Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Slew of Reasons to Change Things Up

by Sheila Webster Boneham


For a slew of reasons,...

...I love dictionaries, although if I'm trying to get something done I should avoid them. Take this post, for instance. I set out to write about how changes in our lives can help (or hinder) creativity. "For a slew of reasons" popped into my head. Now, you should know that one of my favorite t-shirts says, "Bad spellers of the world, UNTIE," which is why I veered away from my laptop toward my Merriam-Webster. The last thing I need to do on a blog for writers and avid readers is mix my homonyms (although it turns out that slew and slue can be alternate spellings of the same word, but not always). Once I landed in the "sl’s," I wandered into etymology (slew may come from the Irish sluagh, or "multitude") and then into the linked and non-linked slews and slues, plus slough (as in a dismal swamp, not what snake skins do), and the next thing I knew I was looking up "emphysematous necrosis" (don’t ask – it’s icky!). That took me to dead bodies, which turned me back to the task at hand – my Inkspot entry. So what I set out to say is that....





For a slew of reasons, I’ve been juggling several changes this week. We moved on Monday, with considerable pre-moving over the weekend, so for one thing I’m just settling into a new house, new work space, new yard, new neighborhood. It’s all good, and although I could use a nice long nap, I also feel energized and ready to write. I love my new work space, so even though I can’t find everything, my creative juices are flowing. 

So the value of change was what I set out to write about for today. Many people fear change, and there’s no question that change is sometimes frightening and variably disruptive. Some kinds of change are devastating, and I certainly don’t wish cataclysmic events on anyone. We all know that things do change constantly, but even in our e-paced world it’s still possible to sink into comfy routines and stay there for weeks, months, years.

For some people, that may be fine. For creative people, lack of change can be deadly. Okay, not in a bullet-to-the-heart way, not literally, but in a numbing-of-the-creative nerves way. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt, but changing things around occasionally does breed new ways of experiencing the world. I’m not suggesting that we have to move to a new house, or dye our hair green, or take up extreme sports. I am suggesting that, at least once a week, we should try something new.


Change can turn things upside down, but when we look from new angle, we see differently. (We might look goofy, too, but that's okay!)

My new digs have me covered for a couple of weeks. Then, over the rest of the summer, I plan to tote my laptop to a couple of new-to-me coffee houses, walk and bike some new-to-me trails, start some new paintings, try a new artistic medium, and read some new-to-me authors. Maybe I’ll even try writing in a genre I’ve never tried before.

Now where in that slew of boxes did I put my dictionary?

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Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of the forthcoming "Animals in Focus" mystery Drop Dead on Recall (now available for pre-order) as well as award-winning books about pets including Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals (Alpine, 2009), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting and Owning a Cat (Alpha, 2005), and fifteen others. Her new digs are on the southern coast of North Carolina (Wilmington, to be precise). Sheila's books are available from your local bookseller and on line. Learn more at www.sheilaboneham.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, or at Sheila's new Writers and Other Animals blog.



6 comments:

Robin Allen said...

Fun post, Sheila! You're so right that creatives need to shake it up with a slew of brain stimulants. I think I'll write at the library today instead of in my office.

Sheila Webster Boneham said...

Right, Robin! Let us know how it goes.

Beth Groundwater said...

I laughed at your reference to dying hair green. Changing her hair color every few months is how my daughter creates change in her life (though she has yet to try green). I think we need a mix of comforting routines and inspiring change in our lives. Those routines give us a grounding and feeling of safety, from which we can spring to life when change comes our way.

Deborah Sharp said...

I got such a kick out of your post, Sheila. I'm the same way with looking up words. I always end up WAAAAY far away from where I should have been. Sounds like you have a slew of new things to try, too. Viva la change!

Vicki Doudera said...

Congrats on your new move, Sheila! I may have to try the new hair color thing... it certainly works for Beth's daughter Ann and her creativity!

Sheila Webster Boneham said...

Glad you guys had fun. I haven't put any wild color in my hair lately, but last summer I took trains from Reno, NV, to Brunswick, ME, and back, and before I left a friend hooked some feathers into my hair - a very pretty beige-and-brown striped, a black, and a BRIGHT turqoise. Aside from how much fun it was knowing they were there, I really got a kick out of people's reactions. Some squealed with delight, some tried to appear not to be staring.... So Beth, I get the green/purple/pink hair! And I agree, we need basic routines to ground us, but without occasional change, being grounded becomes being buried. Thanks for playing!