Posts Tagged Earthquake

State of the Writer: September 2011

August has come and gone.  Here in the DC area we got shaken up by an earthquake, brushed by a hurricane, but we’re still standing.  Now we head into another month and it’s time once again for an accounting of who I am and what I’m doing.

Obviously the big news of August was mentioned a few days ago, being first short-listed then ultimately accepted by The Memory Eater.  That puts two of my stories in the pipeline for upcoming anthologies.  I’m still hearing occasional news about Steam Works, and the guy behind Memory Eater is super enthusiastic, so I doubt either will meet the same quiet end as my ill fated first anthology pick-up.  That means I still have three stories out, at least one of which (hanging out at Writers of the Future) I expect to hear news back on this month.

Originally August was going to be about getting back to work on Capsule, but I got hit with the full inspiration for a short story I’ve been meaning to write for awhile called The Ghosts of Venus.  Wrapped up the first draft yesterday, and I’ll say it’s first draft good.  It needs a lot of work, and it’s going before my beta reading group this week.  Speaking of which, check out the new CVS Website.  It’s still a little light on content, but it’s also freshly relaunched, it’ll be growing.

August started with the announcement of the Flashathon, and I’ve been posting new information as I have it.  If I’m counting correctly today marks 50 days ahead of the event.  We’re putting plans in motion to have a few hours of guest inspiration as part of the event, which will be just damn cool if it actually happens.  Details will come faster and faster as the marathon approaches, I’m sure.

September dawns with me not sure what my next writing project is.  We’re coming up on the deadline for the Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations anthology, but my concept for that is still in a very natal form.  I’ve got another story concept that has nothing to do with any current anthology calls but could be good for making a general tour of the journals.  Or maybe this time I really will get back to work on Capsule.  Anything could happen, it’ll probably come down to what inspiration hits me first.

State of the Writer’s Beer:  We’re giving Lazarus Ale a little more time in bottle, so very little New Peculiar was drunk this month.  I’m under a promise not to start brewing another batch until we’ve gone through at least another dozen bottles of our current batches.

State of the Writer’s Blog:  Added several states to my goal of getting visits from all 50.  This month saw the first visits from Alaska, Nevada, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Delaware.  This leaves me just Montana, both Dakotas, Arkansas, and Louisiana to go.  I knew I should have had Renee pop into my blog briefly while she was in New Orleans.  The month also saw the site smash previous viewership numbers with over 275 hits and 400 pageviews.  Those are still tiny numbers, but they rapidly growing numbers.  It was as recently as May that I crossed 100 hits in a month for the first time.  Hopefully with the upcoming Flashathon and publications, numbers will improve that much more.

State of the Writer’s Pseudonymous G+ Account:  I said in my last post about the Google+ pseudonym issue that I would feel pretty safe if I made it to the end of the month.  Well.  I’ve made it to the end of the month.  So either the policy is being very poorly enforced, or initials don’t count towards the pseudonym policy.  Either way, I’m feeling rather more comfortable that the account will remain.

So now, that’s a month over and retrospective given, let’s look ahead.  Onward to September!

September poster product of WPA and released to Public Domain by the US Government.

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I Feel the Earth Move…

I live and work in the DC Metro area.  So 2pm yesterday found me standing outside on an absolutely beautiful day for the simple reason that the ground couldn’t stay still.  Which, to me, has always been one of the defining characteristics of ground.

I’ve never actually experienced an earthquake before of any magnitude I could feel.  Last time there was even a minor quake here in the DC area I was, ironically enough, in California.  There was one more recently, but of a magnitude specifically defined as one that can be felt by half the people affected.  I was in the other half that time.

This time?  Really no mistaking it.  There was some initial rumbling that felt like it might be coming from the construction always going on in the area, and a few of us were joking about it being an earthquake, not actually believing it to be so.  Then the big shockwave hit, and it felt like someone body checked the entire building.  I was on the first floor, so my experience was rather mild compared to the 14th floor, or to my wife more than 20 floors up in her building.  But really, that was more than enough excitement for me.

I was helpfully informed by a sanctimonious Californian that the USGS estimates roughly 150 magnitude 6+ earthquakes happen every year around the globe, which means one more powerful than yesterday’s Virginia quake on average every 58 hours or so.  Perhaps I haven’t been hardened by a life living in the seismic zones of California where what happened yesterday is considered just a blip, but I also don’t really want to be in a situation where something like what happened yesterday is blase, something to point and laugh about the silly east coasters ducking and running out of buildings because the ground moved a little.

Look.  THE GROUND MOVED!

In the end, it was like the northerners that pointed and laughed when DC got shut down by a “mere” several feet.  It’s just stunning what people will get accustomed to, and what people will just carry on through.  I live in an area that these things aren’t supposed to happen.  We don’t get earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, or wild fires.  The DC area is probably one of the least natural disaster prone parts of the country.  Perhaps that makes me soft, I don’t know.  But it does say something about the resolve of humanity that these things can become common place.

And then I can only think about the scale of magnitude.  It’s logarithmic, which means that a magnitude 7 quake is ten times stronger than a magnitude 6 quake.  That’s what hit Haiti.  A magnitude 9 quake is a stunning 1000 times stronger.  That’s what hit Japan.  That terrifies me, largely because what hit yesterday left me shaken for a good three hours after the ground stood still.  I’m not going to say I now know what it likes, or say my experience was at all similar, because what I experienced and looking at how the scale works tells me that I can’t possibly know how those situations felt.  And that I don’t want to know.  And that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  I suppose what it gave me more than anything else was a frame of reference.

So don’t cry for me, I’m fine, was just a little freaked out when it happened.  And next time someone out there in the world gets hit by a real quake, and not just the shudder we got here in DC, reach out.  Help.  That is all.

Earthquake map courtesy USGS, release to public domain as work of US Government.

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