Monday, August 22, 2011

What the *!@% Was THAT?

So FIRST, two announcements...

I am ALSO at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash today talking about the endless peaks and tiny ebbs that we need to navigate to make it in this publishing business.

Second, We have a WINNER of the “I am an Adept of the Magic Arts' t-shirt!!! From the names of people who entered, I put them in order then used a random number generator to pick ONE... Congratulations, Jan! Jan Morrison was the lucky person in that just right spot!  Jan, I will email you with Denise's contact info.


Okay, now onto the BLOG for today...

So on Saturday my daughter called me. She and her boyfriend had taken my son to the mall, as their fabulous nana had sent them a little money and so they had a couple school clothes things to look for. I had no money to contribute and an abiding loathing of the mall, so off they went... She CALLED when they ran out of gas. Oops.

I promised to come with gas, ran to the garage and stared for a good three minutes at our electric lawn mower plugged right where it always is. How had I forgotten we don't NEED gas? Not to fear though. We haven't reached the scary part of this story yet. I went next door and asked my FABULOUS neighbor if SHE had a gas can. She did and gave it to me... I got a little gas and rescued the childings, and then returned the gas can.

When I let her know I'd put the can back, I then went in for a cocktail. I might tell you we don't have cocktails often, but that would make me a big far liar... I really enjoy having a cocktail with my neighbor—she's good company.

Ours wasn't this big, but same colors: Transformer explosion
When I arrived it had been raining just a little, but mid-cocktail it began to pour... there was some thunder.. some wind... and then there was a HUGE CRACK (and we aren't talking plumber's butt)... it was really loud and followed almost immediately by a huge flash of light—bright orange neon... maybe a little pink and a little white to it. It was spooky. We ran to the window to see what it was, but there was no sign. Thankfully the house across the street looked fine. Whatever it was looked too low to have been the treetops and nothing was on fire or smoking. But it was also darkish (stormy skies doing what they do). I had to wait out the storm, so Fabulous Neighbor and I theorized for another twenty minutes what that might have been.

My theories most often had aliens or supernatural phenomena in them, of course... that making for the most interesting story. But we just couldn't come up with anything that made realistic sense.


I really like how a mystery hangs a little... it is fun to have so much possibility.

When HWMNBMOTI got home from work it was still fairly light (he worked an 8-8) so we wandered that way. He pointed out a dead tree, but it wasn't blackened and I thought it had been there before. No answers...

Ours was an oak, and long dead, but this much branch
The houses across the street though, were without power—we confirmed it as dark arrived. No streetlights on that side. No houselights. Our side of the street was fine. That's been the case before—we've known we were on a different part of the grid. Sometimes we're the ones with no power.

The confirmation I wasn't crazy about having seen something was nice. Not that fabulous neighbor and I very often have joint hallucinations, but I suppose it was possible.

Then, when I was in my tub, HWMNBMOTI came in and reported... we have an older neighbor across the street who got home when he was outside. He went and helped her get in—check on things, find flashlight and all that that can be hard in the dark.. and we got our answer... across her back yard was a very large branch—a third of the tree, really... the dead one... It had fallen, probably in the wind, and hit a power line on the way down.

It was more fun when I didn't know.


So are there writing lessons here? I think so... the best is that moment of unknowing is the most engaging... when several things are possible. Just watching it, if I'd known everything, would have been a WHOA moment, but that would have been that. We need to remember to keep a little mystery and engage our readers' imaginations.

21 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh poor tree!! Awww glad you are all safe! Phew!!

I'm being not so NAKED by saying, in such situations, I'd much rather know exactly what that flashy light and explosion was asap! So I could suitably panic! LOL!!

Oh but cocktails may help too! :-) Take care
x

Christine Murray said...

I'm like that, I love mystery, conspiracy theories and the unknown. I'm frequently disappointed with logical explanations, illogical is so much more fun.

Good point on keeping it in mind when writing though, I never made that connection.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We had a nearby transformer blow recently - sounded like a bomb went off.

lynnrush said...

Nicely said. And wow on the transformer pictures. Jeepers!!

Siv Maria said...

I would give anything for a great storm now :)

Jan Morrison said...

Wow! I thought, in fact I was positive, that you were going to say that lightening had hit the gas can which just had a bit of gas left in it. Hah! I love stormy storms.
THANKS FOR THE T-SHIRT! As it happens, I am an adept of the Magic Arts - so I won't be lying when I wear it!

L.G.Smith said...

So true! The best part of not knowing is letting the imagination go a little crazy. Job well done, if you can get your reader to do it. :)

Jessica Bell said...

"and then there was a HUGE CRACK (and we aren't talking plumber's butt)" LOLOLOLOL. I can always trust you to make me smile! :o)

And how do you always manage to relate everything back to writing? Genius you are :o)

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-see, I always try to figure it out... but I am disappointed when I actually KNOW because I love the trying to figure it out...

Christine-Yay for illogical! And I hadn't really thought about this intentionally in writing, either, until this...

Alex-I am having a hard time knowing which noises were what, though I think the biggest part was the tree breaking.

Lynn-this pic is, I was told, from Florida, but it was the only one i could find with the PINK I saw.

Siv-Oh, you should spend a summer in Michigan... storms storms storms... we've had a LOT of them.

Jan-Ack! That would have been bad, as the gas can was back in my neighbor's garage... Glad you're excited about the t-shirt!

LG-I think there must be a trick to engaging the reader like that, but definitely letting something big be unexplained helps...

Creepy Query Girl said...

wow! Are you sure it wasn't struck by lightening?

Hart Johnson said...

jessica-you snuck in there! teehee-- As for relating back to writing... I actually enjoy the stretch... 'how can this apply?'--I feel like it helps me learn to try to relate stuff back to writing. If it engaged me in life, there's gotta be a lesson, eh?

Hart Johnson said...

Katie-pretty sure. I've seen trees struck by lightning and usually they have a black place where it hit.

SP Sipal said...

Great storytelling! But I'm glad you're all safe. You and I are on like minds this morning. I was just writing a post about how keeping the mystery alive keeps the reader pinned to the page. :-)

Adina West said...

We had storm and wind and the full bit the other day, and our BBQ went sailing off the verandah onto the brick pavers. I must be very boring, because I was actually relieved to find out this was what had caused the giant crash - and not a huge branch on our roof! (It was a big crash. Fear inducingly big)

The poor old BBQ is completely cactus though unfortunately...

Tina said...

Wow. I love great, big displays of power (and I'm not just talking electricity) (stole the idea for that sentence from you ~ it's not just for butt-cracks anymore ;-) Glad your elderly neighbor is OK. Love the cocktail with other neighbor tradition you have. I have one, too. My dear friend across the street runs a daycare from her home, and we'll often meet outside for a glass of wine before we each have to go make dinner.
Your point about the excitement of a good mystery so resonates with me. Thanks for the reminder.
Tina @ Life is Good

LTM said...

wow! Look at that!

I've heard that sound before. It was during a storm in SF, and a pine tree behind our house lost a huge limb... Very weird sound... You're right. Maybe this can be used somehow~ :D

glad you guys were OK!

Connie J Jasperson said...

I thought you were going to say it had been the gas can too! That was a fun story!

Carol Kilgore said...

Great story to tell around a campfire - with a little massaging here and there.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hart, I loved this story. A day in your life ... did it take a long time for them to get the power back on? Did the power company not have a clue until your husband and neighbor found the source? We lose power sometimes and I have the power company's number in my cell phone, just in case.

Have a great week,

Kathy M.

Michael Offutt said...

Your life is such beautiful chaos.

GigglesandGuns said...

You sneaky little tart! I was waiting for something about the gas can. I should have known you'd head for aliens or foreign land.

M Beth Vaughn