Thursday, June 19, 2008


I'm supposed to leave for Iowa City in a little over two weeks. I've been planning this for a while. I'm supposed to be there for almost a month. Now it looks like the city has just washed away. Having some experience with this sort of thing I know that the news can make disasters look worse, or at least, different than they actually are. On many occasions I have been in the middle of something and then have seen how the news has portrayed it and thought "Jeez, it wasn't even close to that in real life." I have called my landlord and some local businesses and all assure me that everything is fine up there. So I have no idea if I have any readers in or near Iowa, but if I do I was hoping maybe you could comment and give me a realistic assessment of the situation so I will know if I am going there to write or if I'm going there to do relief work. I just kind of want to know what I'm in for.

Also please don't blame me for this Iowans. I can't help it that whenever I go somewhere or am about to go somewhere that dramatic natural and unnatural disasters always seem to occur. I don't really know why that is.

Today I have school and tonight I get to go to a fancy party, but I'll write the second half of the funeral story tomorrow wherein I am blamed for the worst heatwave to hit the East Coast in pretty much ever.


Jen said...

I live in Ames which is in central Iowa, however I know that Iowa City and the Cedar Rapids area are very much devastated by the floods there. I have family that lives in the Waterloo area that were also affected. Lucky for us, none of us had flooding in our homes. But since so many roads and bridges are out, you will have a difficult time getting around.

However, some areas are more affected than others. Obviously any area by the river is going to be affected. The same goes for University of Iowa - lots of damage there.

Yes, the news was actually somewhat accurate -- it is as bad as they say. Our state is in a bad way right now - lost homes and businesses. As well as the loss of a largest portion of our income - farmland that is still flooded.

That said, I still hope you enjoy your visit to Iowa. Even with things so bad, Iowans still dust themselves off and get to work helping our friends and neighbors. And perfect strangers too. We're a fun bunch of people to hang out with, regardless of what everyone else in the country thinks.

Anonymous said...

Is Iowa City a magical latitude/longitude for the writing muses found in Indian Burial Mounds?

Is it the location of the mid-western Algonquin Round Table?

Hope your trip happens and safely.

nuthatch said...

Interstates 80 and 380 were both closed for several days. It's bad when they have to close a major transportation route.
The rivers have crested and I think it's mainly clean-up and recovery.
I live in Des Moines. I'm half tempted to say I wish I could meet you to see the "real" person behind this blog as your stories are way to wild to actually be true.

Anonymous said...

you know what's weird about natural or unnatural disasters preceding you? well, it's weird because sunshine follows me where ever i go. seriously, it's annoying. i will go to seattle get some rain, mid winter, and damn if the sun doesn't shine the entire time i'm there! my cousin has the opposite problem, rain follows her everywhere. I wonder what would happen if we all got together?

Anonymous said...

Summer writing program at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, perhaps?

I've actually been to Iowa twice now, and both times I've been taken aback by how lovely and friendly the people are. I am certain you'll enjoy your time there, as long as things start to dry out a little.

Lauren Winsor Stenmoe said...

I don't know how Iowa's doing. I'm actually wondering the same thing myself, I go down to Coralville (it's right next to Iowa City) in the summer. I heard now it's mostly clean up work now. But you know, going there to vacation helps too. They definitely need business right now, I'm sure.

If no one has told you yet, get someone to point you in the direction of the Hamburg Inn. It's famous and they have AMAZING food. It's in Iowa City so hopefully it hasn't been too damaged.

Liz said...

You and me both--how fitting that I too am going to Iowa, moving there, just when natural disaster strikes. My sister who doesn't want me to go is feeling vindicated. I was just going to email you and ask about whether or not your Iowa City plans were going to be affected. And I'm driving--how am I going to figure out which roads to take? And not just in Iowa, in Missouri and Illinois too? Eeeeeeee! Well, I've got my fingers crossed and I hope to see you in Iowa City next month!

Anonymous said...

Hey. I live in Cedar Rapids. There are certainly some areas in town that were hit hard. But at this point, you can move around without major problems. I think I.C. is about the same. My email is If you want me to send you updates, let me know. I'm more than happy...

booda baby said...

News from many pals in Iowa City is that it's doing okay, although the flood hit the Student Union which is directly across from EPBP (I actually don't know what it's really called, since I always made fun of the name. It's the English-Philosophy joint where writing programs hang.)

Anyway. As long as it doesn't rain again ... eeek.

OOo. Here. I did an animation for a benefit for Iowa/Cedar Rapids flood victims - YouTube compresses the hell out of everything, so I added the link to revver, too).

Anonymous said...

I'm in Des Moines and my parents are in IC. You are fine to visit, but the University art buildings on the river where I spent many happy hours during school are pretty bad from what I hear. But really not much of the city is on the river. You will just have to make some detours.

Anonymous said...

I live in Cedar Rapids, and have relatives in Iowa City as well. It's not a pretty situation, but I think you'll be fine. Travel is somewhat slower than normal, and there are many - well, I hate to say inconveniences, as so many people have lost everything they have, but that's the only way I can describe it. Some areas of the cities look perfectly normal, and others look utterly devastated. I'm sure your writer's workshop will be largely unaffected - U of I is VERY proud of the workshop's long tradition and reputation for excellence. Good luck, and I hope it is amazing for you! I very much enjoy your writing. You're a very talented story teller!

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