Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed.
What a week it has been! Changes have come all around. First, there was snow. Yes, I’m delighted to say the snow faeries were kind to me (though not so much to others and I’m heartily sorry for so many who are suffering with so much snow and ice). Then the rains came. Inches and inches. Many places have flooded, though I have not. Still, the rain has been profuse and all signs of the drought are long gone.
These changes are only changes because they are different from what was in the weeks before. But I can’t say these things are unexpected. Snow and rain are a part of every January and February. Only the amounts have changed. So as the quotation says, things are different, but it doesn’t necessarily means anything has changed. Perhaps we confuse “different” with “change.”
And sometimes “different” does bring change. I went to my son-in-law’s Army promotion ceremony last week. He’s an E-8, Master Sergeant now. He’s a First Sergeant, too. This has been his goal for 20 years and now, he has achieved what he set out to do. It is awe-inspiring to witness the fulfillment of someone’s hopes and aspirations. He changed to meet his goal. As a result, he is a different man than he was 10 years ago. This change has been inspirational and visual.
There were visual changes in racing as this weekend saw a return to NASCAR. Finally! Once more the sound of rumbling thunder filled the skies. Men and women (yes, women!), did the dance of speed, racing mere inches from one another in tango of coordination and nerve. There are changes to the car bodies making them more aerodynamic. There are changes to the restrictor plates (for super speedways) which will make the cars go faster and give the drivers more control. There are less rules about behavior which allow the drivers to meet out anger and justice a little more realistically. All of these being highy praised “changes.”
And then there was a race last night. Not for points. Just for pride and glory. The cars roared to life, banging and bumping, wrecking and smashing, crowds cheering and gasping, drivers alternately smiling and glowering. We saw the “changes” in action. And a winner emerged, a surprise, yet not. Yes, racing had returned at last. There were changes but no one was talking about those while champagne sprayed and confetti blew. Everything was pretty much the same.
Despite all the racing changes- car bodies, speed, uniforms, time of night – the only real change last night was a different year. What was old felt new; what was new felt comfortably old.
Change may be a different perspective or an evolution in time or growth. Sometimes change is gradual and life altering. But remember, just because things are different, doesn’t necessarily mean things have changed.
As writers we must be judicious with our words, careful to say what we mean and to show the meaning clearly. Consider the scene with a young bride the morning after consummating her marriage.
“Do I look different? Everything has changed!”
Different vs. changed. A tricky device for your characters’ lives and an even trickier device in our own.
What a week it has been! Everything has changed. Um…I think.