Conversations with Creative Souls

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How to Use Silly to cope with a Natural Disaster – Interview by Jedda Bradley


Ten BIG, medium and tiny Questions for June….who lived through the terrifying nail-biting cyclone Yasi that hit the Cassowary Coast of North Queensland and then she had to clean the s*** up. Really not fair! I mean, it’s bad enough going to a scary movie and having to remember to take my popcorn box and my coke container to the bin but this kind of clean up you can’t even get the hoover out and just let it suck everything up.

So June….

1) What implement is most effective in cleaning up after a cyclone?

If you have one, or can borrow one, a chainsaw!

2) What clothes are best for cleaning up after a cyclone? And if you had to create a brand of unique clothes just for cleaning up after a cyclone what would you call it?

Anything you’d paint your house in and don’t care about, because it can get messy and sweaty. Hat and protective gloves, and reasonable boots would be helpful.

I have no idea what I’d call a clothing brand that was made for cyclone clean ups. I do know I would like such a brand to be non-profit, designed by comedians, and given out by Council, Red Cross and charities.

It would be great to have a funny, inspirational and educational clean up tshirt with reminders on the back like ‘take care with power lines, drink plenty of fluid, don’t do too much, help a friend, be kind to the SES, etc’ and a space for people to write on the tshirt their own personal saying or slogan with a fabric pen.

I wonder what Hamish and Andy would call a clothing brand.

3) Who was with you during the cyclone? Did you get ring crunch because you had forgotten to take off your wedding ring and were holding David’s hand too tightly?

My hubby, our three kids, four pet guinea pigs, our lovable but crazy bird Peep (who took off to bring other birds to our house for shelter), and two pet quails.

You know I don’t wear a ring as my hands swell up and react to a lot of jewelry so it is usually in my pocket, around my neck or in a drawer.

As for holding David’s hand I was too busy keeping myself and the children calm by making sure we had snacks, conserved the power on the torches, listened to the radio updates etc. David was busy securing doors at one stage and working out the safest spots in the house.

4) What were the thoughts that went through your mind during the cyclone? The worst thought, the scariest thought, the silliest thought?

Worst thought – the house is going to blow away, scariest thought – we have absolutely no control over this natural event – silliest thought – I could really do with some chocolate.

5) Three big noises you heard during the storm?

Bits of tin blowing around outside, the so called cyclone shutters peeling off the windows and the front and back doors blowing open and letting the full on sound of the wind through even more.

6) What action of kindness sticks in your mind during the aftermath of Yasi?

The surprising and spontaneous acts like people we didn’t know giving friends of theirs cash to give us, and some handmade quilts turning up on the doorstop of the house we had to move to on the day we moved in.

We had a batch of ute angels help us move house. Some friends came down from Cairns and bought a generator with them (we were out of power for some time after the cyclone.)

7) Who made you laugh first after the shock had worn off and what did they say/do?

Okay David made a really sick joke after the cyclone.

‘We wasted an opportunity we could have broken the world guinea pig tossing record during the cyclone.’

*this crazy image of world breaking guinea pigs having a triumphant world record was so off beat and so outrageously irreverent he made me laugh.

[please note we love our guinea pigs although three of them later died in a heat wave two years later and one of cancer. They became quite famous on my blogs. One now lives with my daughter’s best friend and a tribe of other guinea pigs]

8) Did you find yourself having to do something silly just to remind yourself you were still alive? What was it?

Yes, that would be keeping a video blog and signing off like we were in a reality show. David videoed our toilet flush! It was hilarious watching that back much later when we were preparing a documentary.

9) What one object do you have today that you keep to remind you of Yasi? What does the object mean to you?

There’s not an object from the cyclone as such, but more the gifts of kindness people gave us, like a butterfly covered quilt and a smooth stone heart in a pouch that someone sent us.

10) This book is dedicated to the people of the Cassowary Coast (Cardwell,Mission Beach, Tully, Lower Tully) and their life after Yasi. How would you like this book to affect those people?

I hope it will encourage them to continue to be even more close-knit, and never lose that community spirit that was strengthened during cyclone yasi. If anything they could keep building it between cyclones and other tests the community might have.

I hope with time even more of them will record their stories of the cyclone and recovery of their own families and what they learnt from the process. There are quite a few cyclone books out there now, but everyone has their own unique experience that is quite meaningful to them.

Ok I said ten questions… consider this a half question – where can I buy your new unique brand of cyclone clothing just in case?

Thanks for flying in June! i’ve loved talking with you!

The book tour…/09/after-yasi-blog-tour/
After Yasi | Simple Book Production

This interview first appeared on Jedda Bradley’s facebook page.

You can find Jedda Bradley by clicking  HERE

Related post HERE

4 comments on “How to Use Silly to cope with a Natural Disaster – Interview by Jedda Bradley

  1. June
    February 9, 2015

    Reblogged this on Blogs by Bahais and commented:

    Thanks to Jedda for this interview.

  2. pearlz
    February 11, 2015

    Reblogged this on After Yasi and commented:
    A full transcript of the interview with Jedda.

  3. Kathy
    March 2, 2015

    June, I read this with utter fascination. It’s so hard to imagine what it would be like to live through a cyclone. The interview was fun and I laughed at the guinea pig joke. (We had one ourselves.) You hear stories about how people’s hearts so often open up after a natural disaster. It sounds like that happened with you and many of your neighbors.

  4. June
    March 2, 2015

    Thanks Kathy, lovely to have you visit. It was an incredible experience which I will never forget. Yes, hubby is a funny man. We are actually writing a comedy together. Which reminds me I better go and do some working on our plans. It won’t be featuring guinea pigs..

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2015 by in Writer Interviews and tagged , , , , .
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