Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for February, 2010

Tsunami Day

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

When I was ten years old and living in Waikiki, my school teacher showed us a film about a tsunami in Japan. I don’t remember any details–it might even have been animation–I just remember the lasting terror that film instilled in me. It felt personal, because my Dad was in the process of moving us to the north shore of Oahu, where we would be living in a beach house set back about 12 feet from the sand. It didn’t take much imagination to think that we might all be crushed and swept out to sea–and indeed there were some terrifying moments living in that house, when the surf turned gigantic, running through the yard and throwing spray on the windows–but thankfully the tsunami never showed up.

The danger is real though. Hawaii has suffered severe tsunami events in the past, and statistically we are way overdue for another.

So when a friend called at 6am on Saturday morning to make sure we knew a tsunami warning had been posted, it wasn’t exactly a shock. My husband already knew about it, but I had gone to sleep before the Chilean earthquake. Our own home wasn’t in any danger since we live way up the side of a mountain, but if Maui’s harbor was damaged there would soon be a shortage of supplies and gasoline on our very non-self-sufficient island, and if the power plant was damaged, who knows how long we would have to go without electricity?

So we joined the lines of people at the gas station, made a quick run to the grocery store (rice & spam are golden in our culture if a shortage is expected), and finished our circuit at the ATM machine.

Then it was home to watch the TV and Twitter coverage.

As you probably know, the actual event was anti-climatic, and for that we are very grateful. We know it won’t always be this way–and our hearts go out to the people of Chile, who have suffered so many terrible earthquakes in the past.

Techniques for Avoiding Writing #1

Friday, February 26th, 2010

There are all sorts of ways–many of them sounding almost legitimate–to persuade yourself not to sit down and spend time actually writing. For example, yesterday I was up early as usual. I had finished my compulsive reading on the Internet and, feeling virtuous, I booted up the laptop fully intending to dive right into the novel. But then it occurred to me that my husband would show up for coffee and breakfast at any moment and then I would be distracted . . . so there was really no point in getting started on writing just yet. I figured I might as well spend the next half hour working on one of the websites . . . and then of course that half-hour turned into the entire day and I never did open up the writing file.

So technique #1: Let yourself be distracted by legitimate, alternate work!

Spring Asserts Herself

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Okay, okay, winter in Hawaii isn’t much compared to most of the mainland, but where we live at 3400’ it gets cool enough that we have a distinct winter that most of the garden recognizes . . . but so far as the plants are concerned winter doesn’t last long.

The freesias have decided it's spring.

Years ago we were given a handful of freesia bulbs. Over time they’ve naturalized and multiplied, but they persist in surprising me every year with their sudden appearance in February – and sometimes earlier. These are just the early bloomers. There will be a lot more to come.


Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

My work time lately has been divided between three major projects, the most neglected being the novel. But in the past few days I’ve returned to working on it and have managed some decent progress. Today’s efforts resulted in only a bit of forward momentum because I needed to backtrack (yet again) and lay in some foreshadowing and explanation of a smallish plot point. Hopefully the incident will now be clear to the reader.

It’s really a challenge sometimes to figure out what the reader knows at any given point, as compared to what the writer knows. I’ve got so much extra plot knowledge rattling around inside my head that I have to make an effort to remember that the reader is naturally going to be less informed and things have to be explained on occasion, and clarified. But today’s effort has produced good results, and once again I am poised to move onward.