Monday, January 16, 2017

I have to admit…change is a good thing.

Change – something I’ve always had an aversion to…and never really appreciated. I have my reasons and they are likely all textbook answers, but as the character, Popeye, is famous for saying, “I Yam What I Yam.”

There is change we can’t control – no question. But we can try to control how we react to it. What’s the saying? It’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to it that matters. Life is a river…sometimes a stream and sometimes a torrent, but it is always, without question, changing.

Butterfly enjoying the Butterfly Bush
Whether we like it or not.

Then there’s the change we can control. What our New Year’s intentions are usually all about. For me, changing my routine can be a daunting task or just plain uncomfortable, but I know I’ll regret not sticking with a plan when it’ll be good for me and I know the benefits will offer positive results.

I got to thinking how ironic it is that while I really don’t like change, I wrote a series with a character who is literally thrust into a new perspective about her life after she loses her job, moves back to her hometown, starts not one, but two new businesses, discovers revealing details and unanswered questions about her family, and meets people who are an important part of her life and her family history. Not-to-mention the dangers of dealing with others who have ulterior, ugly or evil motives.

So much change and in such a short time. It would be a lot for a real person to get through and while there are some people who deal with a ton of change all at once, it’s more likely to happen in fiction than in real life. I think we can all be grateful for that fact. 

But that’s what fiction is all about, the excessiveness of what we deal with in real life squeezed into the pages of a novel. Otherwise, reading would be a very boring ordeal. The overwhelming details about the lives of our characters help us relate to them, but may also make us feel just a bit better that our own lives aren’t quite that bad. We can relate and feel thankful at the same time.

Fiction is wonderful that way – we can love, or hate, a character. We can follow them through thick and thin. We can watch them as they falter or are fortified, find trouble or solutions, and change in good ways or bad. We can pretend to know what we might do in the same situation, or maybe we do know and through the characters we imagine how our experience may have gone differently if we’d only done this or that.

It’s possible I enjoy writing because with characters, I can play with change in ways that I get to control…somewhat. The characters do tend to take over when I’m in the middle of writing, so I guess it’s something I get to pretend to have control over. Either way, I enjoy coming up with ideas that will mix up the character’s day, add more mystery to the mystery, make up characters to assist or hinder progress, include tidbits to create more questions or provide answers, and then try to tie it all together at the end. That process is a challenge, and a challenge is something I enjoy. 

Regardless of what I personally feel about change, one thing writing has taught me is that if change results in a challenge I can enjoy (and grow and learn from), then change is admittedly a good thing.

We’re only two full weeks into the New Year and I can say I’ve already learned my first lesson.

We’re off to a good start!


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