It’s a time of transitions. I suppose one could always say that but a few incidents close together reminded me that our lives seldom remain the same for long. As comedienne Gilda Radner used to say, “It’s always something.”
My great-niece Alexis is transitioning this year from fourth grade into intermediate school. Changing from elementary to middle school or from there to high school or from there to college — big changes that call for learning new rules and adapting to new surroundings and expectations.
My friend Bill O’Neal died this week. His funeral was yesterday. Another kind of transition for Bill and for his family and friends.
The last weeks of summer remind us of the change of seasons that will be here before long. If you live where there are four seasons, this time of year is filled with thoughts of what will change and how we’ll deal with it.
New lives begin as others end. Cycles repeat. New technology creates an ever more savvy society with tools we struggle to understand and put to use.
We live in a state of constant flux that stimulates some and defeats others. As writers and illustrators we, too, face the demands of transition that runs like an undertow thorough out lives and shapes what we do and how we do it. Today’s kids may seem like they’re trying to be different. In many ways they are different. The world they’re growing up in is not our world. They’re the new native population. We’re the foreign born struggling to learn their language in order to communicate with them.
I think we need to stay loose, folks. I know what I like but that doesn’t make me as right all the time as I’d like to be. I won a Christopher Medal for THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES in 1972. If I were to write those stories today, 43 years later, do you think I could sell them? I doubt it.
As a writer I must remain true to myself, to what I stand for, and how I express myself. But I must also understand that my judge and jury may be nine years old. That’s voting age when you cast your ballot by closing the book and reaching for one that’s more interesting.