Tornados, Time, and Neighbors

Tornados, Time, and Neighbors

Time is so strange. This week feels like forever. I can only imagine how much stranger it feels to those who lost their homes in the storm, or worse, lost loved ones. Tragedy as a way of bringing everything to a standstill. Each day is an eternity, each heartbeat is painfully slow.

It’s as though a bubble rises up around the tragedy and everything inside is in slow motion. The world rushes by outside the bubble still on normal time, doing normal things, but for those inside everything is slow and painful and hard.

I found myself on the edge of the bubble this week. Personally, my family and I were unaffected by the tornados. They missed us, carving up a long swath of several cities just south of where we live.

I hadn’t gone to sleep yet when the warnings popped up. It was so fast that we would barely have made it to shelter if it had come our way. I sat in the dark and got on facebook. There were so many people on, reaching out to each other from basements and closets and bathrooms where they sat huddled with their children and if they’d had time, their pets.

“Are you okay?”
“We’re okay, it missed us.”

Like an individual liturgy, a call and response pinging back and forth across the wireless waves in the wee hours: “Are you okay?”

“We are but our house isn’t.”

And then Nashville happened. And Cookeville happened. And I don’t mean the tornados, I mean the response. People turned out and showed up and brought and are still bringing supplies, showing up with chainsaws and cutting up trees. I heard today that hazardous tree removal teams that had been sent to help have sent people home because the volunteers have already done so much.

And it’s so damn beautiful to see.

Most of the people I know who live in Nashville or nearby, even if they couldn’t physically help have been boosting the signal. We’re sharing information far and wide, and donations are coming in from friends and family in other states. Individuals who can shop are collecting donations from people who can’t and are delivering carloads of supplies.

A fraught election year and coronavirus fears haven’t been able to squash this outpouring of neighborliness.

Some sites have had to turn volunteers away, they were so overwhelmed with help. And of course in the midst of the bright spots, North Nashville, the predominately black neighborhood that was hit, had been underfunded and under-helped by comparison. But we boosted that too, and it’s gotten better, though they are not to the point where they are turning people away. The news crews didn’t go there, as I guess demolished music venues in North Nashville are sexier for national news and local news alike.

So it’s not all some instant utopia, but it does make one think about how well humans do come together when their neighbors are affected. And maybe Tennessee is just particularly good at it, I don’t know. As one friend said, folks who are new are about to see why we’re called the volunteer state. And it’s true.

I just hope we can hold onto some of the neighborliness as we move forward into the rebuilding stage. Already, predatory developers are swooping in as they did after the 2010 flood, trying to buy up houses for cheap so they can gentrify areas and make a boatload of money. So the community will have to come together to see if we can stop that this time. Social media has definitely helped because we’ve got people talking about land trusts and things I’d never heard of in 2010, but it makes it so much easier to resource and educate and organize.

Anyway, there’s not some big revelation in this post, I just needed to process out loud from the edge of the bubble here where time still feels slow and strange and pain and love are intermingled as we sort through the rubble of our neighborhoods.

Donate to Gideon’s Army to help North Nashville here.

If you’re local, here’s needed supplies and updates.

What I know…

Back Porch

It’s been a really long time since I blogged…

Sometimes, or maybe a lot of times, I feel like I can’t balance all the parts of me, like the different things I want to do are all competing for attention, or pulling me in different directions all the time.

But recently, towards the beginning of the year, I was struck by the idea that all these things aren’t different and competing things, they are all part of my life. And I only have one of those.

So maybe it’s not many things pulling in different directions, but a matter of balance and rotation to enjoy all the things that are important to me. I can’t do all of them in any given day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t rotate through them, while keeping certain things a part of every day.

Here’s what I know:

I know I value beauty. Because of this, I want to continue on my quest to organize and minimize the contents of my home to make it easier to clean up and maintain in less time. We have made great strides in that direction on the first floor, and recently I’ve expanded that to the shed and the back porch. The back porch is our main entrance and like any high traffic area, was a clutter magnet, especially in the corner by the door. Solution? I deep-sixed the mildewy chairs, and put the table in the corner by the door, then I scoured craigslist for about a week until these awesome chairs popped up. Not only are they painted mustard (most recently), but they are old and well built, and match the style of another chair we have already.

More on that later…

Back Porch

I value hand-made. I started making more and more myself because I discovered that I could often make high-quality items for less than I could purchase them. In the case of this play tee-pee however, I’m could possibly have purchased something similar from Etsy for about $20 more than I spent on materials. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I am so happy with how this turned out, and I learned some sewing techniques along the way that will help me create more beautiful things for our home. And I got to use fabric I designed :-) Bonus!

Play Tent

I value art. So I incorporate it where ever I can, like in this retro truck design for Eli’s 2nd birthday next month. I’m going to put it on bunting and cupcake signs etc. And… more on that later 😉

Retro Truck Tee

I value writing, which is a part of making art. But I’ve spent too much time talking about that on this site when I have posted.

And one other thing I know… I know my life is too changeable right now to make declarations about when I will post, what I will post about and so forth. So, no guarantees. I’m going to take that pressure off myself (and if I know myself, which I sometimes do, that will mean more posts). And I’m not looking for a rhyme or reason anymore. This is simply about my life. That means I’m going to write about what I’m doing for friends and family (and extended internet friends too, of course 😉 ), and that’s it.

The theme is beauty in life and everyday art, in all kinds of different manifestations.

I hope you’ll stick around as I hop around and figure out what that means.

Book Tour and Book Fair

DAY #1 of my Book Fair Booth is here! Click here to check it out.

Okay, so I know my blog has gotten very “book” oriented of late, and some of that is just book release fever, I promise! (What you didn’t know I released a novel yesterday? Well, allow me to link you up: book tour | paperback | eBook).

But part of it, and the part I’m about to get to, is that I love to read. I love books. And I’ve realized that no blog of mine is complete without at least a small book section.

So with that in mind, I’m going to post occasional reviews, interviews, and/or author spotlights, but only of books that I have really enjoyed, and thus think that you all might enjoy as well. Specifically, most of the books I’ll be featuring will be from indie authors, although I won’t be leaving out any of my traditionally published friends whose work I enjoy either.

In that vein, I wanted to make you all aware of the Blogger Book Fair coming to Wayfaring Artist over the next 4 days. (Yes, I’m going to post 4 days in a row. Actually if you count this post, and yesterdays launch party post, I’m posting 6 days in a row. Sit down if you need to).

The brainchild of author Kayla Curry, a blogger book fair is the next logical step in a world of virtual launch parties and blog (book) tours.

In this blogger book fair, each blog functions as a “booth” with books, giveaways, and freebies. I’m hosting a giveaway for Flight of Blue as well as hosting three other authors on my site who I think you all are going to enjoy meeting.

Read more