Jennifer's Journal


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

September Newsletter

Hello all:

Here we are, with Hurricane Gustav swirling in on the coast below us as I write on this Labor Day morning.  Our place in northern Louisiana is some 275 highway miles from New Orleans, maybe 200 as the crow flies.  With this distance, we feel little effect as yet.  Wind is whispering through the trees, and we've had a small shower or two; the light looks strange--greenish, oddly refractive with the extra humidity.  Earlier this morning, there were bands of clouds to the south, but they have dissipated for now.  We don't really expect hurricane winds this far away from the eye wall.  What we are looking for is the heavy rain that's been predicted, also the chance of tornadoes spawned by the storm.  Instead of firing up my grill to cook out for the holiday, I'm covering it and pushing it into shelter.

            Living on a lake, you might think we would worry about flooding.  There are floodgates at the lake's dam, however, and opening these controls the water level, allowing any excess to flow into local creeks and rivers.  We've never had a problem, don't expect one since our house sits on a nice rise above the water.  Barring tornado damage and a power outage caused by fallen trees, we should be okay.  Regardless, our parish (county) has declared a state of emergency—since other people may not be so lucky.  There are flood-prone areas in the nearest towns.

            Not far from where we live is U.S. Hwy 167, one of three major north-south arteries that run through the state.  Yesterday it was bumper to bumper with people leaving New Orleans and the coastline.  A lot of the traffic was RVs of one kind or another—one guy was pulling his FEMA trailer.  The local state park is full, as are nearby RV parks and campgrounds.  You have to wonder how many of these people are coming to our backwater because they discovered it three years ago, during Katrina.

            Meanwhile, writer friends and acquaintances from New Orleans have scattered in every direction.  They keep up with each other through the email loops and by way of members who are in other parts of the country.  It's a grand thing, the community writers make with each other, with their concern reaching far past the creative endeavor they have in common.  Heather Graham's conference was supposed to be this weekend in New Orleans.  She carried gamely on with it as planned, in spite of the looming hurricane.  That was until Saturday morning.  At that time, mandatory evacuations began, and the Hotel Monteleone told attendees that they would have to leave.  I wonder about those who flew in, if they were able to change their flights and get out, get home.  I suppose they must have since the last flight left New Orleans yesterday afternoon.

            So now we wait.  As the outer bands of storms reach us, I'll be shutting down my computer and unplugging it for fear of lightning strikes.  Oh, yes, I have an APS to guard against that, but I don't trust it.  Must preserve my "baby", the new book—it being a fair amount of trouble to retrieve it from backup.  And yes, I've been at work on it at a slow and steady pace to this point, layering in color and emotion along with the story setup in Chapter 1.  The working title is TASTE THE JOY, but who knows what it will be when I'm done.

            That's it from here then, on this Labor Day, the first day of September, 2008.  I think it will be one we'll remember.  I hope yours is memorable, too – though not for the same reason!  Have a good one.


Warmest wishes,



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