Gratitude: The “Look” Challenge, Hurricane Sandy

It’s National Novel Writing Month, a 30-day, 50,000- word, novel writing challenge.

I’m not participating but Tangerine Tango  contributor Dawn Landau is.  Not only is she writing with abandon dawn to dusk, she tagged me in the blog game called the  “Look Challenge.”  Bloggers, who are writing beyond their blogs have a chance to offer a sneak peek of their work.

The rules require that you search your writing for the word “look” and share a few lines. Dawn suggested I provide excerpts from the book.

Here’s what I found:

From Gabi Coatsworth’s essay about her memories shrimping with her father:

“I used to wonder sometimes if the sea would ever come back again. I would look out of my bedroom window, under the eaves of Granny and Grandpa’s house, and sometimes the sea would be right up, covering the pebble beach, and at other times I couldn’t see it at all, it was so far away. All I could see was sand, stretching away to the end of the world. It felt a bit scary, but there is one wonderful thing about sand like that. In the summer, after we’d had supper, my father would take us out shrimping before bedtime.

We’d walk down the drive toward the main road in front of the house. Holding hands in a straggling chain, we would cross the road after repeating the incantation: “Look right, look left, look right again. If all clear, quick march.” This last was, I suspect, my mother’s variation on “cross the road”. She had been in the army, after all.”

From Chris Rosen’s experience in her first hot air balloon:

“Miss Bean, our two-year-old shelter dog, started barking furiously on the deck while I was finishing making the pesto. Looking out towards the mountains, I saw why. A beautiful hot air balloon was floating over the valley and heading towards us! If it wasn’t for our trees, they might have landed on our hill.

I remembered our hot air balloon ride…”

And from Patti Winker’s  memory about clotheslines:

“Most might find it hard to feel nostalgic about any kind of laundry, let alone having to lug heavy baskets outside to dry on lines. Line drying the wash is hard work and not often reliable. Mom watched the sky, constantly on the lookout for ominous dark clouds. There were no guarantees that all her hard work wouldn’t end up back in the house, soaking wet.”

(To read more of these excerpts, please order the book. All proceeds will benefit Huntington’s Disease research.)

The next part of the game of course is to pass along the challenge to others. I’m tagging the above three writers, who are always up to something and also Suzanne Rogers, a photographer who I know has a book or two worth “looking” at. 

Dawn, thank you for the tag. Good luck with NaNoWrMo!

November also is the gratitude month, culminating in Thanksgiving.

I have lots to be grateful for, particularly this week after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East coast, demolishing the shoreline, and devouring communities. We lost power but had installed a generator last year after losing electricity for 8 days in the October snowstorm.  So we had heat and minimal lights throughout and could cook on the gas stove. A friend and her 16-year-old son moved in. Our power was restored on our street yesterday but most of the town is still without. Enormous old trees have been uprooted; wires are down everywhere. A tree fell on our roof, ripping off the gutter and some of the shingles, but it’s nothing compared to elsewhere.  

My son Jacob and his family spent one night with us until their power returned. I had hoped they’d be with us longer! We had a fun slumber party.

Piano concert!

My heart goes out to those who’ve lost homes. I feel a tremendous sense of loss about the condition of lower Manhattan.  But New Yorkers are resilient; the city will rebuild.

I know it’s easy for me, safe and warm in my little bubble to urge others to be patient.  Tempers are beginning to fray as lines for gasoline stretch around street corners. People are complaining on the local online newsletter about the lack of response by the utility companies, about no gas for their generators, about no trains. 

Yes, it’s cliché:   Be thankful for what we have.

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13 Responses to Gratitude: The “Look” Challenge, Hurricane Sandy

  1. You are so right – gratitude is a gift we can give ourselves everyday. I am grateful you and yours are getting back to normal, and that my son could return to Asbury Park.


  2. I have no power yet (while the streets on either side of us do 😦 ) but while I was *looking* for the upside I found your blog. Thanks for cheering up my day. I’ll repost it as soon as I get to the library or Starbucks. In the meantime thank goodness for cell phones!


  3. We have our power. I have been going through my winter clothes. I have so many sweaters and a few coats. I am packing them up to give away. The problem is gas. The lines are so long. My favorite affirmation is ” Calm your thoughts and be peaceful. Know that all is well, all the time.”


  4. Nice post Lisa. Yes, we all have much to be thankful for, even when things look bleak. Thanks for participating in the Look Challenge. For those doing it, the excerpt should be from a novel or significant work in progress. It isn’t a blog award, or blog game (which is kind of cool, with so many out there), and gives readers a chance to peek at what you’re working on. Fun! Thanks for sharing Lisa and stay well.


  5. zannyro says:

    Thanks for passing this on to me! I will enjoy this so much 🙂 My heart goes out to those suffering through these post-sandy days….I hope the power is on very, very, very soon.


  6. Barbara Younger says:

    So glad you’re okay. I’ve been working on practicing gratitude in all things. My heart goes out to those who are suffering from Sandy’s ravages.


  7. Leah says:

    I’m glad you are doing okay. My heart goes out to all hose who lost homes or are still without power. It’s hard to imagine over here on the West Coast. But you are so right – New York is resilient and will recover. They always do!


  8. judy says:

    Glad you are ok Lisa. Thank you for this update and for the always needed reminder of gratitude in our lives. We all need to be grateful in big and small ways. I am hoping and praying for a quick recovery from Sandy. Take care!!


    • Thanks, Judy. It won’t be quick at all. Lots to repair. I’m just hoping we rebuild smarter. Houses don’t need to be on barrier islands. The beaches should be public like on the west coast. We need more public transportation so less car/gasoline dependent. Lots to think about. I’m worried people won’t vote on Tues.

      On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM, cyclingrandma


  9. Patti Winker says:

    Glad to hear you and your family are safe. We experienced Hurricane Ivan here in 2004 and we personally were very lucky; not everyone was. Gratitude was what we felt for days, weeks, months, and even years as we heard how others suffered. Relief came slowly and tempers flared, but that is the way it happens after a big storm hits. There will always be difficulties getting equipment, supplies, and people-power where it’s needed most. Infrastructure is collapsed and resources are spread thin. It’s heartbreaking. And this storm was like so many others – upgraded, downgraded, upgraded, downgraded. It wasn’t even supposed to be a Cat. 1 when it hit. Preparation and evacuation becomes more and more confusing and difficult to do as the storm moves in. It’s just painful and unpredictable. I’m glad you were able to shelter your family and friends during the storm.

    On another note, thank you for being on the “lookout” for a bit of fun in my story. 😉 This Looks like a great challenge. I Look forward to reading more from other authors.

    Stay safe and warm, Lisa!


    • Thanks, Patti. Great comments. Relief is slow, rebuilding slow. Impatience huge. I hope we rebuild smarter– more focus on public transportation than on gas dependency, houses not needed on barrier islands, etc…. hoping voting not affected on Tues. We still have house guests.. so many yet w/o power. My sister in Westchester NY was told not until Nov. 11 earliest… it is cold at night already. Lisa

      On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 6:12 PM, cyclingrandma


  10. Pingback: It’s the Look… « Gabi Coatsworth

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