New York Times  Bestselling Author

Embracing Change

Emerging monarchThe original title for this blog post was “I Give Up,” but when I mentioned that to my significant other, John, he nixed it. He said I’m a positive person who has overcome adversity and embraces change, totally shaming me into taking a different slant on my topic. Until then, I was sounding like quite the curmudgeon in this post. Now, I feel much lighter. At least, I’m trying to feel more like the change-embracing woman John believes me to be. 

The first thing I planned to gripe about was grammatical abominations that have become commonplace:

  • “Me and Joe went to the movies.” 
  • Omitting the comma before the conjunction that introduces an independent clause. (Do I own the last copy of Strunk and White?)
  • Apostrophes used in plural words. As in “Apostrophe’s used in plural word’s.”

The other day, I heard the BBC World News commentator sign off with “Good day, from me and BBC,” and I decided to give up. Whoops. I mean, to embrace change. As John pointed out to me, English is a dynamic language. Accepting the changes will be so freeing! I’ll let you know how I make out.

Then I planned to discuss my war against the sale of used books. I never did mind the mom-and-pop store on the corner selling my books used, but when gigantic Amazon began pushing used books on the same page as the new books–on the same day those new books were released–I joined my fellow writers in fighting back. It’s a losing battle, and while I rue the loss of income to myself and other authors, I’ve stopped fighting it. Nevertheless, I can’t help but whisper to you, “Do you know where that book has been?

E-books. “I will never read an e-book.” I’m sure I said that as recently as last year, proclaiming, “I need the feel of paper in my hands.” I now own an e-reader and I love it, but not without guilt. Authors make less money on e-books, and I can’t bear to think about what this shift in the way we read will mean to my beloved booksellers. But the times they are a-changin’, and I hope we can all find ways not only to endure what’s happening in the book world, but to actually thrive in spite of it. I have no idea how, but the change-embracing Diane is also an optimist! 

Then we have social media. Facebook. Goodreads. Twitter. MySpace. I resisted, wondering what was wrong with all those needy people who befriended strangers. Now, though, I’ve radically embraced this change. Social media rocks. What a fabulous way to keep in touch, not only with my “real” friends and family, but my readers as well.

So how about you? What changes are you resisting? Shall we embrace them together?

14 Comments

  1. Ingrid King on October 17, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Great post. I’m with you on the “me and John” and the apostrophes in plural words – I will never be able to accept those! As for the sale of used books: I was stunned to see that the day my book appeared on Amazon, there were not only used copies being sold, but they were being sold at more than the retail price? What are these sellers smoking?! I gave up after one e-mail to my publisher asking what that was all about. I don’t have it in me to take on the likes of Amazon. As for social media, like you, I fought it when everybody told me you have to be on there. Now I can’t imagine a world without it. I love how it keeps me in touch with old friends, and I’ve made so many new friends that I would never have met in real life. Sure, there’s a difference between a Facebook friend and a real friend, but it’s still a wonderful way to connect with people.

    What changes am I resisting? Right now, I’m trying to let go of my old trusty, but tired desktop computer and switch everything over to my sleek new laptop. But there’s a part of me that loves the solidity of a real keyboard, the nice big screen, and the thought of having to set everything up just so on a new computer feels overwhelming. But, like the rest of the world, I’m sure I’ll eventually embrace my laptop and won’t even remember why on earth I was so attached to my desktop.

    Change is good. Life always expands. Even when it comes to changing from a desktop to a laptop.

  2. Diane Myles on October 17, 2009 at 7:22 am

    I get absolutely livid over the apostrophes….especially when it’s been posted on a gigantic billboard! Another thing that bothers me is “the both of you” or “the both of us” – “the” not required, people! (My mother was an English teacher!)

    But….there are many positive changes – I try to remember them when these little things niggle at me. My first grandchild is about to be born….one of the most wonderful changes that has ever happened to me.

    Embracing change, good or not so good, is what helps keep life interesting! How bored we all would be if everything remained the same!

  3. Diane Chamberlain on October 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    What I hate, Ingrid, is when my advanced reading copies are for sale on Amazon even before the book is out. Illegal, too. Ack! It’s so easy to slip back into griping instead of change-embracing!
    Good luck with the switch to laptop. I have both and I am afraid to be without them both, in case one crashes.
    Congratulations on the soon-to-be grandchild, Diane. I hope you live close enough to see him or her often.

  4. brenda on October 18, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Change is relevant as a teacher. I can’t stand the me and John…I can’t stand it-I teach English. The commas–I learned they are left out in books because of printing costs–give me a break…Starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions: and…but…we teach the kids not to do that–they show us the examples in books…
    Also-there are few exceptions to putting commas before the subordinating conjunction (because)…where did they learn that…Most of the time-they are not to put commas there…I agree with all of that…however, I love reading books and supporting the library-and I know others have touched the books-I try not to think about it…as to used books in book stores–that-gives others opportunity to read the books, who might later buy NEW books…(I agree with you about the Amazon thing totally). Computers: I have the big computer at school–in the way–too big…I love my home laptop–wouldn’t go back to the big one… As a teacher, I don’t do the Facebook, My Space…anything that kids can get on and post…(bad experiences galore with teachers including yours truly)…one thing I had to change–was get rid of land line phone and go to only Cell…so much cheaper…and I did not need that phone-took about two days to adjust…another change–pumping gas…that took me forever…I still spill the gas on me…As to connecting, I think Blogs such as this one are “safe”…Margo and I are enjoying friendship and emailing–we share titles and authors we like…It used to be like that on another favorite author’s site, but when her site changed, we all lost touch…that happens. Diane, I agree with John, you are not pessimistic-always optimistic…

  5. brenda on October 18, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I give up-I am getting off of the computer until my fingers can work the keys…adjustment-to Arthritis at an early age-not easy…but even worse now that I am older…

  6. Denise on October 18, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I have to admit that I was never very good at remembering the ‘rules’ taught in English classes. But there are certain things I knew should or should not be done. It makes me a little crazy when I am reading a book and see that certain punctuation marks are not where I was always taught they should be, particularly commas.

    One of the changes I resisted was purchasing an MP3 player/iPod. My car came with an MP3 player jack but I figured I would never use it. I thought the concept of ‘never having to worry about having CD’s in the car’ was kind of lazy. It’s not like CD’s took up a lot of space in the car! I finally relented when my Borders drastically reduced the amount of CD’s they are carrying because of the reduction in music sales over the past five years. It scared me into buying an MP3 player. I was afraid of not being able to buy the music I wanted. I was rebellious, though. I did not buy an iPod simply because of the name; I bought a Sony Walkman MP3 instead. It was $50 cheaper than the iPod with the same features.

  7. Margo on October 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Every morning while I’m getting ready for work I have my little radio on…relentlessly the same commercial comes on at the same time every day…it starts like this ‘both me and my wife…’…need I say more?…it drives me crazy!! I can’t believe this is a supposedly professional commercial and the language isn’t even right.
    Brenda, I enjoy our friendship through Diane’s blog and I hope we are always friends…it’s wonderful sharing books and other things with you. Diane’s website is the only one I comment on and I love it.

  8. brenda on October 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    My son bought me a tiny little IPOD last year for Christmas-it is engraved on the back. I do not listen to it while driving for fear of hearing the other vehicles. (Mine is tiny with ear plugs…)He also warned me to avoid wearing it while walking (avoid talking on cell phone at same time) if it is getting close to dusk…in my area-it is okay during the day time…margo-I enjoy it too. Diane has brought so many together.
    B

  9. Margo on October 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Has anyone heard of a book AS IT IS IN HEAVEN??…my good friend Laura just finished it and can’t quit talking about it…she loved, loved, loved it…I’m going to look for it next week…Brenda, you read so much I wondered if it was one you were familiar with…???

  10. Diane Chamberlain on October 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I haven’t heard of that book, Margo. I just looked it up and it’s by Niall Williams. Not sure it’s my cup of tea, but I’ve been surprised before!

    Brenda, I have an inexpensive little dealy that fits in the tape deck of my car (my car is old enough to have a tape deck. . . ) and then attaches to my iPod, so I can listen to books on tape or music in the car without the earbuds.

    “Both me and my wife???” Shudder!

  11. brenda on October 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I would love to edit commercials and books…drives me nuts. The thing with email-we type and go…no one cares…with the arthitis and Fibromy…thank goodness…it is that way. Margo-is the book fiction or nonfiction???

  12. brenda on October 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Diane-I will check into that-however…when I replaced the CD player in the car-or my ex did-he forgot to replace it with a tape deck also…my car is old…

  13. brenda on October 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Margo-checked Amazon-I have read the book.

  14. Margo on October 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    ‘Both me and my wife’…isn’t that awful Diane??…every morning I hear it I want to call the radio station and complain!!
    Brenda, did you like the book AS IT IS IN HEAVEN??
    Just finished THE LAST SONG by Nicholas Sparks…I’m a complete mess…couldn’t quit crying…it’s been a long time since a novel made me cry like that…I’m getting ready to read a new Luanne Rice book.

Leave a Comment