We’re all thinking about it and all talking about it–the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan and the truly frightening things happening at their nuclear plants. It’s been one of those dislocated weeks for me–my writing is going wonderfully, life is good, I’m happy, but underneath it all the horror and grief and wishing have been running a constant thread of tension. Jenn R. Hubbard said it beautifully here.
So this week, like so many of us, I am feeling extra grateful for the fact that I am safe, that my family and friends are safe. That I have a wonderful home and piles of books to nest with, that my son has a roomful of musical instruments and a kitchen table where he’s happy (or as happy as he can be) to spread out his homework, that my husband is strong and healthy enough to cycle 100+ miles on a Saturday, that I have both of them in my life. Here.
I am even more grateful, though, for the organizations and individuals who make it easy for me to do something. No, I haven’t jumped on a plane to Japan (yes, the thought has crossed my mind); I haven’t risked exposure to radiation or the overpowering feelings of anguish & helplessness I know I’d have to experience if I landed there. Thanks to the Red Cross, though, I was able to take a few seconds and click through to send money. I know there are hundreds and thousands of organizations out there–I feel strongly that I trust the Red Cross to take my money where it’s needed. When it’s needed.
And then…then there are the individuals. The ones who—without an already-developed infratructure–step forward and create another venue for us to help. Just from being on Facebook and Twitter the past few days, I found out about two: Authors for Japan and KidLit4Japan. My Facebook and Twitter friends lists tilt heavily into the writing profession; but I would bet just about anything that a little hunting would find me teachers for Japan, quilters for Japan, mothers, fathers, doctors, engineers, teenagers, chefs…you name it. Because people care. And people want to help. And amazing people like Greg R. Fishbone (the organizer of KitLit4Japan) take time and energy (and this isn’t a little bit of time and energy) to set these things up. To give us the means to fill out a simple form, donate a book or our own small chunk of time, and raise more money to send.
Because that money is needed.
I filled out my form for KidLit4Japan yesterday. I’ll be donating a copy of my book, The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, plus a critique of either the first chapter of a novel or a complete picture book. Check out everything at the auction, but I’ll keep you posted about when my stuff comes up, here and on Facebook and Twitter. Let me tell you—easy. Does this make me feel good? Honestly, it’s more a feeling of “If I can’t do this…,” but I’m incredibly grateful that it is something I can do. And incredibly grateful that heroes like Greg are willing to take on the bigger jobs, the ones that let us–as part of whatever tribe we belong to–make some actual kind of difference.
So, yes, Mother Nature has hit with a big one. The destruction she can wreak is, honestly, terrifying to me. But then I flip the coin and see what people can do and do do, and I have hope and some kind of strength to hang onto.