trackingmap.jpgThis picture shows a magnetic hurricane tracking chart. One exactly like this used to hang in my grandparents’ home. Almost every time we were there, one or more of us would mess around with the little magnets on it. And invariably, we would make a dotted line leading directly to the Galveston/Houston area.
(In my parents’ home, we used the paper tracking charts that the news stations printed every year. No magnets to play with.)
If you didn’t grow up on the Gulf Coast, this is probably completely foreign to you. But tracking hurricanes was something that happened every year. Sometimes, those little magnets were vitally important. Sometimes, there were many of them, showing multiple hurricanes and storms moving throughout the Atlantic basin.
It was normal. It was the way we lived.
Today, with the internet, we can pull up the charts and tracks from the National Hurricane Center at any moment. We can see it on our weather apps. We’ve upgraded a little bit.
But the hurricanes are the same. They show up and cause devastation.
Harvey derailed most of our plans around here. We were extremely fortunate to be one of the homes in our town that did not flood (7,700 did!). But it’s played havoc with everything else in our lives. My business has taken a huge hit and may not recover. Hundreds of our friends lost part or all of their homes. We’ve all become experts at tearing out sheet rock and insulation.
I had a goal on my current novel writing to reach 50,000 words by September 9th. That didn’t happen. It still hasn’t happened. Harvey arrived two weeks before that day and everything changed. We lost tons of sleep, from which we haven’t fully recovered. We hurried out in the aftermath to help our family, our friends, our neighbors. Our church ran a shelter, organized work crews, and a distribution center. We have/had dozens of people from other states show up to help out. Writing, and many other things, got pushed to the background.
Normalcy, such as it is, is slowly peeking over the edge of reality, asking if it can come back. I don’t know. It might, but I think it’ll be changed. You don’t go through something like this without changing.
I’ve written a few hundred words in the past week or so. Starting to get back into my story. I thought I knew what was happening.
And then my protagonist did something totally stupid and almost got himself killed. That wasn’t in the outline.
Neither was Harvey. Huh. Art imitates life.

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