If you live in or near Pennsylvania or you have been watching the news lately, you know that there is widespread flooding in my state. Although this blog is primarily a writing blog, I cannot pass over the seriousness of what some Pennsylvanians are facing right now. First we had a very rainy August. In Philadelphia it was said to be the rainiest August in history. Then we got hit with Hurricane Irene. I can't speak for the rest of the state but in Philadelphia we had at least 12 hours of sustained, heavy rain. The kind that comes down in sheets. Add that to the rainiest August on record and you've got an awful lot of flooding. Then a week later we get 3 to 4 days of moderate to heavy rain. Nonstop. It was all rain all the time over here. A few blocks from my house the Schuylkill River flooded areas of my neighborhood.
Out toward Central Pennsylvania the town I went to high school in is under water. The town I went to college in and lived for many years--also under water. It is so bad that the National Guard and FEMA are there. There is a town I worked in for many years north of there and almost all of my coworkers lived in the next town over from there. That is under water. Peoples' homes are literally floating away. FLOATING AWAY. I watch news footage and see internet photos of places I used to hang out, places where I lived and worked, places I loved and they have been destroyed by flooding. Towns and cities were evacuated last week. I still have many friends and acquaintances who live in these areas. As far as I know, everyone is accounted for and safe. I can only hope that all of their homes will be intact when the water recedes and the mess has been cleaned up. Many of them are without power now and, ironically, without water. There is a monument in Bloomsburg that marks the height of all the floods in town history—the highest one in recent memory was made in 1972. That monument was completely submerged during this recent flooding. There wasn’t even room on it for the new flood line. The old high water marks were surpassed by feet, not inches.
Although none of this affects me directly, it still hits home. These places WERE my home for many years. Even though I moved away, I’ve always had great affection for these towns and for the people I know who still live there. What I see on the news and on the internet is heartbreaking. How does any of this relate even remotely to my writing? Before all this devastation hit, I had hit a major wall with my WIP. I’m almost finished with the first draft, or at least the first stage of the first draft. In fact, I know how it ends. I just don’t know how to get from here to there. It was making me nuts. Still is a little. I hadn’t written in a week or two—I was feeling frustrated and discouraged. Majorly uninspired. But I figured I’d give myself some time, put it on the backburner and let my subconscious work through the problems. Then I’d come back to it and try to power through. And I probably would have but now all I do in my spare time is look at flood photos of the places I used to live. I’m absolutely horrified. That pesky leaking skylight that’s been confounding us for a month—I stand under it now and send up prayers of thanks. My home, my street, my neighborhood, my city are all still intact. A leaky skylight doesn’t even register as a mild annoyance compared to what people in my old towns are facing. I am grateful for that leaky skylight.
So I ask you two things: one, please send prayers or at least some good thoughts to Pennsylvanians devastated by the recent flooding and, two, what do you do when you’re stuck at some stage of a Work in Progress? All tips will be greatly appreciated!