The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again (Bob Dylan)

This blog is not about the upcoming election, or Daylight Savings Time, or Columbus Day now designated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. No more Pinta, Nina, and Santa Maria, and rightly so. Disaster of a different kind has struck.

No, nobody’s sick. The house hasn’t burned down. I still have most of my teeth, though I lost a crown eating Sugar Babies. They look so innocent and delicious, but they are chewy little devils, so fair warning. Fortunately, I did not swallow the tooth with the candy, and it sits on my desk in a baggie rebuking me as I type. I have explained we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and it will have to wait to be reinserted.

I know in the wake of Hideous Current Events, this is a mere trifle, but…my yard guy is talking about leaving town and moving out west. Mike has been with us fourteen years through four houses. When we left Farmington, he followed us all the way to Belgrade in 2010 and then back to Farmington again in 2019. We have very little lawn in our new (to us—it was built in 1880) house, so he adjusted his fee accordingly. He has raked up millions of leaves and planted at least 1,000 bulbs between our last two houses. He and his wife came to our son’s outdoor lakeside wedding, for which he took such pains preparing the property. Despite the meticulous landscaping, the marriage didn’t last, but Mike is faithful, showing up every two weeks or so from early spring through late fall. He arrives with treats for our dog Fitz who loves him unabashedly and a political opinion we usually agree with.

We have given away our mower, string-trimmer, and wheelbarrow because Mike has all these things. During the course of our marriage (still lasting…50 years in January), both my husband and I have taken turns cutting the grass. Years ago, we conned our kids into doing the job with a riding mower “that was almost like driving,” but they have licenses and lawns of their own now.

I have discovered I don’t really like change, which is too bad, since publishing, like life, is moving at warp speed. I can’t seem to keep up with the various promotional schemes, trends, and brouhahas (I have always wanted to use that word somewhere). I don’t want an Instagram or TikTok account—Facebook and Twitter are tortuous enough.

Ten years ago, when I was first published, I had an active personal blog and contributed to several other group blogs on a weekly basis. My morning routine consisted of checking on favorite sites (around a dozen) daily. Most of the blogs I used to follow are no more. Today, I’m here (and very happy to be), but rarely post on my own website. Maybe I’m worried about running out of words, or staying relevant.

If you’re reading this, I thank you! Is there a Mike in your life you depend on? Do you have a special Internet site you don’t want to miss that’s gotten you through these odd times? Where do you go for book news? I visit Word Wenches and Crime Reads, and belong to the Crime Thru Time mailing list to get news on free historical mysteries. What else should I be doing, besides pricing lawn mowers?

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10 Responses to The Times They Are A-Changin’

  1. kaitcarson says:

    I hope you are able to replace Mike – but he sounds irreplaceable. My Mike’s name is Bob. We left him behind when we moved from Florida to Maine this summer. He is still caring for our Florida home. Promotion is an animal all unto itself and it changes as soon as I have a handle on the latest quirk. Promotion in the pandemic, an even more unwieldly octopus. I begin my day with this blog, Wicked Cozy Authors, Writers Who Kill (of which I am a member) and Jungle Red Writers. Thus fortified, I move on with my day.

  2. kaitlynkathy says:

    I have no answers on promotion and my husband uses the John Deere to mow the lawn (and plow the snow and bring in the wood) but I can chime in on reading blogs. I start my day with this one, then go on to the Daily Bulldog for local news, the Wickeds, Word Wenches, and Jungle Red, before hitting Facebook, which starts with Heather Cox Richardson’s ( another Mainer) daily summary of political events. She’s a professor and historian who has written a book on the history of the Republican Party and her insights are invaluable and relatively unbiased. Then I look for cat memes—doesn’t everyone?

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      I’ve been seeing Heather Cox Richardson quoted on some Facebook posts. I’m with you on the joy of cats being cats, and dogs being dogs, too.

  3. We’re still able to mow our own, thankfully, but finding reliable people to do most things is a challenge with a two way axis. You’re on the ‘we’re in place but “fill in the blank” is moving/retiring/grabbed by space aliens.’ We experienced the other axis line last year when we moved far enough to lose everyone we relied upon. Fortunately, we’ve found reliable plumbers, electricians and tree removers. Other necessary folks remain elusive or unreliable. Welcome to modern times. Another reason cloning should not only be legal but avidly pursued.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      LOL. I hear you on getting reliable people. We have a wonderful contractor, who got a list from us last August. He did a few things last year and a big job in January redoing the kitchen, but we haven’t seen him since! He’s very popular and VERY busy, and maybe we’ll see him again next year to do the rest!

  4. Judy Kraus says:

    Thank you for this post. I feel the same way – although I’m perhaps even worse – I can’t get rid of a collection of books on cassette tape that I still play and several VHS tapes that can still be viewed. Good luck.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      The one good thing about moving, which we did last July, is that you do finally get rid of things you forgot you had in the first place. I can’t tell you how much we hauled away to Goodwill or sold through Facebook Marketplace. I really whittled down my book collection, which was painful but necessary.

  5. susanvaughan says:

    Enjoyed this post. Maggie, I don’t think you’ll ever run out of words.

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