They can’t feed people, shelter them, or give them drinkable water.

A whole lot of things seem a whole lot more important this week than stories — writing them, revising them, sending queries for them. Over the past several days I tried to keep doing all three, but my numbness at what Katrina has wrought finally gave way to realization and horror.

I’ll be taking a vacation from all things writing, including blogging, for at least a few days. Among other things, that will help me and my family consider and act on ways that we might be of some help to those devastated by the hurricane.

Last night I e-mailed the regional advisors of the SCBWI chapters covering New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport and Mobile to see if there’s anything in particular that their members need, anything that my family or our friends here in Austin can provide. If I do hear of anything, I’ll interrupt my break from blogging and post that here.

Kim recommends
the picture book River Friendly, River Wild as a way to help young readers understand natural disasters like Katrina. That’s an excellent choice. And I’ve got a recommendation to add to hers: Smoky Night, which finds some hope in an episode of violent urban turmoil. I can only pray that when the nightmare in New Orleans abates, some such stories will emerge.

Take care this weekend, be safe, and help if you can.