Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chased by the (Severe) Wind

Sometimes I wonder if tornadoes are chasing me. We moved up here to Franklin, Tenn., a few months ago from Florida, mostly to get away from hurricanes. Actually, that wasn't really the reason, but it's a nice side benefit. But Tennessee offers its own brand of severe weather, twisters that give you little notice. We had one tornado in January and another in February, the latter of which did some serious destruction across middle Tennessee and killed about 30 people.

Then, this past weekend we drove to Savannah, passing through Atlanta on the way. At the precise hour my vehicle was attempting to get through a very congested downtown, a twister was wreaking havoc on the Georgia Dome and the SEC men's college basketball tournament. (I didn't learn until the next day that it was a tornado). Then, while chilling with family in Savannah the next night, guess what I heard sound off about 12:30 a.m.? A local tornado siren. The deadly winds couldn't skid me off the road in Atlanta, so they followed me to another of the Peach State's finest cities. Did I have an appointment in Samarra as well? But the winds passed far to the south, and all was well except for the power going out for, like, 12 hours.

Speaking of being chased by severe winds, I am still chasing agent representation of my completed first phase of my memoirs, Chased by the Wind. And while driving on a particularly lonely stretch of I-16 between Atlanta and Savannah late Friday night, after the excitement as all over, I had some epiphanies about the memoir I am writing now.

It has felt too big to get my arms around: a memoir examining my life and work from the start of college until the present time. And while driving I pondered why I felt this had to be a single volume, and then I thought of my favorite memoir writer, Frederick Buechner, and his many mini-volumes that focused on key, thematic eras of his life. And suddenly, the memoir series of the reflections of John Michael De Marco (which no one may end up reading but his kids, and even that through chocolate bribery) got a bit longer in number but perhaps shorter in individual length and more focused and purposeful.

Somewhere in the midst of this weekend trip I also devised a new special writing time, 5:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings at a nearby coffee shop. I'm stoked. I'll be there this coming Sunday, God and wind-willing, going deep into that precedent-setting first year of undergrad. Not because I am supposed to, but because I have to. The wind blows where it pleases.


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