my "fallow period" from working on my novel, and I'…

My Alpha

It turns out my husband is a fantastic alpha reader. Who knew? We've been married for 13 years and have known each other for 21. And last weekend was the first time I ever had him alpha read for me. Turns out he's the best creative partner I could ever hope for and that he still has the ability to surprise me with hidden talents and acts of love.

My husband is not really a fiction reader. He probably hasn't read a novel since high school AP lit class. It's not that he doesn't love a good story, it's that he doesn't like sitting still long enough to read a book or watch a movie. He's a very active and extroverted man, and he'd rather have a conversation or a real-life adventure than read a book. He's kind of like Gaston if Gaston weren't an asshole.

So until now, I haven't wanted to bother him with requests to read my writing, because reading novels isn't his jam, and also because I've always harbored guilt at how much time I spen…

In a World of Calvins, Be a Hobbes!

My favorite season is here, and I'm taking a short break from working on my book to bask in the joys of fall. Beautiful autumn days are too precious to waste! I'm renewing my vow to be a Hobbes as part of my 2019 mantra to Be Bestial.

I'm taking author Kate Angus's advice to give myself a fallow period, even if it's short. For the next week or so, it's going to be stormy outside, which is both detrimental to outdoor activities and kind of exciting and inspirational, so I'll be back at my writing desk. If all goes well, I will soon be working on my agent submission documents!