Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

I'd hoped to figure out what was keeping me from posting photos here today, but I have had no time to. Last night, we had snow, which is very unusual for October. Although annoying and inconvenient, it was a small snowfall. Tomorrow, we are supposed to get hit with a real New England, mid-winter nor'easter. Now, in mid-winter, that wouldn't be much to get excited about, either. But this is October. Many of the leaves on the trees around here are still green, and even many of the leaves that have turned have not fallen yet.

So, we are expecting at least a few inches of wet, heavy snow, which will cling to the leaves on the trees. With so much weight bearing down on them, the branches will bend, and many of them will snap. I can remember the last time we had a storm of this sort when there were leaves on the trees; it was on the 9th of May, 1977, and the power was out for days. There is, of course, no way to predict the precise outcome in advance, but that was only about an inch of snow, and it was in early May, when the leaves were still unfurling and weren't as large as they are now.

Power outages are all but certain. Experience suggests there will be more damage to the power lines than there was from Hurricane Irene, since the occasional ice storm wreaks at least as much havoc, and an early storm like this is worse than all but the most severe ice storms. The only question is how long it will take for crews to restore power, and that will depend on how many branches fall on the wires, how widespread the area of damage is, and a million other tiny details. I've spent every spare second until now frantically trying to do what I can to prepare. We didn't have anything put away for the winter, but then again, neither did the most prominent meteorologist in the area. No one was expecting anything like this. Until very recently, the weather has been almost like summer.

No matter what happens, the storm won't do as much damage to my plans for NaNo as it might have. After all, I'll be writing with fountain pens, which require no power at all. I will need light, and the days are shortening, but a candle, lantern, or flashlight will serve in a pinch. So I'll be able to start my story, even if I'm doing so while shivering in a chilly, powerless house. The more problems we have, the more distractions I'll need to battle, and I'm not suggesting all will go well, but I am not throwing in the towel.

However, my PC will not work without power. And, while we have notebook computers which work fine - as long as the charge in their battery holds up - the wireless router they connect to and the modem that serves as the router's gateway to the internet will be out of action for as long as the power stays off. Of the possible locations where I might try to get a WiFi connection in order to post here, most of them are as likely to be without power as we are, and the few that still have power will be jammed with people all trying to get hot food and drinks, connect to the internet, and so on.

In other words, I may not be posting for a few days, even a week or two. I'll be writing, as much as I can, and trying out pens and inks, taking notes, and taking pictures. But I may have no way to let you know about all this until later. Depending on how bad things are, and how much I fall behind due to distractions, even when I'm back online I doubt I'll be posting immediately. For one thing, I'll still need to type in the pages I've already written. (I suppose I could do it on one of the laptops, as long as the battery lasts, but typing in is something I usually do later, when it is dark, and it is much easier, at least for me, to write by hand in limited light than to transcribe a written page. So I doubt I'm even going to try typing any of it up until the power is restored.)

I will still post updates, when that is possible, but I can't predict how long they may be delayed. This year has already been unusually rough for us in terms of weather, and again, experience suggests there may well be lines that were weakened but not broken during the hurricane that will be that much more likely to come down now. And in the colder weather, a power outage is a much larger inconvenience than it was back in August when Irene hit us. So I apologise to my readers, and assure you that I very much hope all the predictions are wrong, and nothing happens. But if there is no new post on Tuesday, and no posts after that for a week or more, you'll know I have not given up on this project, but am busy scrawling the pages and chapters of my novel in Rhodia notebooks by whatever light I can find.

And in spite of how weary I am tonight, and frustrated at this new threat, I can't shake the sense of irony that struck me as soon as I knew we were due for such an early nor'easter. When I first proposed this project over on the Fountain Pen Network, one of the replies suggested I highlight the advantages of using fountain pens and "add a little drama" by pretending the power had failed and reminding my readers that I was using a fountain pen, so it wouldn't affect me. Much as I'd prefer to skip the drama and just write, it seems life has other plans... If, in spite of annoyances and distractions along with everything else I'm trying to do, I manage to reach 50,000 words this November, it will be a real testament to the power and utility of the fountain pen.


  1. Hope the storm misses you! Good luck. - Kenshin, FPN

  2. Having just recovered power from the storm myself (and not having had the foresight to lay in a supply of fountain pens), I understand the drama inherent in the storm aftermath. I hope your writing is going well!