|Writing by candlelight. Vampires suddenly seemed necessary to the plot.|
The irony was not lost on me. As Hurricane Sandy blew through our town, taking down trees and transformers and powerlines, we huddled at home, hoping for the best. Writing by candlelight about how people face their fears while facing my fear of the house falling down suddenly made my fear of writing my first book pale in comparison.
|Halloween after the Hurricane. Photo credit: Patty Chang Anker|
It's been surreal ever since. The cold and dark, the long lines for gas, the empty supermarket shelves. The trick or treating around police tape, the awful footage of destruction around the region that made familiar haunts seem just haunted, period. The cordoning off of downtown, reminiscent of 9/11. The election, the Nor'easter. The knowledge that so many have lost so much. Everyone I know, even those back in their homes, their offices, even on a sunny, typically fall day, feels off-kilter. Like we're walking around on unstable ground.
|I still love trees. But I'm eyeing them more warily now. Credit: Patty Chang Anker|
I held on, through the storm, to the stories of people I so admire. People who faced long-held fears, and then had the courage to share their stories with me. People who have survived so much, with their sense of humor and zest for life intact. I held on, and then I finished putting them on the page. "You could get an extension," friends said. But I didn't want to. These stories have work to do in the world. So I let them go, 120,000 words in 405 manuscript pages, to my editor at Riverhead Books, right on deadline.
I'm thankful for so many things this Thanksgiving. Family, friends, food, water, electricity, gas, a sound roof, top the list. And for all the examples of courage I've been blessed to witness and bear witness to. Wishing you all a Thanksgiving full of grace.