Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Notes From the Flood

Share |

The oven was warming up in preparation for dinner; my wife and I were on our laptops, doing laptop things; and our daughter was upstairs reading in her study. And then the rain came fast and hard. I got up to look out the window and could barely see across the street. I didn’t think that much of it, having grown up with torrential summer rains in Windsor, and went back to work. And then the power cut and suddenly I could see even less. (At the time, I think I had the cursor hovering over the “Save” button on my OBT blog page.)

It was looking - and sounding - pretty dire out there and I had no idea how long we were going to be without electricity, so the usual instruction went out not to open the fridge or freezer doors – of course we had just recently done some grocery shopping. WiFi-less, my wife and I closed our laptops. She reached for her smartphone in search of information and I went upstairs to check on our daughter.

She was sitting at her desk, reading by the light of one of those fat, square flashlights that you take with you on camping trips. She’s 15-years old, but she reminded me of a kid reading comic books under the covers after bedtime. She said she was fine. I informed her that dinner might have to wait, unless she was up for peanut butter and banana sandwiches by candlelight.

Back downstairs, my wife was commenting on the headlines she was reading and images she was viewing on various social media. Real-time news. Things were getting very scary, very quickly. She made a preemptive strike and let family back home know that we were okay and would stay in touch. Nana has mastered her Blackberry.

The Day After the Day After.

By now a lot of you have read or heard some of the stories or seen video and images of the events of the last 36 hours here in Toronto. I’m sure the ‘snake on the train’ video has gone viral by now. Here at home, we escaped the deluge relatively unscathed. I know we’re lucky: we have friends on the west end of the city who are still without power; all we three suffered was a trickle of water in the basement. However, they’re predicting a severe thunderstorm for this afternoon. There are a few bookcases down in the basement...I still have time to put them on stilts.

My mind must have been trained to think, ‘is there a book in this?’ because I’m having flashbacks to my time at McClelland & Stewart when we published a book on the ice storm in eastern Ontario and Quebec in 1998 and the fires that raged through the interior of British Columbia in 2003. These were ‘quick books’ meant to encapsulate these near-catastrophic, historic events. This Toronto storm hardly compares. All the same, it’s not unusual to see publications like this pop up, whether in a periodical's special edition (I'm talking to you, Maclean's), or a bound book. It just got me wondering if social media and the “Save” button haven’t finished this category off for good.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Michael Januska

Michael Januska is an award-winning crime fiction writer whose works include numerous short stories as well as the recent novel Riverside Drive, part of the Border City Blues series set in Windsor. His first book was Grey Cup Century. He lives in Toronto.

Go to Michael Januska’s Author Page