Monday, May 17, 2010


Yesterday was a special day at church: our pastor's last Sunday. Their good were packed on Saturday, all but the furniture, which ten of the younger men were going to load up Sunday afternoon and so they are off. To Columbia Tennessee, an outer suburb of Nashville. To a larger church in our denomination.

We had Mark and Kelly for almost seven years, and little Ivan for less than two. No one suspected this was coming, as everyone was happy with Mark and hoped he would be our pastor for years to come. Unlike past pastoral changes, I had no inkling of this coming. Previously I've been able to sense that a pastor's ministry was drawing to a close in the congregations I attended. This time, not so. The transition was abrupt.

Transitions happen in life all the time. Not always as momentous as a pastoral change, but they happen. I wrote once before in this blog about this, using the words of Pamela Tudsbury, a character in Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance: "Some moments weigh against a lifetime." I've had a few such moments in my life, but it seems to me that transitions often happen gradually. Condition A changes to Condition B. You've been in Condition A for a long time. Then one day you wake up and realize you're in Condition B. How did it happen?

I'm in the midst of two such transitions right now. At CEI, it appears my time as a corporate trainer is drawing to a close, and I'm transitioning back to being a project manager. I have no official word of that; in fact, my supervisor hasn't talked to me about my status since the last round of layoff last month. With those staff cutbacks we are no longer large enough to either need or support a full-time trainer. Every week I find my time more and more consumed with managing project, less with training issues. Is this a permanent situation? Stay tuned.

The other transition is in my writing "career". But this transition is confusing at the moment, the ultimate direction not yet clear. I haven't worked on a novel for about three months. I wrote only one Suite 101 article in April, three so far in May, with one more in draft status, one other in research status. I've written no other freelance articles during that time, nor submitted anything. Poetry no longer comes to me either by inspiration or perspiration. I continue to monitor writing blogs and forums, and of course keep up this blog. In the last month I've critiqued only one poem at Absolute Write, doing it last Friday.

So what's going on with my writing? Am I losing my desire to write? Ideas still come to me, and I capture some of them. Ideas for improving works I've already written but not yet published still come. I'm still spending a little time researching markets and marketing methods, as well as studying the craft. But as to actual writing, very little accomplishment.

The problem with transitions in progress is recognizing the start, middle and end. It's kind of like a stock chart. After the price movement is over, the signals that it was going to make that move are obvious, but as the movement is in progress, one doesn't see it, or refuses to believe that's what's happening.

With this writing transition, all signs seem to be pointing to this as the cause: The dream is dead. I don't want to believe that. I'd rather believe it's just the busyness of life in these couple of terribly busy months. But I'm afraid it's the other. The key piece of evidence, of course, is that I haven't submitted anything to potential markets. I have enough things written that I could be submitting constantly. But it seems the work of making the final selection of the market(s) and actually going through the motions of making the submittal, just don't excite me, and so I don't do it.

So where is this transition taking me? I don't know. Stay tuned.

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