Times, They Are a-Changin

Superman

I remember when gas was less than a dollar. When publishing a short story meant that you waited weeks until the spiral-bound copy came in the mail. When Superman was never seen in public sans red panties. When it wasn’t considered “cool” to love comic books if you were a girl, or play video games. Or write stories about superheroes and con artists and high school girls with dark, twisted secrets.

But that was then, and this is now. And the times, well…they are a-changing.

So what does this brave new world mean for us, as imagination dwellers? (i.e. those who prefer to spend their time dreaming up new and exciting stories in a day and age where it’s so easy to sit back and watch what others come up with)? It means we’re no longer alone. Or maybe we never were, but at least now with all these new virtual connections, we finally know it. Of course, on the other hand, there was a certain kind of safety in solitude, wasn’t there? In knowing–or laboring under the misapprehension–that we were the only ones who felt this way, who thought this way, who had the ability to come up with such fantastical fantasies. Now, we’re surrounded by others like us, with similar likes and dreams and ideas.

Does it mean we should stop trying to come up with something unique? Something entirely new?

According to Mark Twain, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

I definitely go through phases where this piece of opinion seems to be true. But then there are those times–brief as they may be–when I wake up in the middle of the night with a deep, resounding YES. It’s hard to explain, except it’s that feeling of promise. Of knowing that, if I can just FINISH this story before the ember of excitement burns itself out, I’ll have something new to give to the world. Or at the very least, something that’s entirely mine.

And really, that’s the best change, isn’t it? The fact that, even if the odds seem insurmountable, even when everything seems like the pale, resurrected shadow of a former idea, there can still be new life. There can still be a new spin, a new detail. Or, better still, there can be something that’s even more genuine…more true than the original. Like Superman without panties.

What’s your favorite thing about change?

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