Hurricane Roberto

I’ve learned to pay attention to my dreams ever since my early writing days when I realized how closely they reflected my feelings about my work. Last night I dreamt that I was on Topsail Island, caught in Hurricane Roberto.
(Very weird side note! I just Googled Hurricane Roberto and discovered it was a category 5 hurricane that did enormous damage in Palixia. Now, I admit to being pathetic when it comes to geography, but Palixia? So I googled Palixia and found a ton of information on a country I’ve never heard of. But something just didn’t ring right. . . For example, the site states that The name Palixia is believed to come from the Spootopolion word pal icks, which means “freaky”.  Finally, my googling took me to a site which identified Palixia as a country in a “free nation simulation game,” in which online players create their own countries, complete with economic, military, social–and yes, meteorological–histories. Wow, do I feel duped!)
So, anyway, I was swept into the ocean by Hurricane Roberto. It was  frightening. The waves were massive and coming at me from all directions. I knew I needed to swim toward shore. The problem was, I didn’t know which direction to swim in, since I couldn’t see land at all. 
The dream reflects perfectly my current state of mind. I have three important things I need to work on. 1) The sequel to BEFORE THE STORM, which I’m currently calling, AFTER THE STORM; 2) Revisions on BEFORE THE STORM; and 3) promotional tasks related to the paperback release of THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES at the end of the year. Every morning, I wake up uncertain which of these three to focus on and I’m tossed back and forth between them the way the sea tossed me during Hurricane Roberto. When I work on one, I feel as if I should be working on another.
So instead of working on any of the above, I Googled what to do in a hurricane, searching for symbolic insight. I think I found it:

  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies. (I think they mean email in my case. . . )
  • Go to your safe room. (Aha! I have not been spending enough time writing at Starbucks lately!) 
  • Take refuge in a small interior room or closet (Okay, I’ll go to the little Starbucks.)
  • Lie on the floor under a table. (Uh, no. They already think I’m weird enough at Starbucks).

I think I just got the answer! Clearly my dream didn’t take place either before or after the storm, but rather during it. So I shouldn’t work on the revisions or on the sequel, but on the promotional material, and that will be my focus tomorrow morning.
At Starbucks.


  1. Margo on August 14, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Oh, I needed a good laugh this a.m.! ‘Palixia’?…too funny…and speaking of Starbucks, I’m reading BAREFOOT right now by Elin Hilderbrand (all her books take place on Nantucket!)…anyway, 1 of the main characters is a writer…’Brenda’ has found that she writes best when indulging in a Milky Way Coffee at the Even Keel Cafe…it’s the community nature of the cafe (aided by a lucious coffee) and being surrounded by people reading books and the paper, sketching, typing on laptops that make the words fill her pages. As I read this at midnite I couldn’t help but think of Diane typing away at her fav Starbuck’s. I usually grab a coffee thru the drive-up enroute to work but I’m beginning to suspect there’s something to say about working IN the coffeeshop. I’ll have to try sketching there sometime. (-:

  2. Rob Lopresti on August 14, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Oh cool. Using Google as a magic eight-ball. I wonder if anyone has a website for that? Answer: I just googled “googlemancy” and got 1200 hits!

  3. Diane Chamberlain on August 14, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Margo, I actually didn’t make it to Starbucks today, despite my good intentions. Nor am I working on promotional stuff, but rather on the sequel because an idea came to me when I was falling asleep last night. But reading your post made me feel nostalgic for the Opium Den, I must admit.
    Rob, I think you’re onto something! I’m going to try Googlemancy with characterization when I have some time. And don’t think I didn’t notice that the Hurricane was named “Roberto.” I searched my mind for any symbolic connection to you, but your personality is not very “Hurricanic.” You’re more like a little pond on a clear day. 🙂

  4. brenda on August 14, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Am HOME…Tuesday night…Hated to leave paradise, but I have a list of 27 items to do in the next two days concerning the accident, working on my certificate-teaching, etc. etc. Getting ready for a college teacher meeting on Friday night and the one for high school on Wed.
    I have another syllabus to do, and tons of schedules.
    Thanks for thoughts and prayers…
    My little Molly was so glad to get out of that kennel-she ran in circles, and she is now lying asleep in the family room.
    Will write more later.

  5. brenda on August 14, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I feel like Hurricane Roberto this summer.
    That is funny.
    You ladies are the best.

  6. Diane Chamberlain on August 14, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    welcome home safe and sound, brenda.

  7. Margo on August 15, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Glad your back Brenda. Didn’t know you had a little ‘Molly’…would love to know more about her! (-:

  8. pattie on August 15, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Glad you’re back safe and sound, Brenda. Molly sounds like a sweetie, I’ll echo Margo, tell us more! All of Diane’s blog buddies love animals, it seems.
    Our beloved cat Gracie passed away in early June, she was around 12. In July (yeah, we were gonna wait until after vacation–October–right!) we adopted three kitties from a great place nearby, Animals in Distress. Demi (6, queen of the house), Fletcher (2, clown, instigator) and Harold (1, youngest, a sweetheart)–Fletcher and Harold are like brothers, Demi only likes humans!
    OK, I’ll stop now…Diane, I know the inspiration in the night feeling, wish it would come more often! I was trying to do this Fast Draft thing that Candy Havens facilitates but it’s killing me not to edit as I write. Need to kick that internal editor out of the room, the house, the state!

  9. Margo on August 15, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Pattie, I’m so sorry about your ‘Gracie’. I know how hard it is to lose a pet. It sounds like 3 little kitties were very lucky to get a new home.

  10. pattie on August 15, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Thanks very much, Margo-it was rough. She had a heart condition. We took her to a vet cardiologist in Valley Forge (long trip for her) who put her on a ‘human’ medication in addition to what our vet prescribed. Our vet was very sweet, cried with us, said we did more for her than a lot of people would have. And a lot of people couldn’t have afforded it-all Gary. He never had kids (except my boys) so these kitties are his children! Mine too…

  11. Margo on August 15, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Pattie, we’re the same way with our dogs so I know exactly what you mean…they are our babies.

  12. Diane Chamberlain on August 15, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Looks like a lot of us have had pets go to the Rainbow Bridge. I hope they’re all playing there happily together and barking/meowing about how glad they are that their “people” have given good homes to the next generation.
    All, I recently added a clustrmap (below) to the blog just for fun. I love seeing where my blog visitors are coming from! Although it says these are the visitors since “June 18th,” I only put the map up a few days ago, so the blog is really humming. You midwesterners rock! And a hearty welcome to Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, India, South Korea, New Zealand. . .

  13. Ann on August 15, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    I have never seen a clustrmap before. What a great idea. Thanks for adding it.

  14. Cheryl on August 15, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    I really like the cluster map. I noticed it the other day and was surprised by all the midwesterners because I always have a hard time finding your books in my area. It is neat to see where everyone is from though.

  15. Kevin Niemann on December 1, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    I actually am Palixia. I googled this up, and found it… really cool…

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