Writing about the flood

I got the chance to write an article this week that was especially meaningful to me. My editor at NurseZone asked me to write a story about nurses responding to help people during the flood (you know, the flood of historical proportions) here in Nashville.

So I was able to write about the way that my husband and several of our neighbors all responded when a woman went into labor when our subdivision was an island in a vast sea of floodwaters. I know that I already wrote a little bit about it on this blog last week, but if you want to read a more detailed report, here is
“Neighbors Form Medical Team to Deliver a Baby.”

It was really a wonderful experience to interview those nurses for the article. I already knew what they had accomplished; this was the chance to find out how they were feeling while they were in the midst of the moment. And I have that much more respect for them because I know what the conditions were like when they were gathering in a darkened house to help a desperate woman deliver a baby. I was just down the street, watching the same rain fall and worrying what was coming next.

I’m a big believer in striving for objectivity in reporting factual stories, but sometimes it just makes more sense to let your heart give you some guidance. That’s what I did for this article. Most, if not all, of the articles that I write for NurseZone are fairly dispassionate reports of what’s happening in the health care industry. I write a lot of news stories, with the occasional feature thrown in for good measure. With the news stories, I don’t want to say that they’re “just the facts, ma’am.” But they’re pretty straightforward. They’re well-researched, logical and structured. But this story was different. I wanted this story to be a “Hey, Martha” story. I think that’s what Miami journalist and author Edna Buchanan called a story that really reached out and grabbed you…you might be reading it at the breakfast table, and you’d say, “Hey, Martha, listen to this.” I wanted people to read my story and say, “Wow. That must have been quite an experience.” I wanted readers to feel a little bit of the anxiety–and the exhiliration–that the people in the story experienced. It was also nice to give a shout-out to some really remarkable neighbors of mine. (We’re all talking about getting together for a party later this spring. I hope we do.)

But it was especially nice to get the opportunity to write about something that really touched me, personally. I was able to really feel for the woman in labor, since I just had a baby myself and could imagine myself in her situation. And I was sitting right here in my house when I got the email that our neighbor sent out, looking for doctors and nurses, and I was the one who pushed my husband out the door to go help out. I really relished the chance to get to write about something that I knew, really knew, was special. Not that I don’t care about the other topics that I write about. I do. But this was just a little different. I remember feeling a sense of relief when my husband burst into the house and shouted, “We have a new baby in Traceside!” It was a wonderful experience, to get to write about that.

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About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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One Response to Writing about the flood

  1. Diane says:

    Excellent article!

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