In the weeks since the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis struck Japan, we've been horrified by the images we've seen and stories we've read. But through the horror have come miraculous stories of individual sacrifice and survival, and the brave determination of the Japanese people to overcome. Most of us either have been through a natural disaster of one kind or another, or know people who have. For last week's creative challenge, we asked Red Roomers to share an inspiring story about a time when life was turned upside down by such a catastrophe and what happened afterwards.
Before we come to this week's featured entries, two entries not dealing with natural disasters as such are worth checking out:
- We're thrilled to hear that after her annual mammogram, author Cheryl Norman got a clean bill after a year-long struggle with breast cancer. Read "Surviving a Disaster."
- Calling them "little tsunamis of the heart," author Jessica Barksdale Inclán mulls in "Little Horrid Tornados" that personal disasters can be "as violent but perhaps not as widespread as the effects of a 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami."
A few blog entries stood out:
- The disaster the painting author Steve Hauk writes about in "Surviving Dresden: A Provenance," wasn't natural, but the one of the worst man-made infernos of the 20th Century. He describes the painting's journey as if it were a character in a book.
- The devastating 2010 Nashville flood was the disaster that seemed to go unnoticed by much of the news media. Author JT Ellison spread the word back then, and is back with "Hypocrisy and Floods—One Year Later."
- We were fascinated by the story author Farzana Versey told about spiders who took refuge in trees during an Indian flood. Enjoy her tale, and an extraordinary photo, in "Calamity Web."
Mitch Cullin and Peter I. Chang's film Tokyo is Dreaming is a "rich and evocative tableau of life in the Japanese capital set to a beguiling score by John Convertino of the band Calexico." Cullin and Chang, partners in art and life, have been working ceaselessy since the disaster to spread the word about ways people can help Japan during this time. One of their favorite relief agencies is The Japan Society.
Tokyo resident Leza Lowitz is a poet, fiction writer, editor and co-translator of Japanese. Her newest book, Yoga Heart: Lines on the Six Perfections, collects "sixty poems on the Buddha's six 'perfections,' or qualities for a meaningful life-generosity, kindness, patience, joy, stillness, wisdom." She has been helping raise moneyfor disaster relief through Chabad Japan. Read Leza's own report of the Japan quake and its aftermath in "Coming Through Disaster—The March 11 Japan Earthquake."
The destinies of two microbiogists, a science celebrity with a TV crew, and, and a mad scientist hatching plans from thousands of miles away converge around a volcano's catastrophic explosion in Karen Dionne's newest scientific thriller Boiling Point.
I hope you'll read all of the coming through natural disaster entries, find your favorites, and leave a comment telling the blogger why you enjoyed it.
All of Red Room's past blog topics are listed here. Thanks as always for blogging!
-Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room