Monday, November 5, 2007

Rigid Writers are liars...

...when they say they're writers.

Yes, we all have our own brand of rigidity. What I'm talking about is seeking flexibility instead of remaining stiff, locked in, rigid.

Why? Because we exist in change. The more flexible--the better writing. Creative people exist in the world of ideas. We can't get those ideas if we have locked doors in our minds.

This has come to me because in the last three years every aspect of my life has changed. It's all different.

Yet some of my friends still struggle with my different life. They insist, sometimes vociferously, that nothing has changed. Or will ever change. That somehow it's exactly the same, in every way. Despite all evidence of change.

I get stuck in denial too, sometimes. The more I resist, the more difficult and exhausting life becomes. The more acceptance, the easier. Acceptance of the moment as being how it is, is the key for me.

Why? Is it fear of change? Desire to have things remain the same? That any change feels like a mini-death? Instead of a mini-birth?

Why do we resist what is happening every moment?


Nancy P said...

Do you think it's because we're not actually IN every moment?

Conda Douglas said...

Good point, Nancy--unless of course we're enlightened--which I am so NOT!

Nancy P said...

Me, neither!

Ever since you mentioned Woman's World over at my blog, I've been curious about it. I just read they get about 2,500 fiction submissions every month! They clearly don't want to be contacted. They have no website and trying to find out how to ask for guidelines is nearly impossible. Since I'm interested--because I want to do more short stories of all kinds-- I finally just e'ed the general email address in the magazine. I should have asked you, cause you may know. WW was one of my very first acceptances, bless their tabloid hearts.

Conda Douglas said...

Wow, Nancy, when I read on your comments that one of your first sales was to Women's World, I thought, well, they recognize talent when they see it!

And WW is one of the toughest markets to crack, very particular, very specific. With that many submissions and paying so incredibly well--I guess they have to be!

I belong to the Short Mystery Fiction Society on Yahoo (great group) and Woman's World will e-mail submission requirements if requested. The most recent on the SMFS was over a year old.

Hope this helps!

Jim Murdoch said...

Change means, however temporarily, a loss of control. We've mastered the moment, got that under our belt, when suddenly there's another moment only it requires something else from us.

New things are not always exciting. They can be threatening. Up till a certain point in this life learning is cool, discovering new things; that's growing up. Somewhere along the line that stops becoming fun in the same way we get bored with certain foods I suppose.

Coping with change is harder for me now than it used to be. I'm less flexible mentally and emotionally than I used to be in the same way I'm less flexible physically. There is also the fear that change will take away what I have. Here's a poem I wrote back in 1988:


It is true that every
seven years we change.

Turning fourteen I started
thinking poetry.

I am now twenty-nine and
safe for six more years.

Nancy P said...

Jim I love the poem.

My own personal theory is that change is an aging person's best defense against mental diminishment. I think it's good for our brains to learn new--really new--stuff. Of course, I love novelty, so I *would* think that. :)

Conda, thanks for kind words and the WW info. That sale was a looong time ago, though. Like, 1980, or so.

Conda Douglas said...

Great poem, Jim. And excellent comments, really got me to thinking:

Perhaps part of the rigidity is the inevitable loss that we all experience through life. Instead of grieving what is gone and accepting what is and embracing the new--I know that sometimes I've "locked myself down" because that seemed less painful.

I teach exercise classes and I've had to accept that now that I'm into my fifties, it'll never be as easy as it used to be. Sometimes that's hard to do. If I accept it as a challenge, it's easier.

The Dalai Lama says that eventually we even must give up our bones. Tough to accept, sometimes, much less celebrate, yet that was his point: celebrate the moment, for that's all we have.

And of course, it helps that, like you Nancy, I adore something new and different.

Kathy McIntosh said...

I loved Jim's poems and all the comments, but I beg to disagree about aging making us less flexible and less open to change. I've found myself more open, because I've learned that uncertainty is, well, certain. That's something I didn't know when I was younger. I thought I knew where I was headed and what was next.
So now I'm willing to accept changes (okay, sometimes) and be more adaptable, because in the long run, we must give up our bones.
But I loved the celebrate the moment advice.

Jim Murdoch said...

There are always exceptions to the rule and I'm glad you are one of them.

The old adage, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, didn't come about without someone sitting back and taking a good long look at old people and realising that although as we get older we're still as capable of making changes we are perhaps not as inclined.

Anyway, I'm no expert on old age. I was never that hot at being young so the odds are I'm going to make a mess of growing old gracefully.

Conda Douglas said...

A lot of us, myself included, were lousy at being young--I cringe sometimes when I remember how I thought I knew it all and could control it all and it all would be sooo easy.

Sooo wrong!

Now, I have a better time because I know that I don't know...

My mom's favorite saying in old age: "Getting old isn't for sissies, but I'll take it over the only alternative!"