Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sendai Earthquake and the Issue of Control

Plates shift, earthquakes rumble and oceans roil…all natural events over which we have no control. The human and economic toll in Japan presents us with a shocking example of how we’ve failed to predict and prepare for the effects of natural disasters. The event reminds us, once again, that control is an illusion.

For those of us who write, the concept of control is a common theme and focus of conflict for our characters. Our heroes and heroines struggle for power over their destinies, even as nature, social/government groups, both big and small and individuals throw new challenges in their paths.

In fact, as writers, we ramp up conflict in order to test our characters as well as to build their strengths. Once our stories end, with growth arcs complete and couples bound solidly to one another, we’ve created men and women who are prepared to handle any conflagration, natural or unnatural.

But plate shifts, big earthquakes and tsunamis? I don’t know.

Some are saying that the Sendai earthquake was the worst tragedy to befall Japan since World War II. When we see how Japan pulled itself, phoenix-like, out of the horror of World War II, we have to take heart. They are tougher, smarter and more unified because of the challenges they’ve faced before. Like the fiction characters at our story’s end, the Japanese will handle this crisis and move ahead, stronger than ever.


L. A Lopez said...

We're definitely on the same wave length, I blogged at The Naked Hero, www.thenakedhero.com about the quake and tsumani. It's just so hard to watch anymore, and believe. But as you said Japan will be the Pheonix to rise out of the ashes of this tragedy, and be whole again.

Jill James said...

Rolynn, I have confidence the Japanese people will rise above this and be stronger than before.

Ann Yost said...

What an uplifting way to look at this heartbreaking event...I hope you are right!

morgan wyatt said...

As fellow travelers on to Earth, we can only pull for our Japanese cousins. It is disturbing to see so many notable folks use the tragedy as some type of punishment. Thanks for your positive contribution.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for your comments, L.A., Jill, Ann and Morgan. I just heard on the radio that looting has NOT occurred in the damaged areas of Japan. Now THAT'S amazing!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I've always admired the creativity and wisdom of the Japanese people. I am so lucky to have called many of them good friends. I pray and wish them a speedy recovery to their nation and all that makes them so special.

I have lived in California all my life and thus have endured quite a few earthquakes. It is one of the most unsettling experiences where you have no control - the worst being on a waterbed on the third floor. That was the wildest rides I have ever taken.

Let's hope Mother Nature gives them a break so they can heal now. My hubby also made the comment that there is no looting. Amazing!

Joanne said...

Japan is a brilliant and strong country. I'm praying, along with the rest of the world, for the beautiful country of Japan.