Friday I leave for Oklahoma City where my week-long quest for the wily, or sometimes not so wily, tornado will begin.
My wife is absolutely convinced I’m a dead man walking; certain I’ll get swept up like Dorothy and end up as road kill on the Yellow Brick Freeway.
More likely, if conditions ripe for twisters go into hibernation, I’ll die of boredom.
But no matter. My primary goal, believe it or not, is not to get up close and personal with a Great Plains’ monster—-though I’m not averse to that—-but to learn how tornado chasers operate. To see what their daily routine is, what meteorological parameters they examine, what monitoring equipment they employ, and how they communicate with each other during a pursuit.
I also want to get a sense of the “atmosphere” surrounding a chase: the tension, the excitement, the apprehension should we actually corner our quarry.
All of this, of course, is in the name of literature, making sure the backdrop of Supercell, my work-in-progress, is authentic. I don’t write science-fiction. I do science-fact. Well, to an extent. As a novelist, I’m always stretching and molding the facts to create a story with a lot more of an edge than would be found in real life.
My goal is to write something that will keep my readers turning pages. But I’m hoping, too, they’ll come away with just a bit more knowledge about something: hurricanes (as in Eyewall), the Ebola virus (as in my next novel), or tornadoes (Supercell).
I’ll keep you posted during my chase on how things go.
Well, time to make a packing list. I don’t suppose my wife would find it humorous if I slapped a “Yellow Brick Roadkill” sticker on my suitcase.
-April 25, 2012-
IMAGE: Kansas tornado, 2008, NOAA photo. (Hope to have my own photos posted within the next few days.)