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If you didn’t like progress, here’s a tornado

Unexpectedly another thing of mine for you to read while I pack: this blog post on the Analog website is about the novelette I have in the current issue of Analog (“Left to Take the Lead”) and also about tornadoes and rebuilding and healing and community:

2 thoughts on “If you didn’t like progress, here’s a tornado

  1. I grew up on the west coast. Here are two things I know in my bones are true:

    (1) The air is trustworthy. Sometimes it’s dry and sometimes it’s humid. Sometimes it,s still and sometimes it moves around in a breeze or even a windstorm. Sometimes it’s just air and sometimes it lets water fall through it to the ground. But while windstorms can knock down trees, the air is basically stable. It’s not going to morph into some other form and start tearing up trees and destroying houses. For me, the tornado that took Dorothy to Oz was a literary device.

    (2) You cannot trust the ground. Mostly it just lies there under your feet, but at any moment, it can betray you. It can leap up and twist around and knock you over and make giant chasms where there was once just a vegetable garden. Don’t put plates on the plate rail in your dining room, because sooner or later, the earth will throw them onto the floor and break them. It can knock down tall buildings just by shaking them too hard, and sometimes when the ground is shaking, mountains also explode and ash and/or lava come out, and the blast patterns destroy your favorite lake forever.

    It’s not that I am not scared by earthquakes, because of course I am when I am caught in a large one. It’s that even while I am scared, I am also aware that this is normal, it’s just a thing that the ground does. The one time I was caught by a tornado warning in the Midwest, I was terrified in a whole other way, because it’s just WRONG for the air to do this.

    And that experience, of being scared in a whole other way, explained to me why my mother, who grew up in the Midwest, was viscerally terrified of earthquakes in a way I had not understood until then. Because the two things she grew up knowing in her bones were (1) you can trust the ground to be stable under your feet and (2) you cannot trust the air not to morph into a monster and tear things up.

    Too bad we were both wrong.

    1. Yes–I had this when I lived in California. There are warnings for tornadoes, the sirens blare, you can go to the basement. Earthquakes…no warning. Yikes.

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