No One Told Me How to Write
A Workshop at Wizard Academy
Victory Over Nature
by Stephen Alport, Canadian Financial Investor
I haven’t seen or heard a thing from outside the Academy for 24 hours. Make it 48 if you include the travel day lost in multi-airport hell.
We’ve been out. We enjoyed food, wine and intoxicating company. Now they want me to write something for the morning class. All I want is a pillow and some soft sheets.
Here I am at Tuscan Fountain; water splashing, bugs nipping and those Damned cicadas. A screech that pierces the night air. What was it I was supposed to write about? Oh yeah, some hurricane down in Florida. Was it…Donna, Debbie?…why does it always seem to be a woman? Focus Steve! Put something down and go get some sleep. Damn it I wish I could focus. But the bugs won’t stop. I can’t hear myself think over the waterfall and those damned cicadas. Every time my mind tries to focus on the Hurricane, the distractions wash over me like a full-on military attack.
I struggle in vain. As I grow more tired it gets harder to focus. Must rest. Must regain composure. Must ……
I awake, and as my eyes open it seems different. It’s changed. The military’s gone and been replaced by a night orchestra: the cool quiet sound of the water dribbling over carefully constructed rocks. It’s softer now, soothing, contemplative. The bugs are gone and the Cicadas are singing now, a different key completely. It’s nice.
I drink it in. My mind slowly wanders to Florida. I summon Google.
450 miles of Florida coastline have been devastated by Debbie. She, like others before her has wreaked havoc on the area. Roads ruined, water systems polluted, power systems’ unwillingly decommissioned. And the homes of too, too many people will have to be rebuilt. The storm spawned a series of Tornadoes, one causing the death of a woman trapped as the violent twister ravaged her home. She was the mother of a young child. The child survived but is now motherless, with the knowledge that her mother died saving her life. God bless her!
Sadly, it’s not an unusual story. Nature has a way of humbling us but also bringing us together. In time, the story will turn to the incredible will and generosity of the people in Florida. They rebuild. But it could be Grand Forks, New York or anywhere else in the world. We like to think our community is unique as it comes together in times of need, but the fact is it happens everywhere. It’s the Yin to natures Yang. It’s a very human trait. One of our better ones.
Out of that death and destruction will come something even mightier than nature’s wrath: a rejuvenation of people’s belief in each other, a stronger, more vibrant community. In an increasingly complex, insular world, feeling that bond is probably more important now than ever.