Hurricanes, Ideas, and Sharks

September 2nd, 2008

I hope those of you whose Labor Day wasn’t ruined by Hurricane Gustav had a nice one. And I hope those of who you found yourselves in its path managed to ride it out safely.

I was totally minding my own business watching eighty thousand movies in a row that I missed earlier in the month when they came out because I was busy working (and/or vacationing in places without cable) when suddenly huge torrents of rain began lashing my windows and the satellite went out and I was all, “Huh?”

It took a check of the Weather Channel (on cable) to establish that Key West was under a Tropical Storm Warning (seriously, they didn’t tell us the storm was going to be bad until it actually arrived, which gave us no time to run out and buy cheese popcorn, the most important part of any hurricane survival kit).

Anyway, as I endured my extremely limited non-satellite programming (and ate gross snacks) for the thirty-six hours we rode out Gustav’s feeder bands, I had a lot of time to think (and also watch cable and look things up).

Here are the top ten things I came up with:

10. UK readers can buy copies of Airhead half price from now until September 5 by going to megcabot.co.uk and clicking on the Airhead pop-up window!

There are also opportunities to win a year’s subscription to BLISS magazine, and for Allie readers to win a Nintendo DS by going to megcabot.co.uk/allie/ and checking out the UK edition of The New Girl, out now (which is why I’m going on a big tour there in less than two weeks—check out the BRAND NEW UPDATED SCHEDULE HERE NOW!)

9. People always want to know what inspires authors to write books. According to Wikipedia, the word “inspiration” refers to an irrational and unconscious burst of creativity. So, inspiration is irrational and also unconscious??? Awesome! I think this should give authors license from now on, when people ask what inspires them, to reply: Mariah Carey.

7. If you are ever trapped on the Eiffel Tower with people shooting at you, just grab the French flag and jump off. You will be able to use it as a parachute to safety (source: Rush Hour 3).

8. I think some people, when they’re asking authors about inspiration, are actually mistaking the word inspiration for motivation, ie, “What motivates authors (motivation = willingness to complete a sometimes onerous task) to sit there and keep their butt in a chair for so long that they’re able to finish a whole book?”

If authors were really being honest, they’d admit there are only three things that motivate them to finish their books. They are, in order of motivational effectiveness:

–Chocolate (any kind, cheap, expensive—doesn’t matter)
–Just wanting to get the damn thing finished so they can get on with their lives
–Panic over inability to pay their mortgages if they don’t get paid

There may be other motivational devices authors use to encourage themselves (music; Cheetos; revenge on their enemies), but the above are the main sources of motivation for most, I think.

6. If everyone around you is turning into a pod person, act normal! Don’t show emotion! And get your hands on a gun as soon as possible. But only shoot people in the leg if they attack you, don’t kill them, because they might snap out of it someday, and you wouldn’t want to be responsible for killing Daniel Craig if this is the case (source: The Invasion).

5. Another question I get all the time is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

I used to say “From the Idea Store,” but that was really just a smart-alecky answer for “Who knows?”

The truth is, I once read a quote by an author whose name I sadly forget equate getting an idea for a book with being bitten by a shark…the idea, like a shark, won’t let you go. Not if it’s a good one—not until you’ve written the whole book down. You have to write it in order for the idea to let you go.


(Cue Jaws soundtrack)

Who knows where ideas come from? The important thing is, once you get a good one, and it gets hold of you, you’re as good as dead until you’ve gotten it out of your system. That, my friends, is inspiration and motivation explained.

4. If you buy a gun on the black market, you will be able to shoot someone dead the first time you ever fire it, especially if you do so at an angle through glass bottles without being able to see your target while crouched down and also terrified (source: The Brave One)

3. The new show on MTV, Exiled, where they take bratty My Super Sweet Sixteen participants and drop them in remote areas to appreciate what they have is pretty good. But it could be better. For one thing, it’s too short—only half an hour (really, twenty minutes with commercials). And for another, each episode so far has left me wondering more about the lives of the host families than about the American kids.

Why doesn’t MTV follow up on them? You can go here to read more about the conditions in their countries, but to be honest, I just want to know more about Josephine from the Maasai and what’s going to happen to her.

2. If you stab a carrot through someone’s eye, he or she will die (source: Shoot’em Up).

1. There are like forty-five more hurricanes headed straight for Florida right now (click here for my favorite weather blog and check out Dr. Jeff Masters if you don’t believe me) so I can see I’m going to have a lot more time for thinking, cable viewing and Wikipedia hopping in the near future, in addition to packing for a trip to several different climatic zones and one country that is currently in a state of emergency.

Stay tuned!

More later.

Much love,

Meg