We are now at the peak of hurricane season, as evidenced by Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike...
I appreciated the 4 or 5 inches of rain that Hanna sent Raleigh's way a few weeks ago. But, we all know that with the bigger storms, manuscripts that are lying around the house can be damaged. Water and paper are not exactly friends. Therefore, we writer's must be prepared! And so, I suggest this Hurricane Preparedness List:
Prior to any hurricane -- once the children, spouse, pets, and family photos have been wisely ferried to appropriate, steel-lined, cement buildings (preferably somewhere in Central Canada...or perhaps Kansas), gather these supplies:
Preparedness Packet for Writers:
1.) Large Inner Tube (with something in the middle to cover up the hole. I leave this to your own creativity).
2.) Large plastic trash bag (super hefty -- all the following items will go inside of it...)
3.) The key (to your bank lock-box in Kansas, or Central Canada, where you have already wisely stowed both digital and printed copies of all of your manuscripts in their most current possible state.) Note* If you have not done this and a hurricane is on your doorstep, email the manuscripts to the most responsible person you know who lives in Kansas or Central Canada, my friend, and hope that they recieve them and can save them to disk for you before a tornado comes through and knocks out their power. Yes, silly, DO IT RIGHT NOW!
4.) Your laptop (batteries fully charged, so that you will have at least 2.5 hours worth of writing that you can get done while you are waiting for the power to come back on at your inlaw's house -- or worst case scenario -- at the nearest shelter.)
5.) Six of the YA or children's books you've been most wanting to read. (Yes, go to the library to get these the day before the hurricane arrives. Libraries tend to close during hurricanes and you don't want to be without them!) You'll be a hero at the shelter, reading to all of those kids! And you'll be able to count the hours as "work time" when you file your taxes, because a writer MUST read other samples in their genre, afterall!
6.) A print- out of the most recent copy of your current work, in a 3-ring binder, triple-wrapped in plastic, with a pack of pens and a highlighter tightly attached. This will be invaluable for getting some revising done during all of the down-time you might experience if the governor announces: "We know you are anxious to get back to your homes, but PLEASE wait until we get the drinking water cleaned up, and the power back on -- we expect that this will take about a week..."
7.) Lantern-style Flashlight with extra batteries. You want to be able to SEE your manuscript, no matter where you are. So it's important to think of these details.
8.) Cell phone. Fully charged. If that editor from New York (where there is no hurricane, most likely,) calls to ask you to write a personal memoir on this current (actual) life crisis, do you want to miss that call? I THINK NOT!
9.) Rope. To attach all of this stuff to the inner tube, of course, silly! Make sure that everything's well encased in the plastic bag and secured to the tube before you head out of your front door with it. But also make sure that the bag has no air pockets causing it to stick UP in places. You don't want to increase the aerodynamic-potential of the tube, for God's sake! It will be windy out there, and this is a tricky endeaver.
10.) Second to last, but not least. Drug of Choice - chocolate, caffeinated beverage, herbal tea -- whatever most brings your muse to life. I recommend at least 3 days' worth. But remember, this has all got to fit on your inner tube, (looking, I suspect something like Yertle on top of his precarious stack of turtles.) So pack wisely. Twelve 40-oz cokes may be a bad idea in this case. They are heavy. Then again, those might keep the inner tube from lifting off, so, hmmm...
11.) Sense of humor. Without that, we'd all be lost. Best of luck to those drying their pens after Ike and Gustav.
May our writing continue -- whatever the weather.