Vicki's Book News and Articles


Written by Vicki Hinze

On December 26, 2010

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WARNING:  This is a no-edit zone…


In the past few weeks, and in this week in particular, it’s been a rare note in my inbox that hasn’t been about challenges and from people seeking help to confront them constructively.  America’s state of affairs has a lot of people angry, disillusioned, frustrated and despairing.  How can you create anything when in that state of mind?


Typically, when I’m down, I write humor for balance.  But to be honest, there’s nothing in the current situation funny enough to compensate for all the nonsense now going on, and to make light of where corruption and greed have landed a nation of good people, well, let’s just say that humor is not going to work for me this time.  It’s not working for others, either.   We need more.  But what more?


We need hope that we can turn things around.  Hope that collectively we have the courage and conviction and believe strongly enough in the good to endure what we must endure to regain it.


That’s what we need.  But gauging from the notes and calls I’ve received, the stretch from where we are to where we need to be to create is too huge a gap to reach direct.  So first we need to bridge the gap.




Sounds impossible, but it’s not.  There are a few adjustments we can make that will help us do it:


.                1.Don’t despair. Yes, the economy is a wreck.  But it has been a wreck six times since the Civil War.  All six times, reportedly, directly related to credit.  Can we slide into a Depression?  Yes, if we don’t learn from the mistakes made by FDR in the Great Depression.  (Those errors reportedly caused the depression to last longer than it would have.  One key error?  Raising taxes.  There were many errors, but FDR had little to go on; the world had changed a lot since the last time of trouble.  It took over 20 years for things to get back on track, and they only did then because of World War II.  We don’t want that, so we need to learn the lessons from history.)  If we do learn, we won’t slide into depression.  My point:  This is bad, but we’ve been here (and in worse places) before and we got through it.  It’s not easy or fun or painless, but we have endured, survived and prospered–and we will again, if we have the will and backbone to learn and follow through and do it.

.                2.Don’t fear. Too often, we run on feelings that are based on hearing snippets.  Unfortunately, the majority of the mainstream media has forgotten journalists are supposed to offer unbiased facts.  Don’t bother complaining.  It hasn’t worked for a decade.  A response I’ve found that does work is in realizing we encourage this conduct by supporting those sources.  So instead, get informed by reliable sources that are not subject to influence and free from bias, like voting records, like bills sponsored.  Invest in gaining knowledge you can rely on.  That will guide you and aid in settling your fears.

.                3.Don’t follow. This is a time when you don’t want to follow but to forge your own path.  It’s not that you must be militant, but it is a time when you’d be wise to guard your mind and guard against taking things at face value.  Your character and your views require your character and your views.  They also require your conviction and your courage.  When you’re putting such significant things on the line, it shouldn’t be because someone else thinks it’s the right thing to do.  It should be because you think it’s the right thing to do.

.                4.Don’t tolerate. I’ve gotten a ton of mail about corruption and greed and disgust with what’s happening, why it’s happening, about double standards, deceit, deception, blame and the lack of accountability and responsibility.  There’s merit and fault, of course.  But in all these cases, that fault also falls squarely on us.  Why?  Because we allowed it.  We tolerated it.  So if we don’t like it, we need to object to it.  Take a stand.  Be intolerant.  What we tolerate, we condone.  What we condone, we by default adopt.  We’re finding out we’ve adopted a lot by default that we don’t like, but all the blame for that doesn’t belong pointed in other directions.  We have to ask ourselves, what did I do, or not do, to stop it?  And most importantly, what am I going to do now?

.                5.Stiffen your spine. We’ve always endured and overcome hardships.  We’ve pulled on inner strength and resolve and courage and conviction and grit.  We’ve stood up.  We’re better and wiser and stronger for having done so and not once have we done so without costs.  Some paid with blood.  Many paid with discomfort.  The point is, we paid the costs.  And doing so has given us the opportunity to see the world we’ve created–by our actions or inactions–and ourselves.  That’s an opportunity to hone and refine.  A chance to redefine.  What do we want?  Who are we?  These are questions we can’t answer, or don’t answer when we’re not tested.

.                6.Act. After looking at these things, if you don’t like what you see, then take action to ensure a better outcome.  Resolve to do what you must do to be at peace with having acted on what you must to achieve the solutions or objectives you believe should be achieved and embraced.  Talk is cheap.  Everyone has words.  But words without action accomplish nothing.  That’s worth remembering.  So if you’re not happy, act.




Now, having done these things, you’re in a better, more balanced place.  It’s not that you’ve gained control over the situation, it’s that you’ve gained control over you.  You’ve plugged into your place, examined the situation, developed your opinions, and acted on them.

That frees your mind.  The troubles haven’t gone away, but you now have a clearer understanding of them and a better grasp on the big picture.  You’re doing what you can.  That’s what matters.  In that, you can find peace and balance.


You’ve now bridged the gap.  What’s next?


Take a break.  Get away from the noise and chatter of what’s going on and clear your mind.    Watch kids play.  Smell the air.  Go to the beach and watch the water.  Listen to the waves  lap against the shore and let their steady rhythm calm you.  Sit on a pier, swing your legs and dip your feet in the water.  Crawl in a hammock in the back yard and listen to the birds sing.  Crank up music you love and just be for a while.  Take joy in just breathing.  Be still.  Whatever stills your mind is what I’m suggesting.  This rejuvenates you, heals you.  Internal riots require healing.


Look, these are tough times and we’re tough people.  So here’s probably the best advice I can share:

If you wait for a perfect time to write, you’ll die of old age without having written.  There are no perfect times.  We’re human.  We’re messy.  What we do, we do in spite of what’s going on in our lives and in the world around us.  Sometimes that’s harder than others.  That’s an absolute.     When you get past the noise, this is what’s left:

Writers write.

So do what you can–you’re a part of the world in which you live–get yourself mentally balanced.  Whether that’s a walk in a park, sitting at the beach, listening to music–do whatever you do that calms you.  I can’t over-stress the value of being still for a while and letting go of everything that has you stressed.

When you have, then sit down and write.  Channel residual emotions into the writing.  Infuse it.  Just write.

And I’ll bet six months down the road, when you go back and read what you wrote, you won’t know that you wrote it when in chaos.

Why not?

Because writers tumble into a zone when writing.  Where these things and events impact is in getting to the zone, but once writers do, then that place is one where the writers and their characters and stories rule.  All of the writer and what s/he brings to the page takes hold, and the rest of the world, for a time, sort of falls away.

The key to creating is unleashing creativity.  Perspective, knowledge, action, and being still are powerful tools in cutting the ties that bind it.  So is remembering that we’ve been here before and recovered and we’ve escaped to the zone and created . . . even when in chaos.




©2008, Vicki Hinze


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