I’m currently working on my novel, “The Black Wave Event”, the story of the end of the world. It involves much destruction, chaos and death. On Thursday night, I started my latest chapter, describing the ruination of Tokyo by utterly fictional forces.
Then I heard the news in the morning on my way to work…
Earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan.
Tsunami wipes away houses, cars, even airplanes at an airport.
A nuclear power plant shuts down and desperately needs more coolant to prevent a meltdown.
To hear about it was one thing. To see the footage in the evening, was terrible, and humbling.
As a writer, we make up a lot of catastrophic, disastrous stuff for movies, TV and books. The reason? Because it’s a safe way to watch these events unfold. Besides marveling at the computer-generated images, we can live in that moment, feel what the characters are feeling as they witness aliens destroying New York City, or an aircraft carrier being washed towards the White House on the crest of a massive tidal wave. Because, after a couple of hours, the credits roll and the lights come up and we go back to our regular lives. If it’s on TV, we just switch the channel. If it’s in a book, we just close it. In short, reality is right next door.
But for the people in Japan, reality is everywhere and it won’t go away.
No writer can truly capture what it feels like to deal with such events. Even if they were in it and live to write about it, they may never know what it’s like to be washed out to sea, or buried under the rubble that used to be your office building, or school, or home.
But we continue to write such stories. We try to understand and help others understand.
And, being human, we also marvel Mother Nature’s power. The destruction that can be inflicted up this world, and us, by forces so powerful that one day, they may wipe us off the map forever.
Fortunately for me, I’ve finished the destruction part of my current chapter of the Black Wave Event. Now, I focus on the people and how they deal with what’s happened.
I know what I write will pale greatly compared to what is happening in Japan to those that remain.
The people of Japan are tough. They live with earthquakes regularly. Even though this quake and the tsunami were incredibly powerful, they are dauntless! They will come back stronger and develop new ways to ensure if anything of this scale happens again, they will be ready.
And in their time of crisis, they will not face these hardships alone.