The Winds of Change, A Very Serious Essay by Deb Kristy

So, this week’s topic was wind. The smart ass in me (oh, and that’s about 97%) was dying to write something pithy about breaking wind, but then I decided that my definition of “pithy” was more “eight-year-old boy potty humor” than sophisticatedly amusing and I scrapped it.

So, what’s a Southerner left to blog about with a topic like that? Oh, yes, five bucks to you all. It is SO Gone With The Wind (or, GWtW as it’s known to us die-hards) Time. It is, without question, and no offense to Grease or Xanadu (y’all had NO idea I was so sappy, did you?) my all time favorite movie. I adore it for many, many reasons. Not the book. The movie. And it’s not that the movie is better than the book. It’s just that, well, see, I haven’t actually READ the book. So. There ya go.

Anyway, first of all, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara is perfection. PERFECTION. She’s sour candy, she’s sugar with broken glass in it, she is, surely, hopefully…me (stay with me here). Bitch? No. Young. Brash? No. Determined. Beautiful? Well, yeah, she’s beautiful, but she wasn’t supposed to be. It was her personality. She sparkled, she sparked, she should have been named Sparky for all her flashy gumption, dammit.

And didn’t I (don’t I) want to be all that?

I overheard a conversation about me once in a bathroom stall. No, really, just like a John Hughes movie. I had recently joined a writing group, and I was all enthusiasm. People were perhaps taken aback. I don’t believe I was rude, or overbearing. I hope I wasn’t. But I was determined. And in publishing circles (especially this one) I was young.

They gave me a nickname.

I won’t mention what it was, because God forbid you all decide it’s fitting and call me it behind my back. It was a word that in many contexts is not actually insulting. But it was rather clear that in this context it was rather condescending, sort of a “Well, isn’t she just adorable to think she can do this? And to subject us to all of her unbridled enthusiasm?” kind of way.

I admit, it broke my heart.

Because I was so excited to be around other writers, and I thought it was okay to be excited, and to be ambitious, and fired up and optimistic. I continued with the group, because, hey, I had PAID to be there, and I was going to get every thing I could learn out of it. But I didn’t re-up. It was for more reasons than the catty conversation and nickname, reasons that I thought were actually rather noble and supportive, but then I tend to apply nobleness to all sorts of things that later turn out to not mean much of anything.

Sometimes I take myself too seriously.

So, for me Scarlett wasn’t the spoiled, feisty, beautiful brat who arrogantly exuded that “No regrets!” vibe. She was the tough, resilient woman who had plenty of regrets, but who had learned and was determined to not have them again.

She was, in fact, the first Debutante.

And in that same melodramatic way that Scarlett raised her fist to the red sky of Georgia and declared that she would “never go hungry again,” I too was determined that I would never go hungry again.

I would never hunger to be younger and have the energy or enthusiasm to chase my dream with everything I had. I would just do it. I would never hunger to have conversations about things that were important to me: words, ideas, characters. I would just start them. I would never again hunger to believe that I was doing something meaningful. I just…well, I sort of just CHOOSE to believe that one. I’d never again hunger to be a part of a group of writers who were as enthusiastic and genuine as I was.

I would just start my own.

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7 thoughts on “The Winds of Change, A Very Serious Essay by Deb Kristy

  1. You really should read the book, btw. 🙂 GTW is one of my all-time favorite movies too, actually, and I read the book many many years after I first saw the film and I wasn’t disappointed.

    In your scenario of the catty women in the bathroom, I think about how I’ve often been the catty one, and in my adult life, I actually think back to GTW and to Melanie, who always had a kind word for everyone.

    I have always aspired to be that sort of kind soul that speaks well of people in general, in all situations and everyone she knows feels such incredible goodwill toward her.

    But it never works out that way. I’m much more the Scarlett, not at all in looks, but in that same brash (I do think of her that way), will-get-what I want attitude. I think I have an inherently kinder heart, but I find myself in similar situations, where she wishes she had said or done something differently, realizes it’s too late and sets it aside (I’ll think about that tomorrow) and charges forward toward the next thing. Mostly I think that’s good, but I really do wish I could find more Melanie inside me. As I get older, perhaps.

    It’s also amazing, how the smallest thing said or overheard can sit with you for years and years afterward.

  2. Girrrrllll Power!!! Right on, Kristy! I’m with you 100%. And I am really glad you haven’t read that tome–that’s one of those I’ve never even considered picking up to read, and sometimes I feel like a real lunkhead for it! Well, maybe one day…after all, Tomorrow is another day 😉

  3. Oh, yeah, baby–you’re all that and more. Hunger gets us where we want/need to be, but now we need to feast. I do love those images of Scarlet–and all the womenfolk with their tongues wagging about what she’s doing that she shouldn’t be doing–but they’re mostly jealous and wish they had her gumption. And, if they only knew about Rhett carrying her up the stairs . . .

  4. I read this post with a 😀 on my face, Kristy. You’re all-Scarlett plus so much MORE and — as usual — my mind wonders whatever happened to “those” woman??? And, indeed, you started your own group, turning it into a phenomenon…how great is that?!

  5. I adore you and I’m very, very, very glad you invited me to be in your group. I would never talk about you in the toilet stalls and if needed I would even pass you tissue under the stall wall if you were in need.

  6. I might talk about you in the bathroom; you do have better hair than I do. And better lipstick.

    So, Kristy, have you checked their names on Amazon to see if they have a book published? Probably not necessary, success is its own revenge.

  7. Yeah–Scarlett is the STAR of the story (book and movie, yep, they’re alot alike, I’ve seen/read both–well, read one, seen the other. You should read it, really, it’s a great book!)

    Anyway.

    I was sort of you, but without lipstick, and in my MFA program, not a writers’ group. Enthused, driven and figuring everyone else would be, too.

    Ahem. Not the case.

    Mmm, however, I am the first of the group to be well published, which is its own kind of satisfaction.

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