Keep the Change!

I was cleaning my study, den, (former) living room, whatever you wish to call it. I started with cleaning out two bookcases. I found my stash of rejection slips and tossed them. Who needs them? I also found stacks of printouts of my short stories that I’d forgotten about and even file backups on CD’s that I need to look through. Unfortunately, I have lots of paper to go through yet, in this paperless society. 

I’ve written a lot of short stories.

Even though I tried not to, because it slows down the cleaning process, I stopped to read some of them. There are changes in my writing—from then to now. 

In the mix of cleaning out books, I found that I had purchased two of the same book at some point: Comedy Writing Secrets: How to Think Funny, Write Funny, Act Funny and Get Paid for it by Melvin Helitzer, published 1987. The second book was published in 2005 and has a c0author, Mark Shatz, listed beneath the original author name. I’m sure there’s changes in the second book to warrant an added author’s name. 

There’s another change, too. The cover! I guess it needed to meet the standards of 2005 and appeal to the (then) modern reader. 

Unless we're already perfect or brilliant or something, we need to be open to change in order to get better at our craft.

“The only thing constant in life is change.” François de la Rochefoucauld

I hate that quote because I hate change, but this post isn’t about hating change, is it? I'd like to say, "keep the change", but we need to be open to change so that our craft reflects our best effort.  

Which cover do you prefer? 1987 on the left or 2005 on the right? Does it bother anyone else that 2005 seems so long ago?


  1. Hi Theresa - I don't mind change, though some changes are a great nuisance - but certainly offer different opportunities and a look at life. As to buying a book twice - it's easily done ... I prefer the older version, though I guess there'll be some different approaches in the 2005 one ...

    2005 - is donkeys years ago (there should be an apostrophe in there somewhere!) ... but 1987 I was still in South Africa ... with no immediate thought of coming home.

    Cheers and have a good comedic week - Hilary

  2. I think I like the 1987 one better! 2005 is sooo long ago now and it does bother me.

    Did you find that your short stories were much better, though, than you *thought* they might be? Even though there's improvement, sometimes it's cool to see that spark of pure talent from long ago.

    1. Elizabeth, the stories were actually a lot better than I thought they would be. This made me happy.

  3. I'd pick up the 1987 edition before I would the 2005. It just gets my attention first. 2005 seems like it was so very long ago, yet just last month.
    I wish whoever is in charge of the time machine would slow it down just a bit.

  4. I like the 1987 version much better. Seems anytime a publisher changes a cover, it's not for the better.
    Reading old stories we wrote can be a scary thing...

  5. I would chose the first just because I think there's no excuse to use stick people.

  6. 1987 one is way better. Yeah, change needs to happen and is fine by me. Some old writing can be rather sad lol

  7. The older cover looks better. The newer one just looks kind of cheap.

    I have such a difficult time cleaning the old papers and stuff and usually mostly just rearrange them so that they stack and store better.

    Change? It happens and mostly it's fairly gradual so it's easy to adapt. Certain abrupt change I try to avoid. Like changing to Windows 10. I keep trying to stave that off but someday I'm afraid that my computer will have been taken over during the night without my say so. It will be like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" except on my computer. I hate computer change--it's rarely improvement, but just change to make things a bigger hassle to get used to.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  8. It's probably my age, but I prefer the earlier cover. Or maybe it's because there's I nice, plump fellow on that earlier one, and starved, hysteric on the more recent one.

  9. The first cover seems more amusing to me, while, like others have said, the second seems cheap. 2005 looms large in my life as I spent some unsettling days and nights on the streets of powerless, savage New Orleans after Katrina. The temperatures were stifling but it still was chilling. No comedy there!

  10. I like the cover on the left. And yes, I can't believe 2005 was 11 years ago. It seems like yesterday. It's also weird for me to think about how back then, I absolutely did not see leaving in just 6 years' time, esp. not to move back here. If I had known my time was going to be so short in Washington, I would've done and seen so much more and I deeply regret that.

  11. Old is gold for me too.
    2005 was just last week, and then I stop and think... The years move too fast.

  12. First..I like the one on the left. I'm not one for change either. 2005 was so last week...wait....agghhhhh ....11 years ago, so scary. Now, on another note, I found you over that The Write Game and read all your A to Z. I loved reading these and wish I had seen these back at the beginning of April. I had heard about the Collyer brothers and poor Isadora. Very unique ways people do kick the bucket

  13. The cover on the left definitely has an 80s vibe to it. I'm sure give it another 20-30 years and they'll change the cover again to be more up to date.

  14. On the left wins my vote, hands down.

  15. Yes, I also like the older cover. As for 2005 being a long time ago--sigh. Everything happens too fast.


  16. I don't care much for change either. While I enjoy my peace now, I miss being a mommy to my daughters. I miss the house I had them in. I miss having sleepovers. I mis my cat, Boo-Boo and my Sir Poops. Things change. Kids grow up and move away. And pets die. Houses are sold and new ones bought.

    Miss the 70s and the 80s. Moss riding my bike everywhere when I was a kid. Yep. Things change.

    Will be glad when Yeshua comes back. Technology is getting more and more spooky.

  17. The one on the right--but the one on the left certainly brings back memories. So many books looked like that back then!

  18. I like the one on the left. Probably because I'm old. :-) I loved reading this post. Made me consider cleaning out some of my own paper clutter.


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