All in the Numbers.


“Originality exists in every individual because each of us differs from the others. We are all primary numbers divisible only by ourselves.”
~Jean Guitton

10,458: the number of words currently in my WIP, which becomes more of a joy to write with every single day. I’m already discovering so many twists and turns to my characters’ personalities, already following their lead as they dictate where the story will spin. It’s an inspiring road to travel and an exciting journey to take.

24: the number of days until I’m in Washington DC for this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. I’ve wanted to go for so long and can’t wait to see those beautiful umbrellas of pink petals in person. Fingers crossed that the trees will all be in bloom.

3: the number of times I’ve now had the chance to talk with General Hospital and Dancing with the Stars superstar Kelly Monaco. Her fan event on Sunday was one of my favorites I’ve ever attended, and I was, once again, totally impressed by her genuinely kind and gracious nature. From telling me that my eyes are the bluest she’s ever seen, to reminiscing about the 2005 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade and saying how sweet it was that I remembered our visit there, to sitting and chatting with me – and everyone else – as though we were friends, she was nothing but a complete class act.

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54: the number of choice on today’s weather forecast. Perhaps spring is around the corner?

570: the number of words I wrote in twenty minutes this morning. Wednesday are my query days, my days to focus solely on sending MINE TO LOVE out to agents, but I woke up with a scene in my head and simply had to get it down before doing anything else. There is something so special about that flurry of furious typing, that whirlwind where your fingers can’t type quickly enough to keep up with your thoughts, and it completely made my day, all before 8:00AM. Writer’s high? For real, it’s the best ever.

What numbers are defining your day?

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Snowy Snapshots.


“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”
~Vista M. Kelly

“Plowable snow.”

There are two general reactions to those words, each a polar opposite of the other: you either feel a snap of excited energy at the approaching storm, or you wish for a winning lottery ticket so a vacation to the Bahamas is possible. I fall into the first category (not that I wouldn’t love to see the Bahamas one day … ). When the meteorologists began to mention a Nor’easter, I eagerly anticipated the snowfall predictions. When the flakes began to fly last evening, I stood at the window to watch them swirl through the air. When the snow began to intensify, tumbling down to the ground like salt from the sky’s shaker, I was nothing but happy. We didn’t get nearly as much as Massachusetts or the other states blanketed by two or three feet – only five or six inches here – but still, I couldn’t resist going outside to snap some picture of the fluffy crystals stretching across the landscape. There’s nothing like the magic of a winter wonderland.

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Anyone else a snow lover? Or would you rather live somewhere warm year-round?

Oh NO, Sandy.

Dear Hurricane/Nor’easter Sandy,

Remember when I asked you to take it easy on us? You could have at least made an attempt to comply. Instead, you did the opposite. You barreled on land like a whirling mammoth, Mother Nature’s spin cycle and a force to be reckoned with as you showed us your worst. You toppled hundreds of trees across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware – and more in other states – including an oak that fell onto my friend’s car and crushed it beneath its thick limbs. You dropped inches upon inches of rain. You made rivers rise and overflow their banks. You sent debris slamming into houses and tore off rooves like they were made of whispery cotton instead of sturdy wood and metal. You blew across the land with winds of over eighty miles per hour and made transformers blow, lighting up the night sky with flashes of orange, red, blue, and green. You knocked out power to over seven million people, leaving us in the dark and canceling school for days.

Know what’s not fun? Having no power, no heat, no telephone, no cable, and no cell service. Know what’s even less fun? When the outages last and last (and last), turning your house into a walk-in freezer. Playing Scrabble by the glow of candlelight was enjoyable … shivering was not. I used a regular sheet, flannel sheet, winter comforter, fleece blanket, and crocheted blanket last night, and I still woke up so cold that I had to put on a hat, scarf, and gloves. Even so, my hands were icy to the point that they were numb. I cannot shake the internal chill. But we were lucky. Our power finally came back on a few hours ago, but there are many places still shrouded in darkness. There’s devastation in states all across the Northeast, trees crashed through houses – one just two minutes from mine – and floodwater sweeping through roads and subway platforms.

And then there’s the Jersey shore … the beautiful, special, magical shore. It is just … decimated. The boardwalk has been washed away, there’s a foot of sand in the streets, stores are underwater, amusement parks are literally floating in the ocean. When the eye of the storm slammed ashore, the ocean met the bay, sending waves crashing for blocks and blocks. There were fish swimming in the roads, boats toppled upside down, and houses blown apart. Seeing the pictures and video just breaks my heart. It’s so hard to see your favorite place in all the world in ruins. Ventnor, Ocean City, Stone Harbor … those towns are home to some of my most special moments. They are home to summer after summer of joy. I don’t live there, but they are home. Thinking of what’s happened to them makes me feel like crying. Experiencing the storm was scary. Seeing the devastation it’s wreaked is so sad.

But do you know what, Sandy? You didn’t win. You may have flooded the region, but you can’t wash away our memories. You can’t crest over the ties that bind us – whether to the Jersey shore, to NYC, to anywhere that has worked its way into our souls. We are resilient, and determined, and grateful to be safe. Physical things can be replaced. People cannot. So even though you tried your hardest, you didn’t defeat us. You didn’t dampen our spirits. We didn’t sink. It’ll take a long time, but things will get back to normal. We’ll have our own kind of high tide again.

Goodbye, Sandy. Good riddance.

No love,
Shari

Oh, Sandy.

Dear Hurricane/Nor’easter Sandy,

So … word on the street is that you’re a pretty powerful storm. Energy and pressure that’s comparable to a Category 3 hurricane. Sustained winds of 60-75 mph and gusts up 90 mph. 5-10 inches of rain. Waves of 15-20 feet. A storm surge which could inundate coastal communities. Flooding which will wash its way inland. A diameter which exceeds a thousand miles.

I have always been fascinated by the weather – even considered going to school for meteorology before I went the journalism route – but I’m not gonna lie, you’re starting to freak me out. When the forecasters start using phrases like “once-in-a-lifetime-storm” and “worst case scenario” … well, that doesn’t exactly inspire a sense of security. So I’ll make you a deal: take a miraculous spin back out to sea, or dramatically weaken, or hey, even choose to evaporate into thin air if you want. Anything but slamming into the East Coast like a whirling, swirling paragon of strength. In return, nobody will complain about the weather for the foreseeable future – not the frigid digits, not the snow, not the wind chill, not the heat, not the humidity. Nothing. Nada. Zip, zilch, zero.

And if you can’t do any of those things, at least take it easy on us, okay? Flooding, downed trees and wires, coastal erosion … none of those would be fun. We have our candles and flashlights ready, but if you could avoid causing a days-long power outage, that’d be awesome, too. After all, I can’t edit if my computer won’t turn on. Above all else, though, please keep everyone safe. I know you have your eye set on this area, but we wouldn’t mind if you wanted to switch perspectives. It’s worth repeating: the middle of the ocean is really nice this time of year.

Love,
Shari

Anyone in Sandy’s frenzied, frenetic path, please be careful. Here’s hoping the waves of this storm won’t crest too high.