Everything Changes

Everything changes. Nothing remains without change.

                — Buddha


Change is inevitable—except from a vending machine. 
                  — Gallagher

 

My husband decided that today was a good day to replace one of the bathroom sinks. He's been accumulating stuff he would need (new sink and countertop, new faucets, new pipe fittings, caulk, etc.) and he was ready.

Sink faucet     Four trips to the hardware store later…the new sink is in place and looks great, but now we've discovered that the perfectly good cabinet that was already in place is not exactly straight, nor are the walls exactly straight either, requiring some jigging around and further caulking of the new sink. And the water’s still turned off as Dear Hubby works out the puzzle of the old tube thingers vs. the new tube thingers under the sink. Clearly I don’t know what all the plumbing fittings are, but he does, he's good and experienced and is diligently working away at what is basically a boggling mystery to me. I'm grateful to have the sort of Hubby who can fix anything. It does come in handy sometimes. 

    I very helpfully told him that the beginning of a Mercury Sink plumbing retrograde was probably not the best day to begin this little project…but he’s not convinced that a distantly rotating planet can cause multiple trips to the hardware store. Although he still maintains that it's the fact that nothing in our house seems to have been built to universal size, he is closer to believing in rascal Mercury's role than he was before. (For you Mercury-retrograde aficionados, replacing a sink is probably covered under the Mercury retrograde warrant. Most astrologers will say that any redo project, anything where the activity verb begins with RE- can be helped by retrograde energy. It's brand new ideas and projects that might want to wait until things go direct). Anyway, when this is finally done we’ll have a fabulous new bathroom sink with a beautiful granite-like countertop and brushed nickel faucets.

    But it won’t end there. Now I want to paint the cabinet, which is perfectly nice but now looks dingy; and I want to slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and add new towel racks and a new shower curtain…rugs, too…maybe a curtain….and so it goes.


    Dominoes Nothing is ever simple, is it. One change leads to another and another. The domino theory works overtime where revising is concerned. Whether you’re changing a bathroom sink or redoing another part of the house, or whether you're making changes to a painting, a piece of knitting, a drawing, a casserole, a cake, a poem, a blog or a book… if we’re creating something, we’re very likely going to revise some of it before it’s done.

    

Just now I'm in the midst of revising a manuscript … and the agreed-upon changes are inevitably going to lead to some unexpected tweaks. My editor's suggestions will make the book tighter and stronger, and while I waited to hear from her, I did some revising on my own. So the manuscript will get a bit of a shakedown. Several trips to the hardware store, as it were, some new bits, some replaced bits and some touch ups.

     A little revision, or a lot, is often necessary with a book, and a good thing, too. It's a part of the natural progression in the creation of a novel, from the first page as it's initially written until the final version is sent in, and revision after an editor has seen it is commonly part of the production process too. I’ve written Revising books that needed just a little sweep through, tweaks here and there, by the time the editor saw the work; and I’ve written a few books that needed deeper changes, switching around of events, tightening loose ends, toughening up characters.I've even changed character names at this stage, and that one global tweak can have an amazing effect on a character!

 

Usually the book the reader sees is not the same as the first manuscript sent to the editor. Books rarely emerge full spring from the writer’s mind like Athena leaping from Athena cameo Zeus’s brow. Athena may leap, but she might need a change of sandals or gown, or she may be too pale and in need of some energy…she may even be missing bits that will need to be attached. The writing experience certainly has moments where creativity floods delightfully through, though more often (especially somewhere in the middle of the writing process) it’s a trickle. And once the manuscript is done, the painstaking process of revising, revisioning, refurbishing, rethinking and refinishing begins.

    Like the bathroom sink or the process of painting a room and changing the furniture around, revising a book follows a similar pattern. One small change here can lead to a shift there, and a slight shift there can create a need to add or delete something elsewhere. Sometimes the entire book is in a sort of fluid state when just about anything can ripple and change—nothing is independent from the whole, and a little stream of dialogue or description  or character motivation can effect a change chapters away from that place.


    Writing2 So the book that I sent to the editor on the first round will not be quite the same book that she sees on the second round. And it will continue to change a bit, here and there during the copyedit and even the galley proofs. If a reader were to see the original manuscript and then the finished book, there would be noticeable differences here and there.

    Good thing it’s a retrograde — I’ll be applying all those “re” words to this book. And I’m looking forward to the chance to revise, to rethink and change what I’ve done. I’m the sort who will make changes until the last second … I've had editors who have virtually pried the red pen out of my fingers….


    The bathroom sink has been finally revised, er, redone, while I’ve been writing this blog. Water’s back on, and I’ve got stuff to put away, and paint samples to look at!


To change and to change for the better are two different things. — German proverb


I love a good change now and then, thrive on it. If nothing else has shifted in my life I'll move the furniture around Just Because. Many of my friends and family are just the opposite, and now and then I long for that ability to accept a stable environment… what about you? Are you the sort that has to have change around you, or do you thrive on maintaining status quo in all things?


Susan Sarah

30 thoughts on “Everything Changes”

  1. LOL about the sink project, Susan. On hearing of the fourth trip to the hardware store, I immediately thought “Mercury retrograde,” and then you brought it up yourself. Interesting that your dh might find the idea of retrograde a bit more convincing now. *g*
    The tweaking and fiddling process is a good analogy for producing books, too. We’ve all had books that needed only a bit of polishing, while other require new wheels and a change in transmission.
    A good, laboring thought for Labor Day!
    Mary Jo, who just realized that the novelette she’s been polising needs new wheels

    Reply
  2. LOL about the sink project, Susan. On hearing of the fourth trip to the hardware store, I immediately thought “Mercury retrograde,” and then you brought it up yourself. Interesting that your dh might find the idea of retrograde a bit more convincing now. *g*
    The tweaking and fiddling process is a good analogy for producing books, too. We’ve all had books that needed only a bit of polishing, while other require new wheels and a change in transmission.
    A good, laboring thought for Labor Day!
    Mary Jo, who just realized that the novelette she’s been polising needs new wheels

    Reply
  3. LOL about the sink project, Susan. On hearing of the fourth trip to the hardware store, I immediately thought “Mercury retrograde,” and then you brought it up yourself. Interesting that your dh might find the idea of retrograde a bit more convincing now. *g*
    The tweaking and fiddling process is a good analogy for producing books, too. We’ve all had books that needed only a bit of polishing, while other require new wheels and a change in transmission.
    A good, laboring thought for Labor Day!
    Mary Jo, who just realized that the novelette she’s been polising needs new wheels

    Reply
  4. LOL about the sink project, Susan. On hearing of the fourth trip to the hardware store, I immediately thought “Mercury retrograde,” and then you brought it up yourself. Interesting that your dh might find the idea of retrograde a bit more convincing now. *g*
    The tweaking and fiddling process is a good analogy for producing books, too. We’ve all had books that needed only a bit of polishing, while other require new wheels and a change in transmission.
    A good, laboring thought for Labor Day!
    Mary Jo, who just realized that the novelette she’s been polising needs new wheels

    Reply
  5. LOL about the sink project, Susan. On hearing of the fourth trip to the hardware store, I immediately thought “Mercury retrograde,” and then you brought it up yourself. Interesting that your dh might find the idea of retrograde a bit more convincing now. *g*
    The tweaking and fiddling process is a good analogy for producing books, too. We’ve all had books that needed only a bit of polishing, while other require new wheels and a change in transmission.
    A good, laboring thought for Labor Day!
    Mary Jo, who just realized that the novelette she’s been polising needs new wheels

    Reply
  6. My husband once replaced a cracked PVC pipe, or thought he did. He wound up putting the same pipe back on and I got a little wet. I don’t let him touch tools of any sort now.
    I always like a pretty jolt in my surroundings every now and then. It doesn’t take much to make my eyes happy.In writing, sometimes a switch in POV makes all the difference. Change is good!

    Reply
  7. My husband once replaced a cracked PVC pipe, or thought he did. He wound up putting the same pipe back on and I got a little wet. I don’t let him touch tools of any sort now.
    I always like a pretty jolt in my surroundings every now and then. It doesn’t take much to make my eyes happy.In writing, sometimes a switch in POV makes all the difference. Change is good!

    Reply
  8. My husband once replaced a cracked PVC pipe, or thought he did. He wound up putting the same pipe back on and I got a little wet. I don’t let him touch tools of any sort now.
    I always like a pretty jolt in my surroundings every now and then. It doesn’t take much to make my eyes happy.In writing, sometimes a switch in POV makes all the difference. Change is good!

    Reply
  9. My husband once replaced a cracked PVC pipe, or thought he did. He wound up putting the same pipe back on and I got a little wet. I don’t let him touch tools of any sort now.
    I always like a pretty jolt in my surroundings every now and then. It doesn’t take much to make my eyes happy.In writing, sometimes a switch in POV makes all the difference. Change is good!

    Reply
  10. My husband once replaced a cracked PVC pipe, or thought he did. He wound up putting the same pipe back on and I got a little wet. I don’t let him touch tools of any sort now.
    I always like a pretty jolt in my surroundings every now and then. It doesn’t take much to make my eyes happy.In writing, sometimes a switch in POV makes all the difference. Change is good!

    Reply
  11. Sherrie here.
    Susan, I hear you about things not being perfectly level/aligned/straight in your house. My ancient farm house is a riot of off-kilter angles. Since I’m a handyman type of person, it wreaks havoc on my mind whenever I build a closet, a built-in bookshelf, etc. If I build something perfectly level, it looks “off” because the rest of the house isn’t straight.
    I just built a new gate for the porch, and was meticulous in making sure it hung straight. After hanging the gate, I stood back to admire it. And slapped my forehead. The gate looks off-kilter because the outside of the house beyond the gate looked like it was going downhill. So I used my carpenter’s level to double check the gate. Perfectly level. Then I checked the side of the house. Perfectly level. Yet something is off, and it ain’t me!
    Carrying your analogy over to writing, this is where a critique group comes in handy. My crit group can point out problems in my manuscript that I missed. I’m going to call my best friend and have her come over and tell me why the gate looks off. *g*

    Reply
  12. Sherrie here.
    Susan, I hear you about things not being perfectly level/aligned/straight in your house. My ancient farm house is a riot of off-kilter angles. Since I’m a handyman type of person, it wreaks havoc on my mind whenever I build a closet, a built-in bookshelf, etc. If I build something perfectly level, it looks “off” because the rest of the house isn’t straight.
    I just built a new gate for the porch, and was meticulous in making sure it hung straight. After hanging the gate, I stood back to admire it. And slapped my forehead. The gate looks off-kilter because the outside of the house beyond the gate looked like it was going downhill. So I used my carpenter’s level to double check the gate. Perfectly level. Then I checked the side of the house. Perfectly level. Yet something is off, and it ain’t me!
    Carrying your analogy over to writing, this is where a critique group comes in handy. My crit group can point out problems in my manuscript that I missed. I’m going to call my best friend and have her come over and tell me why the gate looks off. *g*

    Reply
  13. Sherrie here.
    Susan, I hear you about things not being perfectly level/aligned/straight in your house. My ancient farm house is a riot of off-kilter angles. Since I’m a handyman type of person, it wreaks havoc on my mind whenever I build a closet, a built-in bookshelf, etc. If I build something perfectly level, it looks “off” because the rest of the house isn’t straight.
    I just built a new gate for the porch, and was meticulous in making sure it hung straight. After hanging the gate, I stood back to admire it. And slapped my forehead. The gate looks off-kilter because the outside of the house beyond the gate looked like it was going downhill. So I used my carpenter’s level to double check the gate. Perfectly level. Then I checked the side of the house. Perfectly level. Yet something is off, and it ain’t me!
    Carrying your analogy over to writing, this is where a critique group comes in handy. My crit group can point out problems in my manuscript that I missed. I’m going to call my best friend and have her come over and tell me why the gate looks off. *g*

    Reply
  14. Sherrie here.
    Susan, I hear you about things not being perfectly level/aligned/straight in your house. My ancient farm house is a riot of off-kilter angles. Since I’m a handyman type of person, it wreaks havoc on my mind whenever I build a closet, a built-in bookshelf, etc. If I build something perfectly level, it looks “off” because the rest of the house isn’t straight.
    I just built a new gate for the porch, and was meticulous in making sure it hung straight. After hanging the gate, I stood back to admire it. And slapped my forehead. The gate looks off-kilter because the outside of the house beyond the gate looked like it was going downhill. So I used my carpenter’s level to double check the gate. Perfectly level. Then I checked the side of the house. Perfectly level. Yet something is off, and it ain’t me!
    Carrying your analogy over to writing, this is where a critique group comes in handy. My crit group can point out problems in my manuscript that I missed. I’m going to call my best friend and have her come over and tell me why the gate looks off. *g*

    Reply
  15. Sherrie here.
    Susan, I hear you about things not being perfectly level/aligned/straight in your house. My ancient farm house is a riot of off-kilter angles. Since I’m a handyman type of person, it wreaks havoc on my mind whenever I build a closet, a built-in bookshelf, etc. If I build something perfectly level, it looks “off” because the rest of the house isn’t straight.
    I just built a new gate for the porch, and was meticulous in making sure it hung straight. After hanging the gate, I stood back to admire it. And slapped my forehead. The gate looks off-kilter because the outside of the house beyond the gate looked like it was going downhill. So I used my carpenter’s level to double check the gate. Perfectly level. Then I checked the side of the house. Perfectly level. Yet something is off, and it ain’t me!
    Carrying your analogy over to writing, this is where a critique group comes in handy. My crit group can point out problems in my manuscript that I missed. I’m going to call my best friend and have her come over and tell me why the gate looks off. *g*

    Reply
  16. I don’t have to have change, but don’t mind it if it happens. We are in Year 18 of renovating a Victorian farm house. So there has been a lot of change and a lot of re- things (remove, rebuild, rewire…). We have changed our minds on a few things as we have gone along. Once a room is done, however, I arrange the furniture and it pretty much stays that way. With the antiques we have, there is usually one way things will fit. I may change little things, like area rugs, curtains, or pictures, but the big things stay the same. At the same time, I love change in my life and am constantly looking for something new to try.

    Reply
  17. I don’t have to have change, but don’t mind it if it happens. We are in Year 18 of renovating a Victorian farm house. So there has been a lot of change and a lot of re- things (remove, rebuild, rewire…). We have changed our minds on a few things as we have gone along. Once a room is done, however, I arrange the furniture and it pretty much stays that way. With the antiques we have, there is usually one way things will fit. I may change little things, like area rugs, curtains, or pictures, but the big things stay the same. At the same time, I love change in my life and am constantly looking for something new to try.

    Reply
  18. I don’t have to have change, but don’t mind it if it happens. We are in Year 18 of renovating a Victorian farm house. So there has been a lot of change and a lot of re- things (remove, rebuild, rewire…). We have changed our minds on a few things as we have gone along. Once a room is done, however, I arrange the furniture and it pretty much stays that way. With the antiques we have, there is usually one way things will fit. I may change little things, like area rugs, curtains, or pictures, but the big things stay the same. At the same time, I love change in my life and am constantly looking for something new to try.

    Reply
  19. I don’t have to have change, but don’t mind it if it happens. We are in Year 18 of renovating a Victorian farm house. So there has been a lot of change and a lot of re- things (remove, rebuild, rewire…). We have changed our minds on a few things as we have gone along. Once a room is done, however, I arrange the furniture and it pretty much stays that way. With the antiques we have, there is usually one way things will fit. I may change little things, like area rugs, curtains, or pictures, but the big things stay the same. At the same time, I love change in my life and am constantly looking for something new to try.

    Reply
  20. I don’t have to have change, but don’t mind it if it happens. We are in Year 18 of renovating a Victorian farm house. So there has been a lot of change and a lot of re- things (remove, rebuild, rewire…). We have changed our minds on a few things as we have gone along. Once a room is done, however, I arrange the furniture and it pretty much stays that way. With the antiques we have, there is usually one way things will fit. I may change little things, like area rugs, curtains, or pictures, but the big things stay the same. At the same time, I love change in my life and am constantly looking for something new to try.

    Reply
  21. Susan/Sarah: Question–has an editor ever told you the book requires a major overhaul?
    When you send the book in, you think it’s the way it should be. Although there are always changes, I’m wondering how many are too many.

    Reply
  22. Susan/Sarah: Question–has an editor ever told you the book requires a major overhaul?
    When you send the book in, you think it’s the way it should be. Although there are always changes, I’m wondering how many are too many.

    Reply
  23. Susan/Sarah: Question–has an editor ever told you the book requires a major overhaul?
    When you send the book in, you think it’s the way it should be. Although there are always changes, I’m wondering how many are too many.

    Reply
  24. Susan/Sarah: Question–has an editor ever told you the book requires a major overhaul?
    When you send the book in, you think it’s the way it should be. Although there are always changes, I’m wondering how many are too many.

    Reply
  25. Susan/Sarah: Question–has an editor ever told you the book requires a major overhaul?
    When you send the book in, you think it’s the way it should be. Although there are always changes, I’m wondering how many are too many.

    Reply
  26. Change is good, but I also like stability. For example, I don’t see myself moving to a different part of the country when (or, in this economy, if) I retire. I like having people around who don’t need a scorecard to know me and my history because they lived through it with me, just as I lived through their histories.
    OTOH, I do like to travel, and my hope is that when (if) I retire I can do home exchanges in various parts of the world for a month or 3 at a time. I see that as an opportunity to have change yet remained linked to my community of family and friends at home.

    Reply
  27. Change is good, but I also like stability. For example, I don’t see myself moving to a different part of the country when (or, in this economy, if) I retire. I like having people around who don’t need a scorecard to know me and my history because they lived through it with me, just as I lived through their histories.
    OTOH, I do like to travel, and my hope is that when (if) I retire I can do home exchanges in various parts of the world for a month or 3 at a time. I see that as an opportunity to have change yet remained linked to my community of family and friends at home.

    Reply
  28. Change is good, but I also like stability. For example, I don’t see myself moving to a different part of the country when (or, in this economy, if) I retire. I like having people around who don’t need a scorecard to know me and my history because they lived through it with me, just as I lived through their histories.
    OTOH, I do like to travel, and my hope is that when (if) I retire I can do home exchanges in various parts of the world for a month or 3 at a time. I see that as an opportunity to have change yet remained linked to my community of family and friends at home.

    Reply
  29. Change is good, but I also like stability. For example, I don’t see myself moving to a different part of the country when (or, in this economy, if) I retire. I like having people around who don’t need a scorecard to know me and my history because they lived through it with me, just as I lived through their histories.
    OTOH, I do like to travel, and my hope is that when (if) I retire I can do home exchanges in various parts of the world for a month or 3 at a time. I see that as an opportunity to have change yet remained linked to my community of family and friends at home.

    Reply
  30. Change is good, but I also like stability. For example, I don’t see myself moving to a different part of the country when (or, in this economy, if) I retire. I like having people around who don’t need a scorecard to know me and my history because they lived through it with me, just as I lived through their histories.
    OTOH, I do like to travel, and my hope is that when (if) I retire I can do home exchanges in various parts of the world for a month or 3 at a time. I see that as an opportunity to have change yet remained linked to my community of family and friends at home.

    Reply

Leave a Comment