Monthly Archives: March 2014
If there is one thing I cannot accept about so-called human nature, it is the ingrained desire to want to spread gossip. What I find worse still are those who take pleasure in others’ misfortunes. They are first in line when it comes to being on the pulse of all the latest rumours. They ask about others in the guise of concern but it is really just because they want to know the dirt.
People say that everybody talks about everybody. Some say it is human nature; I say it’s a cop-out. In my opinion, just because something is considered to be the social norm, does not make it right. Nor does it mean that those of us who are intelligent enough to see through it have to perpetuate it.
I recall an occasion where an acquaintance shared a secret with me that someone else had confided in her only hours earlier. That person had asked her to please not mention a word of it to anyone. My acquaintance’s promise to her friend obviously meant nothing and it raised a red flag for me. If someone can gossip about someone else and especially that easily, they will more than likely talk about me as well. No one is exempt.
Because of how malicious and mean-spirited I find most gossip, I make a conscious effort not to discuss anyone else’s business. Even if I hear something about a person and someone else later tells me the details which I already know, I pretend I am hearing it for the first time and add nothing further to the conversation. I have been entrusted with family secrets that I have kept from my own parents. When I commit to keeping a secret, there are no exceptions to the rule.
There have been times when I have heard a piece of gossip and wished that I hadn’t. I have stopped someone in the middle of a conversation and asked “Should you be telling me this?” Their answer is usually something like “You don’t know anyone she knows.”
Personally, I would just as soon not know what other people say about me. I do, however, usually figure it out when someone betrays my trust. As I have learned my lesson in the past, I now generally make it a rule never to tell anyone anything that I want to be sure remains confidential.
You might say it is a sad way to live, not trusting others. What I think is sad is that it has been proven as fact to me time and again that most people cannot keep their noses out of other people’s business.
On occasions when I have wanted to unburden myself and share a secret with a friend, I have always premised it by asking them to please not tell anyone else. I have gotten responses like “Who am I going to tell?” or “No offense, but I’ve got better things to talk about.” Not the answers I was looking for. Most people seem incapable of simply saying (especially with sincerity) “Of course this will never go beyond this conversation. I promise I won’t tell a living soul.”
I can’t change the world. I can only make sure that when I assure someone that I will protect his or her privacy, my word means something.
The next time you are about to spread gossip, stop yourself and think about this: How would you feel if you were in your subject’s shoes?
Just because everyone else does something does not mean the rest of us should just go along with it when we know we can do better. If we lead by example then maybe, just maybe, one day human nature won’t come quite so naturally.♠
Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014
One of the questions writers ask each other is how and where they find time for writing. Another thing we want to know is where other writers feel the most conducive atmosphere is for creativity.
I personally have discovered that a lot of ideas come to me while I am washing the dishes every night after dinner. As we do not have a dishwasher, I spend a fair amount of time on a daily basis cleaning up in the kitchen.
Hard to believe as it may seem, there are some cases where domestic duties can actually be – get ready for this one – relaxing. I don’t know if it is the suds from the dish-washing soap that is so soothing to me or the warmth of the water that I find so calming. Whatever it is, it works for me.
Rather than complain about yet another household chore, I make the most of my time to get in touch with my thoughts. It is as if, during the time I am washing the dishes, I am surrounded by a faint cloud, an aura of something protecting my mind from being disturbed by any outside thoughts or influences.
Don’t get me wrong; on the occasions where we go out for dinner or order in, I am not unhappy that I have a break from my usual clean-up, but doing the dishes can actually be therapeutic.
My lap top or note-book is never far away just in case I think of a story or article topic that I feel is worth getting down before I forget about it. I frequently take quick breaks from dish-washing and jot down some notes, often still wearing my rubber gloves. When I get back to the sink and my task at hand, my original idea hopefully develops further.
By the time I am done I have often organized my thoughts or decided on my next writing project. Who would have thought that a sink piled high with dirty dishes could be so inspiring?
On many nights my husband has commented on how hard I work and has offered to get me a dishwasher. As tempting as that sounds, I worry that it could potentially take away from some of my most productive writing time, or at least my most valuable quiet time to think about writing.
I don’t even like people helping me clean up in the kitchen. First of all, I find the space too small for two people to function comfortable or effectively. Mostly though, I think I just don’t want anyone to intrude on my precious time.
Not to mention, there is an added sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in completing a job that can sometimes feel daunting when I get started, but that usually turns out to be time worthwhile having spent. Each item washed is one less thing that needs to be done. I am one step closer to the finish line.
For now I am just as happy to continue doing the dishes by hand, without a dishwasher. Sure I spend a lot of time cleaning up every night; however, I do not think that time would be better spent doing something else.
Creativity can be sparked in the most unlikely of places and situations. When we least expect it a brilliant thought can come to us. I think that when you find your spot, no matter where that is, it is a good idea to stick with what works best for you.
There is no telling what will make its way into my imagination on any given evening. I wonder what it will be tonight. Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to it. So, the next time you have writers’ block or are in need of some tranquility, try washing some dishes.☼
Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014