Sandy, Iowa and the week that it was!

Spring Rain
Spring Rain (Photo credit: Quiltsalad)

Once again rain is washing Saturday morning away across the dreamy streets of suburbia. Thousands of tiny droplets whirl with the wind filling the air with heavy scent of wet grass and moist leaves. Spring dance.

Interlacing fingers around the hot cup of coffee, I am thinking of the week that it was. And it was a week of some worries and some surprises, some laughter and some tears … just like life itself -:)!

Hurricane Sandy caused havoc in some parts of the Caribbean and the USA. Watching the news during the week caused no end of worry.  Seeing the trail of devastation; thousands of destroyed homes, millions of people left without power, heat, services, at least dozen dead, disturbed and worried me. For all those affected, and for people I got to know in the USA through the Lantern. Checking their blogs helped to know they are safe.

New Zealand news followed the events very closely and reported over twenty states affected by the hurricane in some way, and billions of dollars in damage. While such huge costs are certainly unwelcome news even for the USA economy, what really matters are human lives and effects on those who lost their loved ones, and their homes. As always, and after any disaster, recovery is the hardest for those who have to put together pieces made not from bricks and mortar, but from human hearts, pieces interwoven together with the tread of love and belonging. May the humanity of those nearby be of aid and comfort to you all.

In the time of upheavals and crisis humans extend helping hand to each other’s in a way not otherwise encountered. Whenever there is a force at work that causes collective sufferings, and against which humans are powerless, we reach to and for each other’s. Amongst pictures of destructions that dominated the news, there was a snapshot showing a hand-written note pinned to the fence in front of the house with words; ‘we have power, charge your cell phones here’ on it! There were stories of people’s bravery and stories of selflessness. The resilience, heroism and humanity of every day folk remain astonishing and humbling. The latest news is that legendary New York marathon has been canceled, although in the last moment.

While the global news coverage focused primarily on the USA, the same hurricane pounded Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, leaving massive destruction in its wake. Although some 200,000 homes were damaged by the hurricane in Cuba, in the Bahamas the total cost of damage is estimated at $300m,(higher than damage caused by hurricane Irene), and Haitian’s third largest city has been flooded causing exacerbation of a Cholera epidemic, precious little has been reported. It sadness me to note lack of stories in the main stream media about resilience, courage and humanity of Caribbean people, or how they will restore their economies. Let us hope the international community will be there to help them recover.

On the home front; between juggling my work, helping my all-grown-up daughter to organize her upcoming transfer from high school to University, and always searching for some additional hours in each day … a surprise has found me! And since it is such a pleasant surprise, I can’t help myself but share it with everyone on the Lantern!

Wellington’s Victoria University is home to the International Institute of Modern Letters. The Institute promotes and foster contemporary imaginative writing and its graduates are among New Zealand’s leading contemporary writers. The Institute offers range of specialised undergraduate workshops, Master of Arts in creative writing and since 2008 PhD programme in creative writing, and has growing international presence.

During January/February of next year the Institute offers a special workshop taught by outstanding Creative Writing graduates from the University of Iowa. Over the summer of 2012/13 two graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop will convene prose and poetry workshop. The Iowa Writer’s Worship is America’s oldest and most prestigious creative writing programme, and numbers among its graduates a dozen winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

The enrolment is limited to only 12 students and is based on quality of written work submitted as a part of application.

When I first read about the Iowa Workshop, my first thought was; ‘it would be nice to be there’, followed by the usual If … If I do not have to work, If life is not so busy, If my writing is good enough … over the years I have developed rather extensive lists of ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’.

However, this time a thought stayed with me. Thanks to several factors, notably a push from a friend, and a glow from the Lantern, I did submit samples of my writing. That was some weeks ago. I received an email notifying me of acceptance this week. Here is the excerpt from that email:

‘ …on behalf of …, has advised me that you have been accepted for this course.  Congratulations on gaining a place. We do have a waiting list so please reply to this email as soon as possible to advise whether or not you are able to take up the place …’

I could not quite believe what I was reading. So I phoned them, and still they confirmed it!

I am still in a state of disbelief … only now with the additional worries about how to organize my work around it.

And what is more … the samples of work I sent are the short stories and poetry published here on the Lantern!

Could you believe this?

Let me know your thoughts … I really do need them!







Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

35 thoughts on “Sandy, Iowa and the week that it was!”

  1. That really is lovely! Congratulations my friend on securing such a prestigious place and I hope you will be able to find extra hours everyday in the 24 that we have to do all you must 🙂
    On the destruction and loss of life, it is beyond comprehension and maybe someday we will be able to detect with precision the nature, strength and paths of these natural disasters so no one is found on its way. Any life lost is a loss for us all!
    I hope the all grown up girl is looking forward to be at the university and shares a sense of humour and insight as her lovely mum 🙂


    1. Hi there my friend -:)!

      Thank you very, very much! Your on-going support and encouragement means a lot to me.

      You are indeed right, any loss of life is loss to us all. As Donne wrote so long ago: “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee …”

      The grown up girl is excited and mum is bracing herself for what is shaping to be long periods of absence … for the first time this year she is living away from me due to her schooling and my job … I was hoping she might come to Wellington for University, but she wants to do health science in Dunedin … and mum is going to miss her painfully … actually here is how much

      Thank you,
      Kind Regards,


  2. FANTASTIC news Daniela! Congratulations. Isn’t it simply amazing when a door suddenly swings open? Wonderful acknowledgement of the quality of your work on Lantern Post.



  3. Exciting news!!! Congratulations! I’ve heard of the prestigious Iowa Workshop before. A few famous Chinese writers (including my professor at university) were invited to attend the US Iowa workshop and they often spoke highly of the experiences, and the impacts on their writing and their visions have been tremendous. This workshop is going to be exciting and challenging for a serious writer like you. Congratulations again!!! (I’ve used too many exclamation marks, unlike my normal self.)


    1. Dear Janet,

      I am very grateful for your kind words and a wonderful encouragement. Your support is special for me because you and I, as well as many other non-English speaking writers, know well precarious and sometimes capricious waters of writing in a second language. And I love your exclamation marks!
      Thank you very, very much -:)!

      Kind Regards,


  4. Congratulations! From the first post of yours that I read I knew you had already become an excellent writer and future famous author. I also know that with your determination you will find a way to fit everything into your busy life. Good luck with all your endeavors.


  5. Wow!!!! Awesome, Daniela!!! Congratulations! Sometimes things work out right. Deserving people get what they deserve, and here you go! You SHOULD have a place in this workshop, and you do! I am thrilled for you. 🙂


    1. Thank you so much my dear -:)!
      You were one of the first people I thought of when I received a news … I wanted you to know!
      Your support means a lot to me!
      Many thanks,


      1. I’m feeling so incredibly happy for you!
        and delighted that you thought of me to share the news! (remember…. you can always email if you want to share just a little something that isn’t post-able, too. I’d love to hear from you.)
        and someday… I just know it… we will meet and chat in person. 🙂 Kathy


  6. Hi Daniela, so nice to see that you talk about the other countries affected by ‘sandy’ as well. Just mentioning it, because I found people here in Australia seemed surprised when I highlighted it, they only seemed to know about the US. Also, so very rarely do we hear about the beating nature and especially wild life takes when things like this happen, we hear about human and financial loses in human buildings only 😦


    1. Hi Birgit,

      I purposely searched for information about Caribbean because the hurricane hit them hard too and they often receive very little if any attention of the media. While human sufferings are the same everywhere, we mostly hear about those countries most attractive to reporters. And the USA is of course very attractive not only because of the devastation hurricane cause but also because of presidential elections.

      And yes I agree we also hear precious little about sufferings of natural life and habitats.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting!


  7. Well done, Daniela. Congratulations on being accepted for the summer workshops at IIML. You’ll have a fabulous summer–I’m so excited for you. Are you doing the poetry or the short fiction workshop?


    1. Hi Janet -:)!

      Thank you so much … you know I would really, really love if you are there with me like we were in our original class! I have been accepted for both (could you believe it?) but realistically I can only do one. I think I am going to do prose … maybe I’ll sneak in poetry class sometime -:)! Will let you know how it all goes!

      Many thanks,


    1. Thank you SO MUCH -:)

      I will write about it on the Lantern so everyone who is interested can find out about the course, and maybe find it beneficial for their own writings.

      Kind Regards,


  8. Daniela,
    First, thank you for your words on the recent natural disasters from Cuba to New York. With help from each other, they will rise and be stronger for living through this nightmare.
    Now on to your extremely exciting news, a warm congratulations and I can see you in the class now sharing, learning and growing..
    Very happy for you indeed


    1. Dear Lynne,

      Thank you very much -:)! It is really all down to wonderful people, like you, who extended their support and encouragement to me ever since I ignited the Lantern! So thank YOU -:)!

      Take Care,


  9. This is truly stupendous news! Congratulations Daniela. I am so impressed and can’t wait to hear more about your fantastic experience. I am also proud that I chose you to follow. I have excellent taste and know good writing when I see it. 🙂


  10. Daniela, this is wonderful! The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a premiere program, second to none. This opportunity will be of great benefit to you…and honestly, you will also be of great benefit to them. Welcome this with confidence, with a full heart and open arms.
    Congratulations, dear Daniela!


  11. I am glad hurricane sandy is over.
    And my hearty congrats on your acceptance!!! You deserve it and much more….
    Loads of luck!


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