I have a peculiar relationship with disasters.
On the one hand, I am riveted by them. Many people are. There's the rubbernecking aspect, the simple desire to satisfy curiosity. And there's the element of shared experience. A shared experience doesn't have to rise from bad news. It's one reason why the Olympics have lasted as long as they have. But there is an aspect of a catastrophe, natural or man made, that makes its observers part of a bigger whole.
How I differ from other people when something truly awful happens is I benefit from it. It's a small indirect benefit, but I have to acknowledge that I do. I was inspired to write Life As We Knew It from a crappy movie I watched on TV one day. It's a piece of fiction birthed from another piece of fiction. But it sold shortly after Hurricane Katrina and I'm certain that particular disaster affected how people responded to my book. LAWKI isn't an adventure book. It's about the everyday necessities of survival. Katrina wasn't an exotic disaster in some faraway country we know about only from geography. It was right here in one of our fifty states. Its people were our people.
I can't write adventure books. They're beyond my capabilities. I can only write about people I can understand in situations I can understand. Miranda and her family, Alex from the dead and the gone and his family, are our people. Only they're fictional stand-ins for real human suffering.
I had two other ideas for this blog entry, but both can wait, and it seemed wrong to write about other things. I even thought about writing an entry on Pat Robertson and his particular brand of evil. But even that seemed frivolous.
Ironically, I got a partial payment for the French rights to LAWKI and d&g in the mail yesterday. I tithed from it (something I never do) and sent the money to UNICEF. It was a very small drop in a very big bucket, but it's money that wouldn't otherwise be going to Haiti.
Here's the list from CNN of organizations that are helping out. I'm sure anything you give will be appreciated. And if you can't afford to give money, then give a helping hand to someone, anyone, today. Goodness has a ripple effect. It becomes part of a shared experience.