Thursday, June 22, 2017

"the wheel's still in spin" - @Liz Flaherty

If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan

I blame it on my age that I don't like change. I say I am set in my ways, that I don't have enough brain cells left to learn new things. That...well, I say lots of things, I guess, with the comment at the top of the heap being, "I just don't like it, okay?"

Much of the time, I do like change. As someone who grew up without plumbing, central heating, air conditioning, or store-bought milk, believe me when I say I sometimes downright love change. I don't want to go back to manual typewriters, car window cranks, or black-and-white television. I never want to defrost a refrigerator, clean an oven, or wax a floor ever again.

However, I remember how many changes took place in the workplace because of greed, to get rid of employees, or because the change was going to cause a boon for someone high up in the good-old-boy network. The changes didn't improve the product, lower prices, or enrich life for anyone. They were just changes for the sake of change.

I remember when all the trees were removed from one side of the tree-lined road where my parents' house was--they'd already been removed from the other side--for the sake of widening the road. The road was never widened, but its sides certainly are naked.

Twenty-some years ago the corporation where my husband worked "enhanced" the retirement program. It was the first time I ever knew enhance and rape were synonymous.

Then there are self-checkouts. I avoid them when I can, but sometimes I really don't have the time to wait in line at one of the three registers out of 27 that Walmart opens on Sunday afternoon. When I say, Hey, those ones you do for yourself are a good thing, I also remind myself that, No, they're not. They took away jobs and human contact and--here's a word fast becoming obsolete--service.

Indie-publishing, electronic and digital publishing, and Amazon have made the business of writing books unrecognizable as the same one where Hilary Sares called and said, "I'm going to buy your book." Brick-and-mortar bookstores have become rare things.

Some of the things that haven't changed, i.e. the us vs. them finger-pointing between separate factions, where the money goes in traditional publishing, and appalling covers are ones many of us wish would go away.

But they won't.

I know I sound curmudgeonly here--remember that age I mentioned?--and maybe I am. Indie-publishing has been great for a lot of writers. Many readers (myself included) read almost exclusively on electronic devices. I buy a ton of stuff from Walmart and Amazon. Because it's easy.

I'm looking out the office window this morning. It's a view that hasn't changed, other than seasonally, for at least 30 years, and it gives me unimaginable peace. I'm so glad, even with all the changes in publishing, that I still have the best job in the world.

But I miss bookstores. And cashiers who call you by name and say thank you. And that tree-lined road.


  1. Liz, I think it's in human DNA to resist change. I hate change for change's sake--just to be the "something new on the block" which is what most software and website upgrades seem. I've seen too many upgrades that work less well than the original. I abhor cutting down mature trees for any reason! And then they didn't even build the fracking road?!! I'd band together with other homeowners and sue!

    1. It's farmland--not trees that were owned by anyone. I hate losing mature ones, too. Lightning tends to find ours way too often!

  2. I tend toward begrudging acceptance of change. Especially with software. I whine, grumble and then finally make the change. For instance, I just started using an electronic calendar and I feel more organized. (Or maybe that's just because I need those reminders on my iPad which even show up on my Fitbit!)

    1. I have TRIED to use an electronic calendar because I'd really like to, but I screw it up every time. :-)

  3. I'm glad I grew up the same way and glad for it since we're currently boondocking in MI Upper Peninsula. I can cook on a propane stove. I don't need a microwave or convection oven. If I hadn't been raised like that I might feel a little lost right now.

    1. It helps, doesn't it? And, oh, the UP--one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.


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