Holy Effing Crap | A 7.0 Earthquake Update

Well, it finally happened, a big earthquake hit Anchorage, Alaska. We’ve been due for a big earthquake for a while, and while this one might not be “the Big One” it certainly did a bunch of damage in it’s own right.

I was at work when it happened, getting a poppyseed muffin with my coworkers like our usual Friday-morning routine. I chatted about weekend plans and what kind of coffee they were getting and how of course I was getting a poppyseed muffin because I wanted to freeze it later. (Poppyseed muffins are amazing frozen, just FYI. You’re welcome.)

The earthquake hit and my whole day changed. The earthquake felt like a normal one, an everyday little earthquake we get here in Alaska, but then it didn’t stop…and the building groaned…and we held on until it ended. (It’s really unnerving when the ground shakes, you know? Makes you realize how small you really are.) When it was done, coffee flavor syrups littered the floor. (Luckily they were plastic containers.) My officemates went up to the third floor and our suite to figure out what to do next. Was everyone okay? Should we stay? Was the building safe? We all got on their phones to text loved ones and that’s when the images of the destruction outside flew onto our screens, and an idea of what hit came into focus.

It was a 7.0 earthquake that lasted for ~20 seconds and hit ~10 miles from Anchorage. The ground rumbled, the buildings shook, and buildings cracked. Roads literally disintegrated. Electricity shuddered to a stop. Water lines broke. Drop ceilings fell, glass shattered, and what was once on the shelves now littered the floor.

My building, the Frontier building, suffered some damage as well, cracks in the walls on the stairwell and such. We were forced to evacuate just in case, so my sister and I made the long trip home to Eagle River. Keep in mind, there’s one road to the Valley, to Eagle River, and when a disaster happens…well, that road becomes congested really quick. When the disaster breaks one of our bridges…it takes a long time to get home. A really long time. Six hours in fact!

It was a long drive, but we knew our family and our pets were healthy and safe, so that was all that mattered in a time like this.

At home, we faced shattered glass and broken tech, books and knick-knacks strewn on the floor, pickle juice pooling in random places from a cracked jar, and four very scared cats. Plus some cracks in the walls that were deemed as “cosmetic.” *phew* Luckily we had heat and power that first night so that was good, though we’ve had to boil water for a couple of days. (That boil-water order was just lifted a few hours ago!)

Mom and Dad didn’t have heat that first night, but they were okay. Their house was a wreak, though. Bookshelves were broken, books and DVDs and plants and boardgames were just ~everywhere~ and my goodness, the kitchen was a mess. Every room seemed worse off. We couldn’t get some doors open because of the amount of stuff that fell down! Crazy. Cleaning will take forever, but we’ll help M&D. (And we have!)

The aftershocks came in waves, too, so it was really hard to sleep that first night. There has been 1,400 aftershocks thus far. According to the Anchorage Daily News, 593 were recorded at magnitude 2.0 or greater; 17 registered at least 4.0; and five were at least 5.0. (Source) I went from worrying that we’d have another big earthquake to being super annoyed whenever one hit. The cats would scatter each time.

Anyway, three days out and we have heat, power, and water. The condo is pretty much back to normal, much to the cats’ joy, and M&D’s house is looking…better. The State of Alaska is closed tomorrow (Monday) so we have an extra day to help clean! I’m not looking forward to the commute into Anchorage on Tuesday since the Valley folks will be routed through Eagle River until the bridges are fixed and the Glenn Highway will be an ongoing problem…we’ll see how it goes.

Earthquakes happen but the city and state did a good job at responding to it, and while things look kinda shaky right now, it’ll only get better.

Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – AND the stores are opening up again, so we were able to get emergency weekend supplies! If you want to see more photos, check out my Facebook or Twitter.

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Really it was comfort foods, but who’d blame us. 🙂

 

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WritingHack: Submitting Your Work

So, these past few months I’ve been cataloging the submissions for Cirque, a literary journal based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I was an intern with them for a year before graduate school so I’ve done this before. (I’ve leveled up to Editorial Assistant, though, so that’s pretty cool, yeah?)

It’s a fun job! Basically I check the submission email and catalogue any submissions we get based on genre (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Art). I update this giant table with all the necessary information, save the work in a different folder, and follow up with the writers and artists if necessary.

Now, most of the submissions I receive are normal. I’d say over 95% are good. The writers do everything correct, attach all the right things, and generally make me feel wonderful about the community I’ve immersed myself in.

The other 5% though? Well, they are the…interesting bunch. And because they are…interesting…and make silly little (or possibly intentional?) errors, the editors might not take them seriously.

In hopes of derailing any future mistakes by my writer friends who may wish to submit to journals (Cirque or otherwise), here are some things you should watch out for:

Follow the Guidelines
Be sure to read the submission guidelines. Every journal has them up on their website so read them, understand them, and follow them. If you have a question, let the editors know! If the submission says they only accept a Word document or a cut/paste work into the body of the email, do that. It does not mean they will accept PDFs. It does not mean they will accept already designed poems with boarders and flowers. It does not mean they will accept pictures, unless specifically in the Art category. And it certainly does not mean they will accept a picture taken of your desktop of an open Word document displaying the poem you wish to submit. (I laughed at this…and then cried a little.)

Title Your Work
This one is self-explanatory. Okay, all of these are, but this one especially so. Title your work. Title it something that’s connected to the work in some way. Or title it anything, really. Just name the freaking work. Don’t tell the editors that “This has no title,” and they can pick whichever string of words from the piece they want to for the title. Doing so will not end happily. (Granted I’m a nice person and picked a good string of words, but it could’ve easily gone downhill.)

Listen to the Reply
When the editor (or in my case, the editorial assistant) gets back to you and asks you for a 100-word bio, they mean a 100-word bio. And saying “sorry for going over the 100” is bull because you clearly went over the word limit intentionally and is cause enough for them (me) to reply, “No worries, we can always cut it down for length.” While we can, and will, do this, doing so only gives the editors more work. Listen to the reply. Listen to what they say. If they say 100 words, give them 100 words (or less)!

Write Professional Emails
I’ve saved this one for last because it ticked me off the most. When writing your email, be sure to use a professional tone. If you start off the email with “Babe” and end it with “What more do you want?” it’s going to taint your submission (if not get it completely rejected for unprofessionalism). These editors have your work literally in their hands—they can just as easily delete the submission if they want to. If you don’t take the submission process seriously, the editors won’t take you seriously either.

So, fellow writers, be part of the 95%. Please. If you’re part of the 5% it’ll dampen your chances of getting in and will just give the editors something to buzz about around the water cooler. And not in a good way.

[FYI: If you’d like to submit to Cirque, submissions closes on September 21st! See here for details.]

Warm regards,
Kellie