The Inspiring Tale of a Tornado (or How I Spent Saturday Afternoon)

IMG_0957I was sitting in the basement with my bike helmet on waiting for the tornado to hit. (Rich was out of town.) Now Rich and kids think this is hysterical, but I was just following the weatherman’s suggestion. It made sense to me. If debris were to fly all around the basement, perhaps this piece of hard plastic would save my brain…maybe my life. I’m very trusting.

 

My mind was crystal clear—I was thinking  ninja-sharp. After I put on my helmet, I got two afghans, a pillow, both Rich’s and my laptop, and my purse, stashing it all under Rich’s desk. Oh, before I shut down my computer, I backed up my manuscript for BURIED SECRETS onto iCloud. Brilliant. I’ve labored over that book for two years—no tornado was going to take that away from me.

 

Did I mention that I have a dreadful fear of tornadoes? When I grew up in upstate New York, we never had tornadoes, or tornado watches, or tornado warnings. My sisters (all six of them) and I all had the identical nightmare about a tornado barreling down on us across a plain. No, there were no plains where we lived in New York. Yes, as a matter of fact, we did watch The Wizard of Oz…many times. Regardless, we lived in fear of a feat of nature we had never experienced—and hoped we never would.

 

IMG_0958Moving to Michigan was all well and good until I was house-hunting, and upon opening a pantry door in a prospective house, there was this poster: “What to Do in Case of a Tornado.” What? Clearly Michigan was not for me. However, I had no choice and have lived here most of my adult life. I had only been this close to a tornado once before. Oh, twice—there was the one that came through during Rich’s surprise 50th birthday party when everyone had to run to our basement. Our messy, spider-webby basement.

 

I am no less afraid of tornadoes now than I was back in New York; ergo, I reference the second paragraph above. Look at how clearly I was thinking despite my terror. I was pretty proud of myself for being so clear-sighted. Even while wearing a bike helmet.

 

P.S. The tornadoes that came through our city did sizeable damage, but no injuries or deaths. I credit a lot of people in bike helmets for that.

 

P.P.S. This has nothing to do with writing…wait a minute—a woman crouches beneath a desk plugging her ears against the thunderous roar… Everything is grist for the mill.

 

What fear inspires you to write?

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18 thoughts on “The Inspiring Tale of a Tornado (or How I Spent Saturday Afternoon)

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Thanks, Becky. It was scary…went right by my daughter and son-in-law’s house. Yes, everything is grist for the mill, right?

  1. Susanne Matthews says:

    My greatest fear is that i do not have a bike helmet in case a tornado comes through. We never had them when I was a child, but now Ontario has weekly tornado watches. My greatest fear is fire which is probably why I write about it so often–and then there are snakes, bats, rats, zombies…

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      How interesting that Ontario never used to have tornadoes either, Susanne. Yes, and I write about mice, spiders and basements LOL

  2. Great blog. I grew up in California, so most people there were afraid of earthquakes, but not me, as a child I had nightmares about the train that went past our place twice a day coming off the tracks and chasing me up our long driveway. Thank goodness it never did. 🙂

  3. Kathleen Shaputis says:

    What an interesting question – what fear inspires you to write? Fear. Such a powerful, small word. I have phobias of both fire and water, which one of my teenage grandsons finds incredible, thinking if I were on fire, I wouldn’t jump into a pool to put it out for fear of drowning. Yes, he’s inherited my extreme imagination, creating fictional scenarios constantly.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Sounds like there’s another writer in your family, Kathleen. I have a fear of heights, too. I always used to dream I was falling and jerk awake. Maybe in writing about them, we can try to conquer them?

      • Kathleen Shaputis says:

        Isaiah Sr. has written some great stuff being a teenager. His main love is rap, though, so short and intense is his thing. Gramma does novels.

        • Elizabeth Meyette says:

          As I emerged bleary-eyed from editing all day, I asked my husband, “Why do I write such long books? If I wrote short stories, I’d be done editing by now.” Isaiah is a wise man LOL

  4. Great post, Betty. I’m glad you’re okay. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, it’s earthquakes and tsunamis for us Left Coasters. When I beachcomb the Pacific, I am well aware that if the “Big One” hits off shore, it’s toast for me (wet toast, that is, ’cause the tsunami will be massive). There’s little hope for survival in beach towns with no nearby hills. Run for your life won’t work. There is a popular saying here— if the Big One happens, just bend over and kiss your arse goodbye. Not really comforting, is it? While beachcombing, I tell myself, “Not today, not today. Enjoy the moment.” And, in reality, that’s all any of us can do wherever we live.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      I’ve always wanted to live on the West Coast because it’s so beautiful and warm, but the threat – and reality of earthquakes – takes a lot of courage to live with. I love your attitude, Deborah, and I hope you never have to face the Big One.

  5. I grew up in the Midwest and terrified of hurricanes and earthquakes, but tornadoes seemed too hit and miss to cause me nightmares, even after being through a few that caused damage near me. My kids spent their early years on the East Coast. To them, hurricanes are boring but tornadoes are exotic and worthy of panic. We fear what we don’t know.

    My current WIP features a hurricane.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Isn’t it amazing what we can adapt to, Lola? A hurricane would freak me out just as much as a tornado. Yes, we fear what we don’t know.

  6. I often used to have nightmares where the lions got out of the zoo and they were surrounding my house trying to get to me!!

    As for fears, I guess my biggest one is any kind of disaster. I was staying at my friends when there were 5 earthquakes that night (jolts 4.6, 4.6, 3.4, 4. 3.6). So I’d say earthquakes. I find I can’t really watch disaster movies or even the news as it seems like only bad news is reported.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      I can’t imagine how scary it must have been to experience an earthquake, Rowena! No wonder you don’t like disaster movies!

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Catherine, I’ve also just learned that I should put on tennis shoes (aka sneakers) because you don’t want to walk on barefeet or in flip flops over rubble. #moretoworryabout

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