My three best friends from college and I still “talk” daily. And by talk I mean text. Our group messages might just be the most honest glimpse into real life that you can get without actually being there in person. We celebrate (personal accomplishments, important milestones, things our kids do, etc.). We cry out for help (prayer requests are common for everything from crises at work to sick children to days when we’re stuck in traffic with no hope of getting to wherever we’re going on time). We reminisce (my favorite thing is to randomly send them photos of us from twenty or more years ago. It takes us down memory lane and makes us pause to celebrate our lasting friendship). But it’s nice to be able to be in nearly constant contact with them.
The other day, we were discussing how glad we are that we aren’t “young” now. When my friend, Kelly, and I backpacked across Europe, it was before Facebook. Before iPhones. Before selfies. We weren’t distracted by anything. There was no need to photograph every gelato we consumed and no way to keep everyone back home constantly updated on our every move. (I had to stop and use pay phones all across Europe to call my Mom and check in!)
Honestly, it was a simpler time. And while there’s a small part of me that wishes those times were better documented, I’m also really thankful they weren’t. Because I was fully present. I think it’s harder to be fully present and live “in the moment” nowadays. At least for me it is. (You may not agree, and that’s fine!)
A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those “memories” pop up in Facebook that surprised me. Ten years ago, in January of 2009, I turned in my very first contracted manuscript. Time sure flies!
And now, as I’ve received the rights back to most all of my early books—from 8-10 years ago, I can’t help but read them with a “2019” mindset.
And it makes me think about how different some things are in the world. Just as I wasn’t Instagramming and selfie-taking my way across Europe back when I was in college, things were also pretty different a decade ago when I wrote those books!
Lingo changes, pop culture changes, technology changes…but there are also a lot of things that stay the same! Relationships, a desire to walk closer to the Lord, a search to find ones place in the world—those things are common no matter the year.
But it got me to thinking that although those old books may have story lines that can still feel “current” they also have references and mindsets that are definitely dated! (My character in that first book has an answering machine…)
I’d planned on giving those old stories a little refresh, but now I think they may need a bit more of an overhaul before they get re-released out into the world.
I read “dated” stories from time to time—especially when I find a new-to-me author and I want to go back and read some of his or her earlier work. And I admit that sometimes when it’s not quite old enough to be historical but definitely not new to be current, it does sometimes seem dated.
I’m curious what you think—do you or have you read books that are contemporary, yet feel a little “dated?” Does it take you out of the story or do you just read on and ignore those little things?
I’m hopeful that by giving my older stories a more current setting, it will help them resonate with readers who’ve either never read any of my stories or who are reading those older books for the first time.
I hope your February is off to a great start!