Monday, March 17, 2008

What Would You Save?

Friday night a tornado did what no tornado in recorded history has ever done. It hit downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta was supposed to be too Metro for tornados to actually touch down. Atlanta was supposed to be protected by its position a the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Winds, hail, flooding. Yes, we could fall victim to those, but tornados were for the outlying areas. Until Friday night when the Southeastern Conference basketball championships were disrupted live on national television and the talking heads kept talking pointlessly while someone tried to find out what the hell just happened. Why was the building shaking; and why were there now two larges splits in the roof of the building?

As I was straightening my bookshelf tonight I began to think about all the books, CD's, DVDs and other things I have that I've collected like the proverbial packrat. It's a lot. Then I got to thinking, what if I had to choose?

My first book, Access Denied from Cerridwen Press, has as it's premise the destruction of the Earth. A select group of people are chosen to continue the human race under the oversight and control of The Committee. The Committee played the major role in deciding what parts of human culture were saved and weren't.

For example, in the book it talks about certain sports not be "encouraged" by the Committee and how they died out. This mysterious and slightly sinister group also made all the decisions about art, literature, music, film and creature comforts down to the food that would be available. Some of the decisions were made out of practical necessity. Others weren't. Only what the people themselves brought in with them survived if the Committee didn't chose to save it.

My heroine, Leah, remarks how her entire life inside Sanctuary now fits in a couple of small crates or trunks. My hero James, in atypical fashion, brought more than she did, but still not much more than he could actually carry.

But I began to wonder about the real answers we would give to the doomsday drinking game that many of us have played. Sitting with friends over dinner and wine or over pretzels and beer, most of us have been struck with the question of If you could only have 3…fill in the blank. But what if it were real? What if I really had to choose? What if you really had to choose? What if our families and our pets were safe and we were told we were going to shelter and would probably never return to our homes? What if you had only minutes to decide what you would save? If you could save only three things from your home before you had to flee to safety what would they be?

My family pictures top the list. I have pictures of my grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents and even my great-great-great grandmother. They would have to be saved.

My purse. It contains not only my identification and money, but also my ereader and my flash drive on which is stored all my WIPs. In a way losing them would be like losing my family.

If I weren’t wearing it because I’d gone to bed, my necklace. I have a silver chain that carries a silver cross that is made of twisted silver and a silver crescent moon. In my first real novel that I ever wrote, a fanfiction piece that taught me about pacing and characterization, I created an OC (other character) that was the first person who was ever completely and totally mine. In the story her dearest love gave her a silver crescent moon because she was the only light in his dark world. She never took it off. No matter the pain and discord that grew between them, her wearing it became a symbol of her unconditional love for him. My SO read that story and loved it though I have never been forgiven for killing off that particular character. (She had to die. The young man could not have grown into the person he became in the author’s canon if she had lived.) A while after I finished it I received a gift. A silver crescent moon on a silver chain.

Everything else I can replace.


Amarinda Jones said...

Definitely family photos and the file with all my records and my handbag

Anny Cook said...

Pictures, laptop, purse/briefcase with all my records/flashdrives/etc.

Molly Daniels said...

Definitely photos, box of computer disks, and entire two-drawer filing cabinet with all my rough drafts!

My box of rare books are not in the house, so they, along with my original Star Wars collection, would be safe!

Kelly Kirch said...

Laptop and pictures. That's it. Those are the irreplaceables.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Jae!!! Reading about the necklace in the story and your SO made me cry - that's so beautiful!

I'd take my pictures, laptop and my and my grandmother's ring.