Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ice Storms

I’m sitting here on the third day of ice storms in Austin, TX. Now ice storms are no fun anywhere. One of the worst winters in New Jersey was the year we had ice storms every week for a month. Our poor collie didn’t want to go outside because the backyard sloped downhill and once down to where he could do what he needed to do, it was very hard for him to get back up the ice to come inside.

In Austin, however, the situation is worse. Houses aren’t designed the same way as in the northeast and many of the highways have overpasses that freeze over quickly in cold weather. Nor do cities here stockpile the quantities of salt that northern cities do.

I’m impressed with how few accidents there have been given the conditions and pleased that people are sensibly staying home. I’m not even walking to the end of the block to where the mailboxes are to check my mail until the ice melts off the sidewalks and streets so I can get there and back without falling!

The good thing is that there’s lots of time to write since I have no where to go and nothing else that must be done. I stocked up at the grocery store in advance and even got fresh batteries for the flashlight—which so far I haven’t needed.

I find myself spinning stories in my head about how different people might handle situations like this. As I say in my workshops, it isn’t the circumstances of a person’s life that matters nearly so much as what they do with those circumstances. And how a person (or character in a novel) acts and reacts tells a great deal about their personality.

This has been a strange winter all across the country. I hope everyone everywhere is keeping safe and warm and that all you writers are finding time and ways to write.