Friday, June 19, 2009

What do they call that big change thing?

Back in the mid-90s it seems everyone was talking about paradigm shifts. I can't tell you how many business meetings I sat in and hear someone say, "We have to make a paradigm shift here," or "We're undergoing a paradigm shift." I wasn't quite sure what that meant other than a change in outlook, or maybe a change in philosophy. I made a mental to-do entry to look up "paradigm", but never got to that part of the "list."

Then, in the mid-00s, it seems everyone was talking about a "sea change". I'm not actually sure how to spell sea, since I've never seen this term written. I heard this more from television, from pundits on the 24 hour news outlets. "We are about to experience a sea change in this county," or some such drivel as that. I have never bothered to look up that phrase in one of the instantly available Internet resources, but I'm sure I could enter it in a toolbar blank and get all sorts of definitions. I suppose it is another euphemism for a big change.

Whatever a paradigm shift is exactly, and whatever sea change really is (or how it is spelled), I'm pretty sure I'm going through one right now in my writing life. The shift from writing novels and Bible studies has resulted in a big change in what I do in those few hours I have in a day to devote to writing. Yesterday noon and last night were devoted mainly to freelance activities. Oh, I managed to type some on the next two Bible studies I'm going to teach, all of 20 minutes or so. But otherwise I was freelancing both evenings.

Wednesday evening after church I worked on query letters for new magazine articles. I completed two, but decided to let them sit overnight before looking at them again then sending them off. Last night, however, I forgot about them and worked on getting my account set up. That was actually quite simple, so I went to the new member's tutorials and managed to get through two of them (interrupted by a phone call) before I left the Dungeon and went upstairs.

This would normally be my reading time, from 10 to 11 PM, but I had noticed, or rather remembered, when typing in one of those Bible studies that I had already done a bunch of work on it that wasn't with the papers I was typing. So instead of reading I began going through piles of papers--in my closet, beside my nightstand, next to my reading chair, in my portfolio--to find that earlier work. I found it, fifteen minutes later, carefully filed and indexed in a notebook I had failed to mark on the outside. That left me some time to read, and Team of Rivals is a little bit closer to being completed.

I want you all to know that I am not embracing this freelance thing. I'm pursuing it, dragging my feet, clinging to novels and Bible studies till my knuckles are white, all the time saying, "I'm doing this to build a platform so I can publish novels; I'm doing this to accumulate clips so I can publish novels." I don't yet know how this sea change, or paradigm shift, or whatever they now call a big change, will set with me. Two roads diverged in a wood. And I'm on the one I never intended to be on. I'm just afraid that knowing how way leads on to way, I shall never get back. Off to do another tutorial before starting my day job.


Gary said...

"But that has made all the difference."

David A. Todd said...

You had to go and quote that last line!

Gary said...

The last line is key.

Frost's point -- well, one among several -- is that you can't know the destination and the wisdom of the choice except in very late retrospect. So, worrying about it before hand is pointless. Based on your gifts, inclinations, opportunities, and resources you should make the best choice at the moment. And make no room for regret.

There are miles to go...

David A. Todd said...

Now you're mixing poems.

"The Road Not Taken" is a poem I know, and tried to analyze, but haven't really studied. Your analysis of it makes sense.

Gary said...

Different poems; same poet. In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" Frost contemplates leaving his present life for something else lovely, dark, and deep. In this poem he decides that there are obligations he has taken on that can't be abandoned. A different choice this time, but again made with the best information he has.

And, who knows, maybe those miles will wrap back around to the path through the snowy woods again sometime.

David A. Todd said...

Of course, it was "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" that killed poetry for me for 30 years. Or rather, it was a succession of English teachers trying to convince me it was a suicide poem, and since I didn't see it there was obviously something wrong with me.

I still don't see it. I just enjoy the pretty picture Frost paints.

Gary said...

Not necessarily suicide, but contemplation about leaving life as he knows it for something mysterious and unknown. Lots of metaphors to puzzle out, but that is the glory of great poetry. Pretty pictures and multiple meanings in very few words.