It’s been a while since I last wrote- those of you who live on the East Coast (or were paying any attention to the news this past week) will understand why. Superstorm Sandy (aka Frankenstorm, or the Halloween Hag) wreaked havoc across the Eastern seaboard last week, destroying barrier islands and coastal New Jersey, as well as the Rockaway Peninsula in New York. A small community on the tip of the Rockaway peninsula, between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean was decimated by fire and flood. Breezy Point, the place where I spent most of my summers growing up was destroyed.
In the Lower Hudson Valley, which I call home these days, the old trees which draw so many tourists each fall with their transformative leaves, lost the battle between shallow roots and drenching rains and hurricane-force winds. Sandy wove her magic as she flew on her broom across half of the country, uprooting trees, wires, and lives. As our living records of time fell across roads and wires, the power started flickering off across the villages, towns, cities and counties.
Ironically, it wasn’t until after Sandy had done her worst and gone on to trouble another state that we lost our power. Waking up to find that the lights wouldn’t go on wasn’t too terrible, because I knew I could go to work where there’d be light enough and warmth enough. It was coming home to the darkness, which encroaches ever earlier these days, that hearkened back to childhood fears of creatures hiding in my closet.
We ate by lantern light, tried to keep up with the world on our cellphones, which still had some power, and then called it an early evening. I started understanding how the early settlers in the Colonies must have felt, except I had nothing with which to occupy my time, while they would have been mending or sewing or knitting or cleaning… Thankfully, I had my Kindle Fire.
Now, I know that there are die-hard physical book lovers- and when the end of the world as we know it comes, I’ll return to being one of those- but when it comes to people who are addicted to reading, like me, the Kindle/Kindle Fire is a godsend. When the lights go out, and you’re preserving battery life in your lanterns and flashlights, and are afraid to go to sleep with candles still lit… A Kindle can save you. Not only does the Kindle Fire provide a soft glow to light the deep autumn night, but it also provides words for reading.
I know that I was extremely restless when we lost our power- I felt that I should be doing something, but couldn’t. So, I read. I read voraciously. I read the entire Charlaine Harris “Shakespeare” series and truly enjoyed it. Lily Bard is such a take-charge kind of woman, even though she’s trying to remain as innocuous and unremarkable as possible. Like Sookie Stackhouse, she tends to fall into randomly dire situations, but unlike Sookie, she can really and truly fight her way out of them. She gets injured, she keeps going. And the mysteries? Well, they actually get solved. Score!
I also read Kitty’s House of Horrors, by Carrie Vaughn, one of a series I’ve been reading for a while. I like Kitty because she doesn’t hold back. As a talk-show host for a radio show about supernaturals, she will tell it like it is, and tell wannabes what it’s not. So, this time Kitty is asked to go film for a reality tv series featuring supernaturals trying to convince a sceptic that there actually are supernaturals in the world. Unfortunately, like Agatha Christie’s masterpiece, Ten Little Indians, the supernaturals start dying off. It’s rather disheartening to see so many likeable characters meet their ends, but it advances one of the story arcs, so I guess it’s not too terrible.
I also finished A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski. I don’t know where Mr. Sniegoski is getting his information on angels, but the ones in his books are definitely neither likeable nor loveable. The thing that annoys me about his main character, Remy Chandler (formerly the angel Remiel of Host Seraphim) is that he attributes emotions to them for which there is no evidence in any scripture. “Angels do not have man’s shortcomings, and can therefore act for God and represent Him when communicating with men and women. They bridge the huge gap between the holiness and perfection of God in heaven and the shortcomings of dying people on this planet” (http://www.catholic.org/saints/angel.php#definition). I don’t understand how Sniegoski’s angels can feel jealousy, rage, etc. at the human condition when they were created first and best, mature in God’s love. But I guess that’s artistic license. It just aggravates me when artistic license plays fast and loose with what centuries of scholarship have taught.
So, I must say, my Kindle Fire brought me through the blackout with a large measure of my sanity intact. I had visions of myself turning into “that crazy reading lady” who would read anything, from newspapers to cereal boxes, if the lights hadn’t turned back on.
To wrap up, I wanted to say a special thanks to Jennifer Ciotta, author of I, Putin (available on Amazon.com) for a great workshop on writing this past Monday. I truly enjoyed her frank discussion and was inspired to pick up my metaphorical pen and start writing again.
Lastly, there aren’t enough thanks in the world to express my gratitude to our men and women in the Armed Forces who have served and sacrificed so much for our country. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and write as I do, heck I probably wouldn’t even be able (or allowed) to read. So thank you for protecting our freedoms.