Thursday, May 21, 2009

I thought this only happened to old people

Later today I will drive north one hour, fill the car with part of my daughter's possessions that fill her college apartment, then drive back home to store them in the garage. It's an annual dance we do, but this is my daughter and my last whirl around the dance floor. Four years at Taylor University end Saturday when she walks across the stage and receives her degree. Two weeks later we will stand together on another stage where I will pronounce her the wife of a man I did not know twelve months ago. Eventually the two of them may move into a place large enough to hold the odd boxes of her possessions stacked in my garage. Until then they will sit and gather dust, a reminder of how quickly these years shot by. I thought this only happened to old people.

I am trying not to get caught up in the emotions of the weekend. I am doing my best to remember that this is exactly what my wife and I raised our daughters to do, beginning with the moment the doctor handed each one to us and said, "It's a girl." My mind wants to run back to dances with my daughter in a living room converted into a ball room, where a high pitched little voice would say, "Spin me, daddy," only to erupt into laughter when I did. I'm trying to keep the memories at bay, but I find it is a losing battle. Only old people live in the past, yet I find the past is trying to suck me in as I face a quickly transforming present. I don't begrudge the changes sweeping over me. I don't want to live in the land of what once was because that which is now holds too much promise. Yet I find myself on the edge of something that feels almost like grief. I do not mind the passing of time, I only wish it had not passed so quickly.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Bad Review

One of my favorite books received a bad review at Amazon. Not just a bad review. A scathing review. A review that included the words, "I'm sorry I wasted my time and money on it." Like I said, it was a bad review. I've had bad reviews before. A few people have dissed my book "Living with Less," one because it had too much God in it (which I took as a compliment) and another because the book did not give you Dave Ramsey type details for how to downsize but instead spent most of its time telling you why to downsize (which was exactly my point). I can brush aside those kinds of bad reviews because the reader actually got my point. They just didn't happen to like it. The writer of the bad review that prompted this blog entry didn't care what my point may or may not have been. He simply hated my book. He hated the way I wrote it. He hated the content. He just hated my book. And this particular book happens to be one of my personal favorites. And this bad review also happens to be the only one posted for the book at Amazon. The sales numbers are so bad that this may be the only person who has ever ordered the book online. 

I guess by now I should start trying to wrap this little entry up and move toward some semblance of a point. I don't know that there is one. I've had bad reviews before, and I know I will get them again. In fact, I recently read the first few pages of one of my most recent releases and I put the book down in disgust. I guess I just gave myself a very bad review. Bad reviews, scathing reviews, reviews that use the words "a waste of time and money" are a part of the writing life. And the worst part of all of this is not the fact that someone posted a bad review to one of my books, but the knowledge that I've posted a few of my own in the past.