Friday, January 4, 2013

I shouldn’t need a supervolcano.

There’s something about an unfinished book that makes me worry about dying. Before I completed my first novel, I never once stressed about kicking the can. I didn’t look forward to the end or anything, but I wasn’t, like, actively agonizing over it.

But now that I have a novel on submission, an amazing agent, several short stories in the works and book two in the rotation, I’m hyper-aware of my mortality. If a driver slams on his brakes in my vicinity or I lose my balance on the stairs, I can't help but think “Whoa! I can’t die now! My first novel hasn’t even been published yet!” It’s insane, self-aggrandizing and narcissistic, of course, not to mention humiliating to admit. But it’s true. 

Oddly enough, I didn’t realize how messed up this state of mind was until last night. I was watching a documentary on the CBC called Supervolcano: Yellowstone’s Fury. I mean, damn. Have you guys heard? Yosemite is going to blow: 
“Visitors may not realize it, but Yellowstone is situated directly above one of the largest volcanic systems on Earth - a supervolcano. For the past two million years, this volcano has erupted roughly every 600,000 years. The last major eruption, which produced a caldera that stretches 80 kilometers by 50 kilometers across the park – two-thirds the size of Prince Edward Island - occurred 640,000 years ago. So, is it overdue for another eruption?”
Needless to say, the documentary was unsettling -- because the answer is YES! -- not to mention alarmist -- because the answer is YES!! -- and, by the end, left me curled in the fetal position on the lounge end of my couch. Even though I live in Toronto, which is 4000 kilometers away from Yosemite, the blast could still bury my city in ash. (Never mind the world famine that would follow, the political and social unrest, the lack of clean drinking water…)

Oh you think this is pretty, do you? Well it isn't.
It's a mother%#$*ing supervolcano,yo!
But not to worry! There is a silver lining!* You see, since last night, my brain has somehow managed to turn this apocalyptic negative (+ my fresh fear of death) into a positive! Yosemite has assigned me a deadline! It’s given me new energy, drive and passion—all fuelled by fear, of course—to finish my second novel! By 2014 if I can swing it. Woo hoo!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still going to run out and buy a heavy-duty respirator and a three-week supply of water and canned goods. But damn it -- creativity wise, I’ve been supercharged by the supervolcano! 

*For those of you hoping I would tell you something re: the greater good, like that scientists have figured out a way to plug the volcano or something, please refer to my earlier narcissism reference.


  1. God. I love you. (Did you read Sloane Crosby's book? It's so vapid I can't remember what it's called - something about eating cake? Her first chapter is about her fear of dying and people discovering her plastic pony collection that's hidden away in a kitchen drawer. This post just kicked that chapter's ass.)

    1. A plastic pony collection? Jaysus. When I go all they'll find is my collection of finger puppets and a disaster-preparedeness stash of Coke Zero and depilatory creams. This Sloane Crosby is a total nut bar.

  2. God, you're fucking funny, Emily. I pretty much love/adore your sense of humor. By the way, every time I fly, I make sure there are extant copies of everything I've ever written on my gmail account in case the plane explodes or someone steals my laptop and/or breaks into our apartment in Chicago + steals my external hard drive that backs up everything on my laptop. Of course I know this is irrational + statistically improbable (unlike the Yosemite cataclysm!), but it really bugs me to think somehow I'd lose any of my work through indiscriminate theft/random acts of god/apocalyptic shit going down.

    Peace, Blessings,


    1. Thanks Jackson! Your kind words are much appreciated.
      Your precautionary measures are highly reasonable, in my opinion. I back up my $#it three ways from Sunday. I do not, however, trust this "Cloud" thing that everyone is always telling me to use. Especially since those people always use air quotes when they say the word. (Air quotes do not instill confidence.)

  3. I've been away from my real life on twitter and missed that you're out on sub. This is FANTASTIC news!

  4. Good luck with submissions! Glad a resharpened sense of mortality is helping with your creative process. Is your next novel related to the first? (I ask without knowing anything about the first.)

    1. Thanks Erik! I need all the luck I can get!
      The next novel is unrelated to the first (my attention span is much too spastic for sequels). The first is about Jehovah's Witnesses, love found and love lost, and peculiar weather systems.