Monday, 11 June 2012

Author guestpost: Anne Mendel and the Apocalypse


Anne Mendel is on my blog today with a guestpost about what to do when the apocalypse is over.


Etiquette for an Apocalypse, which Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell kindly reviewed and reviewed kindly, is a post-apocalyptic/ mystery/thriller/comedy. I had many reasons for writing a “harrowing and hilarious” (at least this is what some reviewers say) book. I wrote an apocalyptic book, not because I believe in any particular Apocalypse, but because 64% of Americans aren’t ready to deal with just a three-day emergency. So, not many people are ready to deal with long emergencies. And I do believe that we are headed towards some hard times. That’s why learning skills, like how to tie a good knot and plant a garden are so important now. And of course building personal resilience and making friends with your neighbors (remember to take them chocolate chip cookies today) are key.

Many of us have lost our survival instincts. I would probably last for two or three days in an apocalyptic scenario. It’s a kind of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, thing. I’m the Clark Kent that never figures out how to turn into Superman. My protagonist, Sophie, is my alter ego. She is street smart, practical and resilient. I do know how to waterproof matches and make a fire with pocket lint. I’ve learned how to shoot a gun. I’m very good at reading books on survival. Actually, writing books on survival. But no one, I mean no one, knows who they are until they are faced with a dire situation. The better you are prepared emotionally and physically, and the more flexible you are about working with other people, the more likely you can survive and possibly thrive, which I think my main character does.

Most of my main characters are women but I really think that men and women bring different strengths to a dire situation. It depends on the crisis. If it has to do with competition, violence and aggression I’ll probably choose a man. They have 50% more upper body strength than women and a mass of testosterone. I have a growing appreciation of that. But if we’re talking about compromise and negotiation, cunning and improvisation, I’ll take women. That’s not to say there aren’t remarkable men and women who can do all these things.

Hard times can push all of us to be our best or worst selves. Men, women, families and communities can bond or they can tear apart. That’s where learning resilience skills comes in. For example, I’m working on upping my tolerance for people who drive me crazy. I’m trying to grasp what puts certain people on the short list to extinction. Figure out the skills that make a person valuable in hard times. You know how we make fun on Basketweaving 101 and think Intro to Philosophy 101 is important. Knowing how to basketweave will bond you to your tribe—Knowing about Descartes and existentialism or being charming or beautiful, not so much.

And why did I make Etiquette for an Apocalypse a comedy in the middle of such tragedy. While not as important as clean water and gorp, laughter is a major component of resilience. Going back to bonding with your tribe…if you can make people laugh, they will keep you around, even if you can’t grow things or make a bug catcher for termite soup.  

You can read more about my take on emergency preparedness on my survival guide blog, annemendel.com


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Thanks Anne! I am pretty sure I will not do so well when disaster strikes.

27 comments:

  1. Hard times can push all of us to be our best or worst selves. Men, women, families and communities can bond or they can tear apart. That’s where learning resilience skills comes in. For example, I’m working on upping my tolerance for people who drive me crazy.

    LOL if you figure out how to handle people who drive you crazy let us know how :) I have been working on that one forever!

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    1. Good for you. Peeps that drive me crazy..will they drive me crazy, i should learn that too

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  2. I think I would probably only last two or three days in that type of scenario as well. Unless I found someone to latch on to who had all Sophie's instincts and skills, then I'd make it a bit longer I suspect:)

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    1. To find someone to latch on to would sure be crucial for me

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  3. Thanks Anne, what a lovely post! I think I would survive for about 1-2 hours and then I would be just a fodder for rats...

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    1. Lol, now look here Ana, you would do well, that I know

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  4. thank you so much for this little introduction of your book. I didn't know this one but I'm now very intrigued about it.

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  5. Yeah, I think I'd be pretty much doomed in the case of a disaster.

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  6. Heh... some people can't even last 24 hours. Do you see what happens when a big storm comes? They HAVE to go out to get what they "need" even when we are told it probably wouldn't even last a day.

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  7. LOL! Yeah, I'm like you. My odds of surviving are pretty pathetic. Oh well.

    Love the title and cover for this book.

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  8. Oh wonderful post! And glad to learn more too. I do agree many people aren't ready for a winter storm with electric out for a weekend. This would be a crazy thing to happen then. :) Thank you!

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  9. I would not last very long, of that I'm sure. I'd be the first to get eaten by zombies.

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  10. that cover is a riot!! I might last a few weeks in a zombie apocalypse thanks to my son! Fun guest post!

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  11. I completely agree with you "laughter is a major component of resilience". Love the title of the book and the cover.

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  12. I am completely intrigued by this book now!

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  13. I love this whole post -- I'm totally picking up this book now. I have a friend who is studying public health and is focusing on emergency preparedness and she's a font of awesome disaster info -- she'd love this author as well!

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  14. Lol thanks for this guestpost, and I am pretty sure I do not want to survive the apocalypse at all.

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  15. I already know I don't want to survive the apocalypse take me out in the first wave. Yep I am a wuss! I love the cover of this book and think it sounds so exciting!

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    1. When I think about it..yup I am with you

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  16. What a great guest post, Etiquette for an Apocalypse sounds like a must read and I like the cover.
    I do know how to grow a garden, so I may have a small chance of surviving, for a little while at least.

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  17. Great post! I am scheduled to review this in August and cannot wait!

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  18. Just wondering where that 64% of Americans statistics came from....

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  19. Thanks everyone for stopping by :)

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