Schools are back in session, the streets are basically clear, the sun is shining, and I feel bereft. A storm is a sort of holy time. Any time we can get that is removed from regular life, out of our control, seems holy. A blizzard especially, as long as you are warm and your house is solid: you’re encased in the wind and snow; you have no choice but to be present.
In The Half Brother there is a blizzard, and at the end the characters emerge completely transformed. Climaxing action in a storm feels natural to us. Lear on the heath. The voice of God comes out of a whirlwind: pay attention. In my book, in the storm, people finally start telling the truth.
I didn’t grow up with blizzards, not in Georgia, and when I was writing the long blizzard scene I realized it would have seemed so exotic to me at one time, and that it was a sort of arrival—that I had gone native—to know what it’s like to have snow literally blocking the door, to wait for the snowplow, to slog through snow up to your thighs.
I hear there is another storm coming, next week.
(Photo credit: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe)