Moving past the storm

Creative outlet helps cope with aftermath of Hurricane Harvey


Photo by Angela Valle

Story by Victoria Van, entertainment editor

Sirens cry out as the hurricane’s rain continuously pours down inch by inch, uprooting anything in its path. Water fills the reservoirs of drawers and cabinets, leaving behind the memories her family has created. Waking from her sleep, her eyes abruptly open as she frantically wakes up her family. Floodwater gauges the room until the rescue boats arrive to take the family into a safe haven away from the utter chaos.

Freshman Paula Landor made the transition from Beaumont, Texas to Texarkana after the devastating Hurricane Harvey left her town in shambles. Landor’s initial reaction was calm until the nightmare came to fruition.

“When I first heard that Harvey was coming, I knew that it was going to be bad. The trailer where my mom lived was near a dam so my family thought we’d be ok,” Landor said. “When I woke up, the water was flooding my bedroom and I had to wake up my mom and siblings. My family had to wait for a rescue boat to come or else there wouldn’t have been a way out of the hurricane.”

In Landor’s spare time, she wrote short stories as an escape from her normal, everyday life. The chaos of Hurricane Harvey disrupted the sole piece of tranquility she could grasp before the disaster struck.

“Writing wasn’t interesting to me until I realized that it’s my passion. I knew that writing my own stories helped me deal with the hardships in my life but the hurricane took away the source of my creativity, for a time at least.”

Upon realizing her journal filled with each story she’s ever written was submerged in the flood, disappointment registered her face and she knew the result was inevitable.

“At that point, I realized it was too late to go back and I left my journal and the series I spent so long on were gone. The hurricane completely flooded our whole home without any remorse or anything.”

Landor’s unstable home life contributes to the source of her untapped imagination in writing stories to combat the negative in her life. The product of her most recent writing was inspired by Hurricane Harvey’s impact on her life.

My family had to wait for a rescue boat to come or else there wouldn’t have been a way out of the hurricane.”

— Landor

“When I was younger I had bad encounters with my father and was taken away from my mom, so my way of expressing my frustrations and emotions were through writing in my journal,” Landor said. “I wrote about everything happening in my life and eventually it spiraled into my story writing. My latest story is called ‘Hurricane Harvey.’”

Writing is a tool for releasing hidden emotions and releasing the thoughts in her mind that otherwise would have been left stranded.

“When I would get in trouble, I would get everything taken away from me. I used to be in dance, cheerleading and karate but my dad took me out of it. After leaving me with nothing, my journal helped me create stories that I felt could help me find a way out of the difficult situations in my life.”

Despite Landor’s hardships in life, her coping mechanism of writing stories provides her with a sense of comfort by journaling her imaginative skills. Landor wishes to spread the note of staying positive during times when negativity clouds the beauty in life. Her message of discovering a creative outlet instead of taking anger out has led Landor to think more openly and realize her potential for new ideas.

“I want to convey the message that no matter how bad your background is or how much pain you’ve undergone, there’s always an opportunity to make it better through simple things in life,” Landor said. “I didn’t believe writing would help me until I actually started thinking of ways to occupy my time by releasing the negativity through words.”