Vicki's Book News and Articles

Shortages, Gougers, and Writing Discoveries

Written by Vicki Hinze

On July 18, 2005

Warning: this is an edit-free zone…

The past two weeks, the pressure has been on. Produce the book on time and endure a hurricane (and the kids evacuating, which is just as scary considering road rage during tense times) and get ready for a national conference. It’s been a work full out in warp-speed mode couple of weeks.

For grins, I pulled out my calendar from last year just before the national conference, and the year before, and the year before that. And I discovered something that tickled my funnybone and made me thwap myself. It’s been nuts every year right before a conference.

Lesson learned: one should slow down and review specific warp-speed times on a regular basis. Perhaps then scheduling can be eased so that one isn’t working into the ground to keep to a schedule.

That aside, the hurricane has past and finally all my children are back home AND have power restored. Now, there is no gasoline. The stations that aren’t out have been shut down for price-gouging. So there’s a critical shortage everywhere.

The blessing is both Lloyd H and I work at home, so we might not have noticed. But one son is a distance driver to his job, and so is our son-in-law. A woman in a store said today that the authorities should have someone else come in and sell the gas in the stations that have been closed for gouging. I don’t see that as feasible, since they’re privately owned, but it is a shame that people are in this fix. It appears that 75% of the monthly allotment of fuel was used in the two days before the hurricane evacuating tourists. That’s important, too. And the barge couldn’t get through to come fill the tanks that supply the stations. So now, we have a bit of a fix that we didn’t have after Hurricane Opal (in which we suffered far more extensive damage). FEMA was supposed to have prepositioned fuel trucks–and I suspect they did because near the Interstate one is able to buy 1/4 tank of gas.

Anyway, enough of the fuel challenges. We’ll stay parked until normalcy is restored, and if one of the kids runs out going to/from work, we’ll retrieve them. It’s early in the season, and I’m already sick of storms. Emily isn’t coming here, and for that, I am grateful. Instead, it appears to be heading toward my mother-in-law. Given the choice I’d take it here. She’s 88, and pretty determined not to evacuate. With nubs for nails over the kids, I guess I’ll be gnawing knuckles until Emily has passed and I know she’s okay.

I’m really ticked off at the gougers. Everything from gas to chainsaws to generators and ice. It’s pathetic. But I’ll tell something. The stores doing it will find after this time of crisis that they have far fewer customers. Word gets around, and people remember those who took advantage of them. I just can’t figure out why an established business would do something so stupid. But they have.

The book, I’m thrilled to say, is written. I’ve started the final read today. It’s odd, this book. I’ve written pretty close to forty–maybe a few more or less, I quit tracking them a while back–and I’ve never cried my way through one before. I don’t cry easily or often. But I have wept my heart out with this woman through her entire journey.

At first, I worried that that was a bad thing. But then I backed off and looked at it and realized that there are all kinds of tears in this book. Tears of frustration, of happiness, of shock–tender tears, and ones of discovery and ones claiming victory and defeat and ones of pure joy. A lot of different emotions, a lot of different tears. And I walked away from the complete manuscript thinking, this is a good thing. To be my age with my experiences and to weep all those different kinds of tears because this woman and her experiences and journey–all the highs and lows and ups and downs–touched my heart.

I believe that in every book is an opportunity to discover something about yourself. More than anything, in this book I discovered my heart can still be touched by many things. With so much of the world jaded and cynical, I find that very reassuring. Now, as I’m doing the final read on it, I’m praying that when other readers read this book, their hearts too are touched.

If that should happen, I will be one very happy writer.



Vicki Hinze



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