Friday, December 2, 2011

Blowing in the Wind

The Santa Ana winds are blowing through Southern California with a vengeance. The newscaster said these are the worst winds we’ve had in a decade. But then the news people always try to make things sound as bad as possible.

Some people call them the devil winds. They come from inland and the air they blow is so dry it makes your skin itch. Not only that, but they stir up the bad kind of ions. It’s easy to feel edgy and in a bad mood.

I had them blowing in the beginning of an old manuscript to set a creep tone. My character walked out into a parking lot at night as the dry wind whipped around scraping the palm fronds scrap together so they made an eerie sound. She walked right into a mugging and despite her heels and celery green suit with a pencil skirt, plowed into the middle of it. Of course, she saved the day – and ruined her clothes. BTW, this character, Casey Feldstein, ditched that manuscript and jumped over to my new series.

There is a real reason to feel edgy when these winds blow. A careless spark can lead to an unstoppable wildfire in the mountains.

As I’m writing this, a wind gust whined through my window. The lime tree is bending and shaking for dear life and dropping it’s old fruit.

The sky looks different. There is only a hint of clouds, but the blue is watered down and it’s as though all the dust in the air has put a filter over the sun.

Outside the streets are littered with fallen trees. Palm fronds have bombarded our roof all afternoon. I have cabin fever from being inside all day.

A memory connected with these winds surfaces. My son was small and carryable. We were going through a shopping center parking lot, when all of a sudden the giant sign above the grocery store in front of us began to break apart and huge pieces flew off into the air. Where were they going to land? Where was the safe place to walk to get away from them? I remember bending forward to shield my son and trying to get to a covered area, as the pieces of sign landed around us. Miraculously they all missed hitting us.

Maybe the memory of that is why I don’t feel like going outside today.

Have you ever had weather related scares?

December 6, I am going to be interviewed by Zontee Hou on the Lions Brand podcast.


Planner said...

I hadn't thought about it in quite a long time, but I do remember a wind-related scare. I was in the produce section of a grocery store on a very windy night. Large glass windows lined the wall. After a very audible huge gust of wind, one of the windows blew in the store not far from where I was--glass everywhere. I was the closest to the window, but my moccasin-clad feet never moved so fast in my life! Fortunately, no one was hurt. It was hard to keep my mind on shopping after that.

Congratulations on the interview--I love the Lion Brand Yarncraft podcast. Can't wait to hear it!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Yesterday, there were two cars buried beneath limbs of a fallen tree on the street behind ours, but we survived with lots of twigs and leaves on the ground and just a short outage of our Internet connection. I was serenaded most of yesterday afternoon by the sound of power saws, but it's quiet today.

Monica Ferris said...

The year I was thirteen we lived in New York State, way out in the country, not far from Albany. There was a huge blizzard accompanied by such strong winds that they blew up a drift higher than the roof over our back porch. The whole area was isolated for weeks. Helicopters flew over and if we needed food for ourselves or for animals, or fuel, we were to go out and stamp an X or a circle or a square in the snow. My father traveled for his company, so we had stocked up the weekend before and so had all we needed.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, a window blowing in sounds scary. Glad the glass didn't get you.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, it sounds like it was worse where you are. Our yard wasn't even too bad.

Betty Hechtman said...

Monica, what a story!

Terri Thayer said...

Yikes, these wind stories are scary. Glad you're all okay!

Susan E. Pattishall said...

I am also a writer of sorts. I wrote "Witchgate"; Trafford, 2001. It is only self-published, but in it I described my experience of near drowning. That night, the wind was so fierce I was blown off course running home along the surf and into the water. The waves snatched me out to sea. I thought I was going to die. After thrashing toward shore, I couldn't just go through the breakers and it was so impossible, I don't know what happened next. I stood up and miraculously walked through. I thought I had seen Coriolis force. Now I think that was how fierce it was; it needed an important name, but I was at least part right.

Currently, I am reading "Alpha Wolf". I think it is incredible. I am on the Chesapeake Bay, Delmarva Penisula; I have studied Veterinary Science (I was closer to a BFA Graphic Design I am getting this year, 2012); and I have volunteered at WRAMC. Eerie as heck. Do you think werewolves live here, Linda? Be honest, ha-ha.

I thought we had things in common, so I wondered whether you had a blog. Yup, here you are. Thanks for Alpha Wolf. (I think).

Linda O. Johnston said...

I don't always tell where I get my ideas, Susan, so I won't say whether I think there are werewolves near the Chesapeake. Glad you're enjoying Alpha Wolf. My blogging day here is Wednesday, and I hope to see you then!

Anonymous said...

My response: Aw, you bunch of sissies! I live in Palm Springs next to a wind farm - a WIND FARM! We have hurricane gusts for breakfast. As far as
having weather related scenes in books and films, did you know there is a technical name for it? It's called the "pathetic fallacy". It's used when you have rain at funeral, lightning during a scene of great conflict - that
sort of thing. Nevertheless, pathetic though it may be, I still use it all the time in my books and films. It still works.

Monica Ferris said...

I don't think you have "pathetic fallacy" quite right in your comment, bradgeagley. The fallacy is when you write of a huge storm or stroke of lightning as if it is aware of your situation. The white rose weeps because your lover is missing, the lightning punctuates a revealing remark.

Monica Ferris said...

I don't think you have "pathetic fallacy" quite right in your comment, bradgeagley. The fallacy is when you write of a huge storm or stroke of lightning as if it is aware of your situation. The white rose weeps because your lover is missing, the lightning punctuates a revealing remark.