Sunday, May 5, 2013

Facing fear: Storms

My blog series about fear continues with this post by Nancy Viau:

I’ve never been frightened by the usual suspects: spiders, ghosts, strange places, large crowds, or even public speaking. But give me a booming, crackling, spine-tingling thunderstorm and you’ll see anxiety written on face as if in permanent marker. (As you can imagine, I am not the parent who calls her kids to the window to gaze at the wonder of a storm.)

My fear dates back to my camping days where only a tent protected me from electric bolts streaming from the sky. My dad shuffled the entire family into the station wagon on these nights. The message was clear: Storms. Are. Dangerous! A later run-in with lightning convinced me. It happened when I was a lifeguard. Seconds after I got the swimmers out of the water, a bright bolt hit the high dive and landed within several feet of me. And if that wasn’t enough, when living in Florida, I met a man who was actually struck by lightning, twice! (Are you kidding me? Yikes!)


During a particularly scary storm in 2009, I remembered how I handled this fear as a child. As soon as I saw lightning, I counted the seconds until the thunder. And so on that evening I counted, but I did something else, as well. I listened—really listened—to the storm. It was intense and oh, so loud, but it also had an unmistakable rhythm. And in that rhythm, my story was born.

Thunder claps outside the door.
Boom. Boom. Bang!
Rumble, rap, roar!

To make STORM SONG appealing to children, I focused on the comfort found inside a home. When the electricity goes out, the children play games, eat snacks, and pass the time cuddling with Mom and the family pet. If my book puts children in a happier place when threatening weather moves in, I will have made something good come out of my fear. And the best part? A storm, like all songs, eventually comes to an end. (Thank goodness!)

Storm soon roams across the hill.
Sprinkle, splash…

Nancy Viau is the author of three nature-inspired books: Look What I Can Do! (about sweet animals from the forest who are not at all scary), Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in her Head (about an out-spoken, rock-loving scientist), and Storm Song (which Nancy will read to herself at the first flicker of the lightning).

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