Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Writing Without Electricity

As a newspaper journalist, I developed the habit of always having a notepad and pen within reach. That meant keeping several pads and pens in the sedan and minivan, as well as, pads and pens in the living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathrooms. Even now, I carry a pen and two to three pocket-sized memo pads on me all the time. (My wife is tired of seeing pads everywhere, by the way.)

Enough background.

Those habits paid off this weekend, though. Hurricane Irene came at us weakly with a drizzle, but hit strongly with a wind that knocked out the electricity. Our power was restored last night. I must confess I was rather cranky. Maybe it was withdrawals. No computer. No Internet. The appropriate song for this scene would be R.E.M.'s "It's the end of the World."

 Once I got over myself, I learned a few things:
  • I have enough books in my personal library to weather several hurricanes.
  • It gets really quiet once night falls - even with a house filled with kids.
  • Reading by candlelight and flashlight is so doable.
  • I have a new stock of words and phrases to describe a darkness that just won't go away.
  • I can do research without the Internet.
  • I read longer and took three times as many notes when using a real book and handwriting my notes.
  • I pondered my sentences longer when writing by hand (this can be a mixed blessing).
  • My kids, who already read alot, with nothing else to do will keep on reading.
  • As long as I have a Blackberry, car charger and enough gas in the van, I can stay connected with my e-mail and Twitter accounts.
Just little things to note.

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