Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Once Upon a Time. . .

  • There was a little house that sat at a crossroads, surrounded by wheat fields. . . . The house is no more.
  • There was a car, servicing the family needs. . . . It is no more.
  • There was a couple at the center of a family's focus. . . . They are no more, at least in this world. (my maternal grandparents)

Seasons change, people change, and time marches on.

I've spent a lot of time down Memory Lane this summer, starting with my trip to Kansas. My sister talked a lot about that house among the wheat fields where I spent my first few months of life and of which I have no memory.

Lately my mom and I have been going through hundreds of slides she took in the 50s and 60s. I've been scanning many into the computer to preserve them, and I'm finding numerous interesting scenes like this one of our Ohio farm from the early 50s. These buildings are now all gone and my house sits at the bottom of the hill on the far side of the road to the right.

Often it is hard to accept change. We prefer to keep things as they have been and preserve the memories we have that are peaceful, comforting, and good, believing those times were better, safer, and easier. But change is necessary for us to grow as individuals and to make room for the new.

Buildings and vehicles deteriorate until they can no longer be maintained or useful. People age as part of nature's course and move on to their eternal home.

It is good to revisit the past, but we can't live there. We must live in the present.

Recently I've dealt with some author attitudes that come across as "what I write was good enough to get me published # years ago. Why won't you buy my stuff now?" I have to answer, "things change." A writer has to move with the flow of change. If we baulk against change, then our writing and our message will soon become dated and disconnected from today's reader.

If you are having trouble selling a manuscript in today's market, you might ask yourself if your writing has moved along with cultural changes or if you are writing the same as you did # years ago.

We are people of the present, and we must learn to embrace the time and place in which we now reside in order to be relevant to others in our relationships, our Christian witness, and our writing.

"Dear Lord, thank You that You are unchanging. Help us, though, to recognize that change is a part of the human reality. We must change in order to grow, and we must grow in order to serve You to the best of our God-given potential. May we live out each day to Your glory. Amen."


Jess said...

Oh Becky, what a wonderful post. It made me yearn for what used to be. When I go home, everything is so different I can't help but get a little depressed. My dad's gone. He used to plant sunflowers for me in his garden. He was so quiet--we never knew what he was thinking.
My mom is a recluse. The aunts, uncles and cousins still alive barely speak to each other. I realize if I'd stayed there, raised my children there--we'd all be different. Not for the best, I'm afraid.

Sometimes I'm glad to be so introspective, the quiet observer. A few months ago, I realized I was one of those writers you're talking about. I kept thinking (and sometimes saying) 'this is the way we used to do it ...' Thank God my crit partners didn't throw me out... so I'd better praise God for Lisa, Janelle, Sandra and Marcia. LOL How do they ever put up with me?

Thank you too. Your post blessed me.

Vickie said...

Great advice--about growing and adapting to new things.


Lynette Sowell said...

Amen. Change is hard sometimes (I look ahead to five years from now when the kids are gone). We like our routines, the way things are. But thanks for the reminder that we should always be trying to grow as writers, and trying to read what's new, and keep an eye on what's coming out soon. :)

Mary Connealy said...

CHANGE...good heavens what a change has occurred in my life this year.
I moved my baby (she HATES when I call her that) off to college two weeks ago.
We got home from moving her out and my husband Ivan and I sat there on the couch watching bad TV for about an hour, then Ivan says, "So, we've got about 40 more years of this before we die, right?"
Along with not being primarily a mother anymore...four kids, all adults...I'm also a published author. I consider it God's perfect season of life. The books coming right as the children grow up.
A huge change, I'm sure I'll adjust somewhat, and I love being published and I love the relationship I have with my adult daughters.
But it's huge.
I also spend time last weekend with my husband's mom, one of my best friends, going through really old pictures she found.
She's 88 and some of these are eighty year old pictures, and lots of my husband and his older brothers and ... well, it was a trip into the past. I loved it, but my MIL took it pretty hards.
She said, 'my children are grown and everyone else is dead.' She was sorting them to give to her seven sons and I think she quit, she just couldn't enjoy the process. She's lost almost everyone of her age she knows in the last few years, including her husband.
So change, it comes for everyone.

Jennifer Johnson said...

Your words are so true, Becky. I'm young still (or at least I feel 34 is young) and I find myself having a hard time with change. But you're right. We MUST change. Our children grow through various stages, as do our bodies. The world is spinning in constant change, how can I not expect my beloved writing market to change as well? Hopefully, always for the better.

I just finished my last contracted Heartsong. I hope my writing gets better with each one...and that I constantly grow more and more connected with readers.

Right now, I feel life is near chaos for most people...or at least people at my stage in writing needs to address that. It must always connect, reflect, and encourage.

Thanks for the post.

Carrie Turansky said...

Thanks for sharing these important thoughts about change. I appreciated this very much.

Steve A said...

Those pictures sure brought back some memories for me. Great post.