Anything Can Happen Friday- Start Again

In the past ten days, three of my blog friends have decided to pull the plug on their blogs. These are three bloggers who I have followed for years, and I have built a relationship with. I laughed with them, cried at their pain and cheered at their successes. I have noticed other blog friends taper off how much they post. As I didn’t read any blogs a few weeks ago, I’m guessing I’m in for some other surprise exits.

Conversely, I’ve gained a lot of new followers in the past few weeks: people with brand new blogs. Welcome, if you are of one of those newbies.

So I’ve begun to think that the vaccination has given to a sort of rebirth. People taking stock of their lives- throwing out the things that aren’t working, trying to see what things fit their new mentality. People are starting anew.

I know we do this every year at New Year’s- those “resolutions” that things will be better in the upcoming year. The things that people usually give up on when Valentine’s Day rolls around.

But will this shift in our mentalities be different this time?

Have we survived our darkest hours?

Do we actually realize that we can be “better”? And if not better, maybe just try to do things a little differently because we see the futility? We’ve watched death come knocking and realize that it’s time to live, because the opposite is right there in front of us?

Do we want to start over?

I know that Spring is the traditional time of rebirth- the flowers are beginning to bloom, the leaves are itching to make an appearance. It is nature’s way of saying- Hey- new things are on the horizon if you are willing to open your eyes and look…come join the party…

Are you actively trying to start fresh?

Have you added something new to your routine, or have you tossed aside something that you held onto for far too long?

Do you have a brand new attitude?

Is this truly a time of to start over?

What do you think?

Sex is not Romance

Sex is…a bodily act…

Romance is another thing entirely…

So what’s the difference and why does it matter?

This is where I start to veer all over the place with this topic. We have the following random observations:

  1. Some people really like sex
  2. Some people really like romance
  3. Some people think romance is love
  4. Romance is often seen as the conduit to getting someone else have sex with you
  5. Romance is often associated with love
  6. People assume that if one person is romancing another, it means that they are in love
  7. People wrongly assume that if one person is romancing another, it means that they are in love
  8. Sometimes people romance another not because they are in love, but because they want to have sex
  9. Not everyone is romantic
  10. Everyone’s idea of romance is different

I could probably twist the words around a bit more, but you get the gist. Sex and romance are not the same but there are people who do not see the distinction. Or maybe they don’t want to see the distinction. I’m going to take a guess and say that people who want to be in love are going to take signs of romance as a sign of love.

Big mistake.

And I think this is where the problems start.

As I’ve been binge watching “The Big Bang Theory”, I came across an episode where Howard is planning something for the anniversary of his first date with his wife. Howard is known as being slightly oversexed. The Penny character (really attractive) begins to think that she never does anything romantic for her boyfriend. Her boyfriend (unsure about his attractiveness, but wants sex) does tend to do romantic things. The Sheldon character (not sexual at all) doesn’t do anything romantic, and his girlfriend complains about it. Raj, the character who desperately wants to be in love is clearly the most classically romantic of them all, and even romances all his friends in a friendship sort of way(and oddly, the only main character who ends up unmarried on the show)

Two male characters use romance as a way to show love and get sex

One male character doesn’t care about sex or common displays of love, so does nothing to romance his partner

One male character is innately romantic, yet, that seems to push women away

Is this a good correlation to actual life?

Could we start with a hypothesis that 50% of people use romance to get what they want, 25% don’t care one way or another, and 25% can’t find someone to love them the way they want to be loved? Would you say that out of the 50% who use romance to get sex, maybe only half of them are actually “in love”?

I am totally spitballing.

I have absolutely no idea about any of this, I’m just throwing our random observations and waiting for at least one of you (Deb) to make some sense of what I’ve said.

For Write my Blog Thursday, give me any observations about the correlation between romance and sex and love.

Why is this such a hard topic to think or write about? Is it impossible to define, or do we just not want to look behind the curtain of what this all actually means? Do we want to cling to any illusions that we harbor about sex or romance or love?

Discuss

https://anchor.fm/laover50

Nothing but the Truth

A few weeks ago, our friends and neighbors lost their dog. They got their little guy not long after we got ours, so I watched him grow up alongside my Sally. You all know how I feel about pets….my dog and cat are clearly my favorites…(if you don’t have the heart to read about pets who have died, you might not want to read further)

A few days after my Husband and I ran into the couple in the lobby. I hugged my friend M and we cried a little. Her Husband E (let me state that this is the most blunt man in the universe- he’s a lawyer for local government so bureaucrat is his middle name. E posed the question:

“Do you stay in the room with your dog when it’s time?”

Oddly, my daughter had recently read something in her psychology class about this very topic, so it had been a discussion I had just had recently. According to what my daughter said, apparently dogs look for their owner…

So I said to my neighbor- “If you’d asked me a few months ago I’d have said- not in the room. Now….I’m not sure.”

And the conversation went on a little longer and came to an organic conclusion.

When we got upstairs my Husband said that I should have asked a question to see what side of the aisle E was on before I answered- that I should have tailored my answer to his. Knowing how direct E is about literally everything, I felt honesty was the answer he was looking for.

I know I’ve asked this before, but I’m trying it again: How honest do people want us to be? How honest should we be? Do we let people think we agree so that we ease their minds? Or do we just flat out give an opinion?

When people ask an opinion question, how honest do they want us to be?

Was it rude of me to give my actual, honest opinion?

What’s the line between rude and honest?

 

I Need Your Opinion

One of my close friends had surgery recently.  Her ailment required the opinions of two specialists.  Of course, each specialist suggested a different path to get to the desired outcome.  By friend was a bit overwhelmed by all the information in front of her and asked the three other members of our little clan to give our thoughts on the process.

What I found interesting about this was the three separate approaches we had to making a decision.

  1. My Approach: I asked her what the pros and cons of each method were- the best case and worst case scenario
  2. Friend 1: She asked a Doctor friend for what he would recommend if the procedure were to be needed by someone he knew
  3. Friend 2: She described  her own issues with surgery and healing, and what her friends who had gone through the same procedure  thought, and did

Three people, three different methods of thought.  All valid. And oddly, all these methods led my friend to the same conclusion (coincidentally, also the decision she and her Husband were leaning towards anyway)

When you make decisions, what are the factors involved? Personally, I  make lists of the possible outcomes. (Yes- I will do anything possible to use a list.  I love lists) I formulate best and worst case scenarios.  I think about acceptable risk. This is the numbers part of me- I can’t help but calculate odds….no matter how hard I try to be a words girl, in the end,it always comes back to numbers.

I read about a subject.  And I read.  And I read. If I need to make a decision I try to read as many varied opinions as possible.

I ask questions. (Shocking that I would ask questions) To me, the greatest knowledge comes from the answers that people give you, both the verbal and the non verbal (if you’re looking at someone, check out the body language) Also, a non answer is also a very telling answer- if someone avoids the question, or gives you an inconclusive answer, what does that say?

And, in the spirit of asking questions: How do you make a decision?  How do you formulate an opinion? If a friend were to ask your advice, what method would you use to help them out?

Is one method superior to another?

I need your opinion: how do you form an opinion?

What Does Friend Really Mean?

Let’s start out with a disclaimer.  I get an idea for a blog, I pen it into my planner, and then I write about it.  My thoughts have been fruitful of late, so I’ve been about 2 1/2 weeks ahead in the thought process.  Now, since I took a hiatus, the idea for today’s blog came over a month ago, from a blog my friend Eilene wrote.  Here’s the problem- i don’t remember enough about her post to give it any kind of real reference as to what motivated me to write this.  But anyway…

What are the qualities you want in a friend.  Think about it.  I’ll wait…

Say, you want a friend to be honest.  Honesty is a good trait.  We want to deal with people in our daily lives who speak the truth and don’t lie.

Right?

Honesty is good, right?

We want our friends to be honest, right?

I binge watched “Grace and Frankie” (spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen it but plans on it) Before Frankie married, someone told her the man she was about to marry was gay.  Truthful, right?  Frankie didn’t speak to that person for 40 years.

Now, the person was honest, right?  But look at the outcome.  How honest do we want our friends to be?  How many people in our lives to we want to be completely honest with us?

Honesty often hurts.  When confronted with the cold, hard facts, we often crumble.  We get defensive.  My daughter recently asked me to review something she had written for her AP Lang assignment.  I told her it wasn’t very good, that she kind of skirted the question, and the voice was very passive when clearly the tone of the piece was supposed to evoke emotion.  My daughter stormed off.  She told me I was horrible.

Horrible?

Isn’t honesty good?

Don’t we want people to be honest with us?

Let’s think about how we define honesty.  Honesty is when we tell the truth.  Honesty is when we don’t lie. Lying is bad.

But are there things that are OK to lie about?  Are there times when a lie is justified?  Are there times when honesty is probably not the right course?

Let’s try this.  To be deceitful is definitely bad.  To tell a woman that you are single, when you are in fact married, is a bad thing.  Does anyone think this is an acceptable lie?

So, lying to be deceitful and not let someone have the whole story is bad.

Now I’m going to give you another TV reference.  Big Bang Theory spoiler alert.  On a recent episode, Amy picked out a wedding dress.  Penny and Bernadette thought the dress was hideous.  When Amy asked, Penny told her the truth.  Amy’s feelings were hurt.  Did Amy want the truth, or did she want agreement?

Which brings us to: if a friend asks an opinion question, is it OK to lie?  Would it really be a lie if Penny said the dress was beautiful?

In TV world, Penny ended up telling Amy that the dress was Amy’s choice, and it didn’t matter who liked it.  I thought this was the right approach to the situation, but does this choice make anyone feel better?

Opinion honesty is a tough call, because opinions are just that: opinions.  Opinions are based on a particular individuals thoughts, and might not necessarily be based on fact.  In my writing group, we share work.  Now as you know, writing work is very personal.  No one wants to be told that there is a flaw in their writing, or an inconsistency.  So I was in a quandary yesterday.  I told one of my writing friends (who is an absolutely amazing writer BTW) that I thought she had an issue with character development with one of her characters.  But it was based on my opinion.  True, i gave her examples of why I thought the character needed to be fleshed out a little more, but I don’t know if I’m right.  (mark this date down: I admitted that I might not be right about everything)  But I felt I needed to tell her how I felt, and why.

Should we give friends out true opinions of things, even when they are going to go against someone’s thought/beliefs/feelings?

So what are your thought on honesty as to how it pertains to friendship?  What is your definition of honesty?  Are you always honest with your friends about everything?  How about family?  Are you always honest with your family?

Discuss…

 

Criticism vs Opinion

A few weeks ago I mentioned something from my writing class. When I presented work, I was given competing critiques by two of my fellow writers: one classmate said my characters sounded too old, while another said my characters sounded too young.
So: was this an example of criticism/critique or an example of opinion?
What’s the difference? Lucky for you I have been overthinking this topic for weeks, and I have come up with the following self definitions.
Criticism/critique can be substantiated by a specific thing. You can tell someone an actual reason why something isn’t working. For example, one of my classmates recently wrote a story in which the narrator called another character a “dick”. My critique was that I had a problem with that specific word choice to describe the character because up to that point (and the rest of the story) there was no specific example to make this word be an apt description. Further, the action the character did show clearly did not qualify him as being a “dick” in any way, shape or form.  Critique is when you can pinpoint a place where the story starts to lose momentum, or jump the shark.  It’s also something that the majority of readers will have an issue with.  I’m not saying to write to the masses- you need to forge your own path and be happy with what you put on a page- I’m just saying that if 4 out of 5 readers think the ending is crap, you really have to consider if the ending is indeed, crap.  Also, to be clear, I realize that critique can be a form of opinion, but it’s valid to really consider these points when rewriting.

Now opinion.  An opinion is something that may very well be unique to the specific reader.  An opinion is influenced by what a reader brings into the reading, what their background knowledge is.  In the case of my story, the reader that said the characters seemed too young was 25 years older than me, while the reader that said the characters seemed too old was 25 years younger than me.  They clearly had an age bias that was neither good nor bad, but may not have been valid.  At 25 one might not have any idea that a 58 year old may not have the energy to party all night, while an 80 year old may think that 58 year old characters talking about their sex lives seems juvenile.  Is either reader right?  Doesn’t matter.  If the characters consistently behave in the same manner and their words and actions are in a linear path, they’re probably written correctly for the story.  (this is not to say I have written a perfect story- just that my characters have a pattern that is logical throughout- I hope).

I realize that I am splitting hairs, because opinion can be criticism, and criticism can be opinion.  But when judging other people’s work, we must be careful to think about the why – why something makes us feel negative or positive.  When someone bestows upon you the honor of reading their work, you must go into it with a clear and open mind.  It’s like taking a standardized test:  read and respond to what is written in the text presented to you, and answer questions and form opinions solely on that.  Your life experience doesn’t matter:  what matters is the way the work was written.  Does what the author say make sense? The minute you think “Well, in my experience…” you are no longer giving criticism: you are giving opinion.  Your expectation is that the situation in the story will play out the same way the situation in your life did.

So I will ask you my friends:  what is criticism and what is opinion?  When reading something do you automatically bring in background knowledge?

I really want your criticism/opinion.