Sorry for the delay in producing this entry. I was waiting for the power to come back on. After evacuating, I returned home to a foot of water in my basement. But compared to many other people, I had it easy.
Also, as the daughter of a storm aficionada, I was prepared for the worst. Although my mother no longer lives on Long Beach Island, she remains a devoted fan of hurricanes. She has always been a huge follower of The Weather Channel, and hurricanes provide, in that sense, more to love. Some people are drawn to uncertainty and the potential for disaster. They thrive on worry. They like to plan ahead. They have stockpiles of canned soup and cases of bottled water in their garage. They try to give you some every time you visit.
Others, like Norman Ollestad’s father, seem not to worry about anything. Instead they dive headlong into risky situations, the riskier the better. Possibly they feel more alive when risking their lives. And they expect others, especially their children, to do the same. For example, Norman’s father launched his son into the world of competitive downhill skiing as a three year-old and took him into dangerous sections of Mexico to go surfing when he was ten.
In his memoir CRAZY FOR THE STORM, Norman finds himself, at the age of eleven, clinging to a snow-covered 8,000-foot mountain. The small plane that his father rented has crashed. The pilot is dead. His father is dead. His father’s girlfriend is moaning.
Ironically, Norman is well-prepared for this moment. How he survives (I’m not giving anything away: he wrote the book! Also, you can see his 1979 press conference on You Tube) is a gripping tale, made more suspenseful by his remarkable craft as a writer: he interweaves events from the year leading up to the crash, many of which trained him in the art of survival. The structure and pacing are brilliant, and if you don’t read this in one sitting, it will only be because you started reading it too late at night.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some canned soup to eat.