Home > Uncategorized > The Earthquake in Haiti; It Could Have Been Us…

The Earthquake in Haiti; It Could Have Been Us…

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I live in earthquake country. I’ve been in earthquakes, and I know the absolute terror of jolting awake at 4:00 am while the world heaves around you. It’s the worst, most confusing, most terrifying feeling in the world.

As all the horror of Haiti unfolds, I’m working on a scene for my new book that’s also a disaster: a school bus accident. It’s odd writing a disaster scene while the news is full of a large-scale, real catastrophe, but it reminds me again of why I write fiction.

For me, it’s the way I process the world along with all of its beauties and all of its terror. It’s the way I make sense of the senseless, bring order to chaotic misfortune.

This time, we get to turn off the TV or close the newspaper, and Haiti temporarily goes away.  And, anyway, when we watch or read about a disaster like this, it’s so huge it’s overwhelming.

Fiction brings it all down to the particular, however. It allows a reader (and a writer) to focus on the singular and follow that through to its consequences, intended and unintended. It’s like looking through a microscope, and what we find is sometimes alarming: heroes aren’t always good, grief doesn’t always flow in a straight line or ever go away, people make the wrong choices for the right reasons and vice versa.

As you watch and read the coverage of Haiti, please try to focus that microscope and try to imagine all the individual stories going on there right now. The mother who lost a child or husband. The person who would have been in the collapsed building, but got home late. The doctor working around the clock with no supplies. All those people could have been you. They are you.

And, finally, please donate a little something if you possibly can to an organization like The American Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders. Thanks–and stay safe.

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