Tuesday, May 24, 2016

FPFG and A Fresh Start

I was out of state last spring at a church adoption conference when I knew it was time. For many reasons, these out-of-the-way speaking gigs are among my favorite kind. With any luck, they serve up a classic church potluck lunch, complete with every salad imaginable, deviled eggs, and eighteen desserts. And often, most of the crowd has no clue who I am. It's oddly freeing and I dig it. On this particular occasion, a woman approached me afterward and said, "You're so different from what I expected. I saw your name on the flyer, Flower Patch Farmgirl, and, I don't know, I guess I thought you'd be talking to us about canning or something."

I wasn't sure how to respond, because on one hand, canning is no joking matter and we would all be so lucky to be thought a canner. On the other hand, if I had to list my top five strengths, canning wouldn't exactly rank. And on both hands and feet combined, it began to feel important that my name represent who I am and what I do.

So I did what I usually do when it's time to make a change.

I talked about it incessantly. I wondered, worried, and twiddled my extra-long thumbs. 

The year that followed was a tangle of similar conversations, to the point that a legit identity crisis was brewing.

Exhibit A:

* April, 2016. Writing conference.
A writer I admire approaches my group. I begin to introduce myself (as Shannan Martin). She cuts me off, saying, "Oh, I know you! You're Flower Patch Farmgirl!" Conversation over.

Later that night, I mulled over the burning question of my existence for the umpteenth time with Cory. "I'm writing a book about living in the city! Not only that, I'm almost forty! The 'girl' part doesn't even work anymore!"

Exhibit B (aka The Final Straw):

* Two weeks later. City engagement conference.
One of the event coordinators is debriefing with me following the event and says, "So-and-so gave me the side-eye when I told her she was speaking with Flower Patch Farmgirl. All I could do is tell her, 'You've just got to trust me'." (So-and-so did trust her and we totally clicked and my fixation of so-and-so has now reached a potentially uncomfortable level for her.)

What I'm trying to say is, my name is getting increasingly difficult to explain. Even more, a name, by virtue, should not require explanation.

There's a disconnect between an author publishing a book about city life, urban poverty, jail, public school, neighborhood community, and diversity, but who bears the name Flower Patch Farmgirl.

I'm making a switch very soon to Shannan Martin Writes, because 1) I'm Shannan Martin. 2) I am a writer. 3) shannanmartin.com was already taken. ;)

The next time we hang out here, things will look a bit different. You won't have to do anything at all. Just keep showing up for me and I'll keep doing the same for you. The top of my blog will be fresh, fly, and so, so pretty. (I cannot wait to show you!)

But everything about who I am and what I'm about will stay the same, which is to say I'll never stop growing, changing, stretching, and circling back to where I started.

A part of me will always be a farmgirl at heart.
I will continue to bloom in the city.
Flowers will always be my friends.
I don't plan to ever stop tracking down the delight of God's goodness in my gritty corner of the world.
I'll keep writing it all down.

We met here, some of us nearly eight years ago, others more recently, and formed a community that is beautiful beyond anything I could have imagined. I can't quit you.

Change has a tendency to make us sweaty in the pits, but it's important. Necessary, even.

Thank you for never being afraid to grow with me.

Forever yours,
Shannan

(Please don't stop calling me FPFG. It's part of me and I'd miss it too much.)
ps - Plates have all shipped! Glory.

36 comments:

  1. The end of an era.....but the beginning of a new one. Can't wait to see the new page and to keep reading along. And one day, even if it's many years from now, I hope to meet you and eat a 5 course meal of our favorite junk food while talking about all things from serious to hilarious. Ephesians 2:10 as you move forward!

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  2. I love this and you and love eavesdropping on how you process. It makes me feel normal :)

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  3. What an exciting change! I can't wait to see the new look!

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  4. I am really excited about the change! I have always loved FPFG but understand the change to your name. Can't wait to see the new look!

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  5. Shannan Martin Writes....I like it! Excited for the changes. 1. Change is good. 2. Change is never easy.

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  6. been following along for a short while...but YOU and your writing humble me, delight me, and sometimes just plain get me through the day...can't wait to see the new page!

    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

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  7. Love, love, love your writing - by any name!

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  8. I'm still thinking about shannanmartin.com being taken. How many people spell Shannan that way--and how many of those have Martin as a last name? Is it one of those "buy 'em up" people hoping to extort you to get to use your own name? If so, you're a real celebrity! And BTW, I'm from Texas, and you can get called "girl" way past 40...it's one of the joys of life.

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  9. Oh I can't wait! This is gonna be fun. I'll follow you and sing your praises no matter what your name is. Also? WHY didn't the gods of the internet tell us in 2008 just to use our names?

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  10. Way to go Shannon! Enjoy this next part of your journey, inspiring and encouraging all of us. You are a blessing.

    FlowerLady

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  11. YAY! I am excited for your new name! I've been following for YEARS and i'm so excited for you to move into this new name & season!

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  12. ...so I have often thought the same thing, about the disconnect...good decision to evolve with your journey and choosing a more neutral brand contributes to that flexibility. Kudos!

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  13. Ooh! New look! My design-loving self is all fluttery anticipation.

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  14. Can't wait to see the new look!

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  15. Can't wait to see the new look!

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  16. I understand completely. Completely. I had another URL for yearrrrrs and only late last year changed to marciafrancois.com. In my defence, some realtor had it for many years and I had others like marciafrancoisspeaks.com for a while but finally, my real name.

    on another note, I'm going to be a teensy bit sad to see FPFG go because the interesting name is what made me click through on one of your lovely comments somewhere on the internet.

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  17. Change is good. I know, not all change, but lots of times it is. It really is. I will love what you write just as much no matter what it says at the top of the page. It's gonna be good. For sure. <3

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  18. wahhhhhh i knew what what coming the minute i read the title! i remember you briefly mentioning to me that you were gonna switch to shannanmartin, and because i hate change, i was the saddest about it. but fine. you're right. its time. FINE SHANNAN. this is good for me.

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  19. Oh part of me will miss the FPFG so much, but I totally understand! You want a name to fit your identity and over the years of following you, I feel like you have grown past the FPFG and are in a whole new world now! Excited to see the new design :)

    www.thegirlontheverge.com

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  20. Yes! I love this...

    I don't plan to ever stop tracking down the delight of God's goodness in my gritty corner of the world.
    I'll keep writing it all down.

    I don't think I'm a writer, but I want to be a writer downer...(yeah, def not a writer...)

    To search for and find God's goodness in all the corners? To listen well? to feel the Holy Spirit's elbow to my ribs saying pay attention? Those are things I need to write down.

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  21. It's fun to hear how you debate/sweat about these things... at my house I am frequently told to get over myself when I do likewise...Lol! One of the many gifts of being the only female in a sea of males. As I read this, I'm thinking of my instagram username which is deetergirl... I never once thought about being too old to be a girl(as I was over 40 when I made that account)...I've always seen myself as nearly the only Deeter female surrounded by Deeter men and boys, in the entire family line. deeterwoman sounds ridiculously like a German superhero and deeterlady sounds like an old lady (sorry old ladies!), and deeterfemale... well that's just weird. So you had me thinking for a millisecond, but not really ;)

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    1. APRYL!!! Hey! Hi!
      This was so fun to read and the Deeterwoman thing is still making me LOL. I still almost exclusively refer to myself as a girl. I can't quit. I had to edit it a few times in my book. I get it! But trust me, if you found yourself forced to introduce yourself, out loud and in professional settings using the word "Girl", you might begin to have doubts... :)

      I love your IG name and I love my FPFG name! But it'll be a relief to just say "I'm Shannan Martin" when necessary.

      And yes, I was to the point of telling myself to GET OVER MYSELF. :) I'm an afflicted over-thinker. Let's go with that. ;)

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  22. Excited for you! In my heart of hearts you will always be FPFG because I believe she is a part of you and we have grown to love her madly but because FPFG IS Shannan we will continue to love you and your writings (and your salsa...).

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  23. So happy for you. Can't wait to see the new updates. Will always be a farm girl at heart, too.

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  24. I've found you since you left the farm, or just as you were leaving, but when I tell people about you, it's been that same awkward, well, she's not a farm girl... so I am yay for the change for you!
    Just for fun, I checked out if shannonmartin.com was taken - she hasn't written since 2009 (why still pay the fees lady?!) - so if you really want change, you could switch to the o and then ask to have her url :) I wonder if she'll suddenly have an uptick in traffic, with people who don't know about the a... :)

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  25. You will always be my favorite "fly" gurl...no matter your age, or blog title. But if anyone gives you guff about the change, I will be your crafty/minivan-momma/sister-from-another-mister/ninja, and track them down. Promise. :-)

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  26. Aw, what an exciting change! I've wondered when this would happen!

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  27. So exciting and you will still always be FPFG in my mind! Even my husband knows you as FPFG :-D!

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  28. I have been reading your posts for years. You have touched my heart and shown me a brave way to see the world. Love the change:)

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  29. I think this change is great! At any rate, it's gonna go down way more smoothly than the recent Instagram changes. So, there's that. ;)

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  30. GASP! There is another ShannanMartin?! ;)

    Love the new look and name, but more than that, I love what you are about.

    Xo

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  31. Thanks for making me giggle through this whole post. Love the new look, already love the upcoming book and as always love your heart!

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  32. Thanks for making me giggle through this whole post. Love the new look, already love the upcoming book and as always love your heart!

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  33. I check in here daily....if I have the time. So happy that you continue to post and share your thoughts and life with this blog. It is appreciated and enjoyed....Michelle.

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