Change is the only constant

I never used to understand that saying ‘change is the only constant’. I used to favour ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’. But change can sneak up on you. Sometimes things change imperceptibly, without you really noticing, and all of a sudden the world is a different place.

This morning I spent some time flicking through my journals of the last decade. A lot happens in ten years. In 2001 my husband, Ken, and I had six kids – five teenagers (and one almost teenager)- living under our roof plus a dog and a bunch of chickens. Ken was working as a drama teacher. I had published one novel (Zarconi’s Magic Flying Fish) and was about to release my second (Market Blues). Our days were jam-packed with school events and driving our tribe to and from a million different activities as well as juggling our work loads. The dinner table was always noisy and and crowded. Life was a blur of chaotic dramas.

Now the house is almost empty – of both offspring and furniture -and we’re packing up and picking over the detritus of all the years of bringing up our family. Since 2001, I have had seven more novels published and won a few awards. Ken has turned into a full-time puppeteer and we’ve both travelled to to China, Indonesia, India and Europe repeatedly. You’d think I would have seen it coming but so many of the changes in my life feel like they snuck up on me

This year, I’m going to consciously make big changes. As I write this, I’m surrounded by boxes and many of the rooms in our house are stripped bare and smell of fresh paint. In the driveway, our Punchmobile stands waiting to be loaded up with everything we can cram into it for 12 months of travel. The photo above shows Ken (The Professor) repairing poor old Officer Plod after Mr Punch had given him too much stick at Stawell Library last month. Once all the tools, puppets, paraphernalia, my mini-office and all our gear are finally on board, it’s going to be pretty cosy inside Gloria. There’s still a lot to do before the Professor and I can set out on our Year of Living Puncherously but it’s a change that we’re willing into existence, rather than the sort that takes you by surprise.

New Year’s Day is always a good time for reflection. For me, 2011 will be a big year of change on many fronts, including the way I use this blog. When I started it in July 2007 it was an experiment. Since then, I’ve read enough blogs to understand their form a little better and to come to enjoy the craft. I started out mostly writing reviews of books because I wasn’t comfortable with writing about my life. But in tiny increments, the way I think about blogging has changed. Many of the best blogs open a small window into the lives of their authors, rather than simply tackling a particular subject or issue. One of my favourite blogs, Eglantine’s Cake, is by the Australian author Penni Russon. She has a lovely quote from CS Lewis in the margin: There is an extraordinary charm in other people’s domesticities. Every lighted house, seen from the road, is magical: every pram or lawn-mower in someone else’s garden: all smells or stirs of cookery from the windows of alien kitchens.
C.S. Lewis, Time and Tide, 16 June 1945

All good writing offers us the opportunity to look through a window into someone else’s world. In 2011 I’d like to both document and share all the adventures of me and The Professor. I’ll be writing posts a lot more often and trying to be bold enough to be a little more autobiographical. Top of my list of New Year’s resolutions is to read more, write more and open a whole new array of ‘magic casements’.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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