Sunday, December 4, 2011

My "Duh" Moment

Following the advice of an old writing friend, I check my penname every once in awhile on Google, especially now that I'm producing stuff more frequently and (hopefully) proficiently. While there are a few other dbstevens people out there, "my" penname -- linked with my writing -- has usually come up within the first 10 search items, which I've been relatively proud of. But over the last month it's slowly climbed up to the seventh item, maybe the fifth...

Imagine my joy, then, when I checked again last night and saw this:

(Click on the picture for an enhanced view)

Nice, huh? Fiiinally. Number one search item is my name, my profile, my writing... but wait? I don't use that site.

Waaait a second.

While I do use other writing forums to promote my blog -- if you look at the picture again you'll see "Writer's Cafe" and that's me -- because that's what some of the best writers and bloggers suggest you do to grow your readership, I always reference my excerpts back to Kicking Corners. This profile didn't.

Upon further research of the Runonwords site, it's completely legit, it's actually a really cool writing forum, and my writing/penname is pretty popular on there. So much so that it rocketed my writing/penname to the top search item in Google.

The only problem, then, is that it wasn't me posting there, no one had asked to use excerpts of my writing, and there wasn't anything pointing readers back to my blog.

They say that "Imitation is the highest form of flattery," and in a way I suppose I am flattered when I don't think about the reality of the situation. Also, I'm grateful this person used my penname, rather than just reposting my writing in another name (who knows, maybe that's going on too? I need to check).


While I've contacted the team at Runonwords and they've deleted the account there (hats off to them, they were really quick to reply and great to work with), I've decided I need to seriously re-think this blog. For now I'm taking down my story while I process everything that's happened thus far with it.

And there is another storm coming so I'm officially not setting a deadline for anything tomorrow. We'll see you in a week or so. Maybe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Utahns trying to cleanup mess left by wind

So I went to bed a little after midnight on December 1st, bound and determined to finish the "Black Luck" post during the boys' naptime ( and therefore by 4pm)...

Then this happened:

Link to the video here --,0,1346767.story

Multiple trees uprooted all down our street
Uh. I don't know this woman but she illustrates my point: it was insane.

It was probably around 2 am that I first realized there was a problem because the walls were shuddering and the windows were creaking. What the...

Somewhere in my groggy mind I remembered going to the store Tuesday night to buy some yogurt and overhearing the cashier say there were hurricane-strength winds projected to come roaring through our area on Thursday. The way she spoke about it reminded me of a groupy talking up her favorite band coming to town. I didn't even consider the storm could mean the fridge would go out, along with all the lights, the computer, any radios. Preparing for such a thing? I had no idea what that even meant.

Needless to say, all that yogurt was ruined.

As it turns out, it meant that at 2 am I woke up on Thursday morning to the screaming of the wind. I've always thought that was just a metaphor, but it was the most bizarre, scary sound, truly sounding like multiple people screaming different pitches and intensities. The whole house shook. I lay in my bed breathing fast, trying to figure out what to do (I feel like I'm writing about a character, but this really was me -- I really did lay there with my mind desperately trying to wake up and assess the situation -- it seems so surreal, now). When I looked out the window, anything that wasn't heavy or tied down was pinned horizontally in the wind. Screaming, screeching, objects that shouldn't be flying were flying.

It was just like the movies, except it was real.

Somewhere around 3 I was downstairs, watching out the back window in disbelief, when there was a loud boom outside and all the power went off. Without the street lights illuminating the chaos it was even more surreal. The noises, the feel of the wind pushing, pushing...I felt like it could tear the foundation up and we'd all be swept tumbling into the next street over. In reality, what did come up was part of our back fence and a huge limb broke off the tree in the front, nearly crashing down into our car but barely missing it. We were lucky. Not everyone in our neighborhood were as blessed.

Anyway. This continued through the next day, and even as it started to finally settle down Thursday evening, the power was still out. We are lucky to have a gas fireplace. Hubs (short for hubby, short for husband) had to work a grave shift so Alpha and Beta (son one and two) and I snuggled up in the room with the fireplace. I closed off all the other rooms and we were snug bugs as long as we stayed in there. It was freezing anywhere else in the place.

Long story short, our power didn't come on again til later today (December 2).

This is much later than my December 1 by 4pm deadline. I apologize for my delay -- I was puttering in my head about it the whole time -- I'm truly sorry. *sigh*

So what have I learned from all this?

1. Always listen to your cashier when they warn of natural disasters, even if they do sound like a nutty groupy, and prep the fridge/cupboards accordingly.

2. Keep on close hand lots of candles, matches/lighters, and flashlights; then know where you've put away all the above-said items so you're not ramming your head into things while you're blindly trying to find them.

3. Check the weather forecast before promising to finish posts by a certain deadline.

Thanks, all, for your continued interest and support.
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