10 Things to Never Say to a Writer

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Have you hurt a writer’s feelings lately? Do you even care?

Here’s a fun look at 10 things a writer can live without hearing:

1.  “Oh, you’re one of those types.”

Why, of course we are. We sit around all day under the open arms of a shady oak tree, carving poetry into its bark as we ponder mysteries like crop circles and Lindsay Lohan.

Puh-lease.

We do it under birch trees, silly.

2.  “No one really reads the copy anyway.”

Yes! They liked the way the ad looked. The heck with the copy!

Back in my Madison Avenue days, I got this one a lot.  The satisfied smiles and “awwwws” would ooze from client’s mouths quicker than you could say, “but wait, read the copy too.”

Either they had outstanding eyesight or . . . (sigh) they were so smitten by the striking visual prowess that stood before them (hey, I can admit it) that reading copy was virtually pointless.  Words were just a hodgepodge of ugly Afterthought Misfits, tagging behind one beautiful image after another.

So it goes.

3.  “The client just decided to make this a ‘product is hero’ ad.”

Translation: all those creative meetings and ah-ha shower moments laden with clever headlines and life-changing body copy? Out the window! New title for the creative department: Senior Phone Number & Website Inserter.

Everyone knows it’s all about the pretty pictures; no one really reads the copy anyway.

Smirk.

4.  “Is that really what you always wanted to do?”

You’ve really always enjoyed writing? Seriously?

Often coupled with a head tilt and an “I’m so sorry” air of pity, this one is enough to make you want to reach into your back pocket of childhood nannie-nannie-boo-boos and ask, “is that really what you always wanted to smell like?”

C’mon.

Of course it’s what we’ve always wanted to do.  Cliché but true: it’s who we are.

5.  “Yeah, but what do you do for a living?”

Um . . . no offense taken.

I get it. We all just hang around Barnes & Noble with our moleskin journals clenched tight to our penniless palms and wonder about tomorrow.

For crying out loud, we do the same thing you do for a living: work hard—really hard—at this writing thing. Lose sleep over it. Love it.  Hate it. Wonder for much longer than we should if we would have been better off writing, “excess” instead of “plethora” (thus beginning a domino-effect of insanity: when the new word moseys in the story, the feel of the sentence becomes altered, throwing an entire paragraph off kilter . . . in other words: rewrite. All this over one measly word. Wouldn’t have it any other way, though).

We enjoy writing with a passion so great we can’t imagine a life without it and its creative freedoms.

What do you do for a living?

6.  “You’re a writer? You and everyone else, ha ha.”

Ex.

Cuse.

Me?

You’re a veterinarian? You and everyone else.

You’re a cashier? You and everyone else.

Hmmmph.

Guess it’s a typical case of everyone professing to be an expert at everything. Sure, I know that these days, everyone’s blogging, posting, responding, submitting, journaling, suggesting . . . you get the point. So yeah, I suppose everyone’s a writer. Some are cranking out two-sentence “blogs” riddled with typos. Others are submitting irrelevant news story responses that bash “yo momma” more than they stay on topic.

Yup, everyone’s a writer.

And Paula Deen has a Brooklyn accent.

7.  “You must be awesome at ‘Words with Friends!’”

Words.  With.  Friends.

Isn’t that  . . . conversation?

Newsflash. Some of us have never even played the game.  Just because I’m a writer, does not mean I greet every sunrise with a crossword puzzle, ponder my inbox “word of the day” for hours and rearrange magnetic refrigerator letters as soon as I get home.  (Although I have been known to respond to emails in rhyme . . .  ah, must be the coffee kicking in).

I love, love, love to write. But there’s more to us writers than staring adoringly at our bowl of alphabet soup. Our firstborns aren’t named Prose Williams or Irony Smith. We swim, bathe and drench ourselves in words, but such immersion is not synonymous with drowning.

8.  “What do you do with all that free time?”

I’ll tell you what I do. I feel my blood pressure spike when such a question spews forth from your itty bitty curled up lips, that’s what I do.

Free time, my sweet patookie.

9.  “Lucky you, an easy job like that!”

Oh, yes indeedy, it’s a breeze to adopt various writing styles at the drop of a hat. Oh, and trying to inform while simultaneously entertaining readers? Piece ‘o cake.  Novels?  Done in one, two weeks tops. My blog posts? Five minutes. Drafts? Drafts are for sissies.

When I worked as an ad agency copywriter, I used to have this quote on the back of my business card:

“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”

– Enrique Jardiel Poncela

True words, my friends. True words.

10.  “Writing must be sooo boring.”

This is akin to telling an antique automobile restorer that his passion is downright absurd—to his face. While standing in his garage.

You’re a radiologist? (Eye roll) Whatever.

A motivational speaker?  Stooopid.

Maybe writing ain’t (yes, I said, “ain’t”) your cup of tea, but let’s agree on this: I respect your choice, you respect mine.

Writing is anything but a bore. It’s a thrill, a challenge, a maddening yet supremely satisfying adrenaline rush. It’s bliss.

I also enjoy this quote:

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

 – James A. Michenerl

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more tangling to do.

No birch trees in sight, thank you very much.

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Frozen Peas and Capris? Yes, Please.

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Thanks to a frenzy of “Walmartian” websites showcasing customers clad in Richard Simmon-esque shorts, white fishnets and orange pumps (and that was a man),  “chic” and “Walmart” don’t quite go hand in hand.

So like a bullied child, the store gets made fun of, laughed at and worst of all . . . ignored.

Therefore, it’s high time we embrace our “glass half full” optimism and flirt a little with this mysterious underdog. That is, let’s give Walmart  —one of my favorite stores (there, I said it)— a try.

A more serious try.

Together, we can push this Grannie bloomer and kitty turtleneck “WalMyth” to the curb and instead, browse flattering cups – demi and ceramic. There, we can choose between hair colors and hair traps, 3-inch pumps and 3-pound weights. Through it all, we’ll look more closely at the quirky characters in bestsellers or on funky graphic tees and not so much at the ones that may be standing next to us.

Let’s not forget the convenience factor, too. In today’s world, it sure is easier—and expected—to have immediate access to everything you want, precisely when you it. What store does this better than Walmart? Feta cheese, doe urine, Nair and a Paula Deen stockpot.

All that, plus the chance to spot a spandex-wearing grandmother desperately trying to find her electric blue eyeliner . . . and her unique inner chic.

Welcome, Walmart shoppers.

The roasted chicken and clothing combo.

 

Is it me, or is that Potato Smiling?

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Here's Lookin' at You, Spud

There’s the famous Face on Mars, the Jesus Toast Face  (Crust Almighty . . . all the media hype that one got!) and even partial faces like the breathtaking God’s Eye Nebula image.

But that’s old news.

Introducing (drum roll please)  . . .

Ultra-Alarmed Ultrasound Face. A November 4, 2011 article appeared on major news sites showcasing a rather startling tumor discovery. It was clear as day; no head tilts, eye squinting or fancy libations were needed to view the face in this image:

But it doesn’t stop there.

Prefer art over ultrasounds? The latest news revolves around the appearance of the devil’s face in Giotto’s famous fresco, “Life and Death of St. Frances.”  Dark horns and a profile lurk in the clouds. It’s believed that this was an intentional act carried out by the 13th century painter who apparently did this for the fun, er, hell of it. Turns out, the devil really is in the details.

The proliferation of faces brought to our awareness by the media as well as friends (finally, friends admit to seeing faces too!) brings me a bit of relief. For years now, I’ve seen faces. Faces everywhere.

When Life Gives you Lemons . . .

Picasso-esque Tree Face

Throughout my life, there’s been friendly food faces and grinning skyscrapers, terrorized expressions of firepit logs and even unhappy little candles. I’ve been talking about seeing faces ’til I’ve been, you know, blue in the face.

Petrified Wood: Facing the Flame

 

Straight Faced

Face the Facts: Just Your Usual Case of Pareidolia

So I did what many people do when they think they suspect a fever or a case of the crazies: I turned to the good ‘ole internet for some “am I normal?” assessments. Turns out, the phenomena of seeing faces in objects like shoe laces or chicken wings is called Pareidolia.  Whew.

I see you!

A 2007 NY Times article delves into the reasons why we see Demi Moore on a radish or Bozo the Clown in molten lava. According to Dr. Takeo Watanabe, a neuroscientist at Boston University, when the brain is exposed to a stimulus, it continues to perceive that stimulus even when it’s long gone. So, our gray matter holds on tight to all of the faces we’ve seen throughout our lives. From pictures of Grandma to strangers at Disney World, we remember every nose, scar and expression and apparently, we’re always in a state of high face recognition alert. Dr. Watanabe concluded,  “people have gotten so used to seeing faces everywhere that sensitivity to them is high enough to produce constant false positives.”

Sad Candle

So, what does this all mean? Whatever you want, I suppose. Messages from the heavens? Perhaps. A fantastic Jesus on a Jerky eBay sale?  Could be.  

But maybe, just maybe, it simply is what it is. Let’s face it, even Freud once said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Or is it?

All Smiles!

Trick. Or Treat?

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“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” – Eckhart Tolle

Some pretty scary things have happened to me in life. Knee surgery. Meetings. Air Supply. That kind of thing.

This time of year undoubtedly taps into our fears, (not to mention sugar cravings). Between spooky movie marathons, lawns turned into cemeteries and videos about weight-lifting ghosts, Halloween heightens our awareness for all things scary.

My scariest moment? Had nothing to do with goblins or fake fangs. Instead, my family was put in jeopardy at the hands of an intruder – a true story that I remember vividly. 

I was in the third grade. At that age, my mind ebbed and flowed between slumber parties and cabbage patch kids, school trips and selling Thin Mints. The world was good.

 Picture This

I sat in my living room doing homework when suddenly the ear-piercing sound of glass shattered my thoughts. The noise came from the backyard window, where razor-sharp bits flew through the air and into our breakfast nook. Slivers penetrated carpet as they ricocheted off the table. At the window was a masked man, his leg now halfway through.

Infused with terror, I sprinted up the stairs three steps at a time, shouting frantically for my mom. She was in her bedroom, getting dressed and ready to meet my father for a parent-teacher conference.

I double locked the bedroom door (because clearly, an eye-hook latch in addition to the usual handle lock will stop any burglar in his tracks) and called the police. Time was of the essence. My mom’s hands trembled as she lifted the window and crawled to safety on the partial roof. I joined her, the howls of sirens already echoing in the distance. 

Surely, the intruder was on the other side of the door at this point, foot raised, about to kick the door. My mind played out knives at throats scenarios, where nightstands fly through the air and rattle plants loose from their terra cotta homes.

If we had to jump to safety, we would. I was ready.

Within minutes, unmarked police cars tore down the street. Not just two or three, but quantities of CSI Miami proportions. Guns were drawn, German Shepards exited vehicles. The house was surrounded.

One officer stayed near us, some 15 feet below.

“Stay up there. . . just stay there. . .”

With reluctance, neighbors started coming out of their homes. Gladys, the old lady next door who loved cheese sandwiches and talking about the Young & the Restless, was wide-eyed, looking up at us from her porch. Others watched, more cautiously, through the blinds.

Inside these two minutes, it occurred to me that this might be the proverbial “it.”

At any given moment, I might be floating towards the white light as the Young & Restless theme song accompanied my journey, the scent of my Mom’s White Linen perfume attaching itself to flickering visions of dirty gutters and cheese sandwiches. I was weak with worry, mad with fear.

Frame of Mind

“Ma’am?”

Another officer addressed my mom. His face showed relief as he turned down the squelch of his scanner. 

“Everything’s going to be just fine.” He smiled slightly adding, “We didn’t even go inside.”

What?  I started to hear the soap opera’s violins. Victor Newman. Michael Damian.

My mom asked, “but did you find him? Where’s the . . .”

Again, the smile. “We looked in one of your windows and noticed that a large picture frame had fallen off the wall, in the same area you heard the burglar breaking and entering.”

Pure happiness surged upon hearing his words. Thin Mints. Cabbage Patch Kids. White Linen. Life was good. . . again.

Yet just as I felt safe, I felt completely foolish; the brave fleeing of a scary, scary madman, the heroics of triple stair climbing and calm police dialing . . . vanished. My Mom on the roof, the feeling of wasting the NYPD’s time . . . downright embarrassing. I had been tricked by a sound that caused me – and my imagination – to quite literally leap before looking.

Suddenly, life was so . . . ordinary.

Or was it?

Back inside, the frame was still in tact, its oak arms still tightly embracing an image that, for years, sat quiet and still. Void of its now-shattered protective shell, its image was seen in a new light, perhaps for the first time. It made some noise, caused a bit of a scene and broke away from its normal ways. Sure, it was slightly marred from the incident, but nothing that carefully picking up the pieces and moving on couldn’t fix.

Fear, it turns out, can be a bit of a good thing.

Stop Saying My Grandmother Blows!

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Almost overnight, both of my grandmothers are on everybody’s you-know-what list.

Both well into their 80s, they smile at the memories of Lawrence Welk, reminisce about their crocheted sweaters, and still use words like, “rouge,” and “brooch.” To both,  “fresh” is not about milk, but instead, ill-tempered children. And they both have the same first name: Irene.

So suddenly, with headlines like, “Irene Blows,” my innocent Grammies have become doily-making demons, publicly branded as ruthless little ladies who, well, blow.

It’s a bit awkward to simultaneously associate one name with equal amounts of love and hate. There’s undergarment Irene. There’s undertow Irene. Sigh.

I hear the name and remember a woman once active with her local New York State community lodge. She organized church rummage sales. The other Irene made intricate sweaters and scrumptious lemon bar cookies. Yet, I’m jarred from this memory as constant Hurricane Irene updates inform: 

“Irene Takes Lives of Dozens.” 

Sigh again. When you see your grandmother’s name on par with such widespread destruction, never mind that she blows, it’s a tad unsettling. It’s just . . . odd. 

First, it was the urging for my grandmothers to get the heck out of dodge. “Go Home, Irene!”

“How rude! That’s my Grammie you’re talking about!” Yet at the same time, I thought, “yes! Take that, Irene. You go and don’t ever come back!”

Oh, Irene.

NOAA’s Art: Hurricane Names

Apparently the notion of naming a hurricane in this fashion was adopted by NOAA in the 1950s (women’s names only; the addition of men’s names came later, in 1978). The process began with longitude/latitude designations and later evolved to something less complex. According to NOAA’s History of Hurricane Names:

“Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older, more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. These advantages are especially important in exchanging detailed storm information between hundreds of widely scattered stations, coastal bases, and ships at sea.”

Hence, Irene. Snookie. You know, things like that.

Personally, I’d prefer a name that carries a more sophisticated, yet  fierce label. One that imparts an air of hope, yet subtly suggests a darker side, much like many colognes and perfumes. Drakkar Noir. Magie Noir. Cool Water. Inherent danger? Maybe. Maybe not. 

This notion got me thinking. It’s not just the Irenes. There’s every Tom, Dick and Harry that’s a part of a well-accepted phrase, be it good or bad. Is every Joe just some ordinary “Joe Blow”?  Or every Jane, plain? Great Scott! . . . I don’t think so.

I know we’re talking about a catastrophic hurricane that tore boardwalks and families about. (And continues to, as of this writing). Yet with every mention of the word, “Irene,” I can’t help but see the pleasant, cheek-pinching sweetness of my grandmothers’ smiles.

So 20 years from now when my husband turns to me as we follow the path of Cashmere Mist on TV and asks, “Remember Irene?” I most certainly will. I’ll remember the destruction as well as the doilies, the powerful Irene and later, the weakening Irene – never forgetting the memories of all three.  

                                         

Jennifer Lilley, 37, is happy to have two terrific grandmothers named Irene and to have weathered Hurricane Irene with very minimal damage. She’s saddened to hear of the devastation the hurricane has caused and has everyone in her thoughts.

© Jennifer Lilley and Jen Lilley’s Thought Buffet, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lilley and Jen Lilley’s Thought Buffet with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lent, and Thoughts of Another Man

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This being Lent and all, it only seems appropriate that I confess a little something during this time of reflection:

I think about another man constantly.

A famous man.

OK.

Elvis.

Specifically, I can’t stop thinking about having lunch with Elvis.

This Lunch with Elvis notion is so much more than conversation over quesadillas. The heat between us always gives way to memorable moments that are brimming —no, overflowing— with a goosebump inducing balance of sweet, bold moves. Steamy stuff.

Is it a fancying of those Nike-swoosh sideburns? Thoughts of those rhythmic hip shakes? Not at all. What this all boils down to is very real, and the thoughts brewing in my head are filled with enough desire to fuel entire cities.

All Shook Up – A Lent Decision

You see, Lunch with Elvis is actually a coffee at No Joe’s Coffeehouse in Red Bank, N.J. It’s named for the banana and peanut butter hankerings Elvis supposedly developed in his less health conscious, later years – and it’s delicious.

It’s also what I announced I would give up during Lent. Not just Lunch with Elvis (bad), but all coffee (stupid).

Imagine me, whose kitchen prominently features a sign with the phrase, “Coffee is not a drug, it’s a vitamin.” Me, who, despite the sighting of an employee picking lint from her belly button (NOT at the aforementioned café) still walked in and ordered coffee from her. Me, with orderly, British Guard rows of Turkish roasts and ground Hazelnut packages proudly lining cabinet shelves.

This, my friends, is all about what it’s like to go without hot, bold excitement for 46 days (1,104 hours; 66,240 minutes; 3, 974,400 seconds to be exact).

And I sure do miss every bit of those heart-racing moments.

Heartbreak Hotel

The instant I blurted my declaration, heartache hit. I could have said, “I’m giving up coffee . . . ” then paused at the absurdity and added, “cake.” I’m giving up coffee cake.” But nooooo.

After the announcement, one of my first thoughts was, “I wonder if they make coffee tea?” Is there such a thing as a “Lent Take Back”? Could I go back on my word? Geesh, what had I gotten myself into?

I realized right then and there that if I were going to do this, I’d have to fully unleash my perfectionist, all-or-nothing side. Therefore, I bid adieu to all things coffee related (really stupid). Coffee ice cream, coffee yogurt, coffee infused chocolates – banished.

I was going to do this, come hell or high water.

Caffeine Deprived Confessions

The first three days I woke to a screaming headache just at the base of my neck. I turned to Chamomile tea, you know, the one whose box boasts a bear donning a sleeping cap. Surely images of a carnivore in pajamas, coupled with the promise of a delightful flavor, would soothe my caffeine-depleted soul.

   

Two days later, the headaches faded, but the yearning for coffee’s wonderful taste did not. Much to my chagrin, not everyone around me chose to give up coffee (the nerve!). And so every morning, the smell of arabica beans beckon. Nothing that my daily ritual of picking up the pot (and yes, inhaling) can’t fix. I wonder how silly I must look, deep breathing fresh brewed java straight from the pot. In some weird way, I almost believe I can acquire taste via the olfactory tract.

Becoming one with the Bean

Other times, I open the bag and draw a sharp breath, hold in the aroma, then steadily release. I feel focused, centered. Someday I will open a yoga center, designed to help others achieve inner peace by becoming one with the bean. Whole bean deep breathing. There, the likes of Suri Cruise and perhaps a cleaned up Sheen will visit, striking poses with names like Bean Tuck and Sunrise Stir.

At home, coffee is reminiscent of a child’s relentless finger tapping. Try to ignore me. Bet ya can’t. Try to ignore me. Bet ya can’t.

At work, coffee presents the same in-your-face dilemma. I find myself discreetly pausing over a just-tossed coffee cup. There, I briefly hover near the garbage can to enjoy a whiff of still-warm hazelnut infused Styrofoam.

Earl Grey, Genghis Khan . . .

Regardless how many tea flavors I have —Earl Grey, Pomegrante Green, Licorice— it just doesn’t impart the same sensory experience as coffee. No matter how robust a tea’s name, it can’t fool me. No Earl, no rooibos, no country or philothantropic endeavored title can trick me into thinking that its flavor is a rich as its name.

Now, a fine blend of Genghis Khan oolong, Cayenne Molasses tea leaves, Horseradish Inferno with a bit of honey. . . perhaps we’re on to something.

Nah.

This is your Brain. This is your Brain Not on Coffee.

A couple of weeks into Lent, a disturbing notion entered my mind: What if I’ve lost my coffee craving?

It’s Easter Sunday. I’m at my parent’s house and take that highly-anticipated first sip of coffee. Instantly, my face turns red, eyes water, and without warning, I spew caffeinated saliva all over the ham and hot cross buns.

Silence. Droplets of Lunch with Elvis bead down my father’s new Easter sweater.

“Whoopsee,” I muster. “ I guess the taste of coffee doesn’t suit me anymore.”

My Mom, rather than being upset at the mess, hands me a tea bag instead, her kind smile suddenly sprouting fangs as her head spins violently. All the while, the whistling teapot reaches an ear-splitting level, with enough intensity to shatter the eggs right out of their colored shell. Then . . . as far as the eye can see are chamomile fields. Fields in the living room, creeping across the ceiling, blanketing neighbors’ lawns, even poking through the hot cross buns. And in each field, Easter Bunnies with teacups and grizzlies in nightcaps dance together, mocking me.

 

Hmmph. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I think it makes the imagination just go crazy.

Mostly though, I pretend to ignore the cravings. I’m cool, me and my teabag tag stapled to a string, swaying over the sides of a cup. Carefree, nonchalant. Look at me. Look at the tag twirl in the breeze. I’m having non-coffee.

Yip. Eee.

The Five Stages of (Coffee) Grief

This whole experience reminds me of the five stages of grief, a coping model Elisabeth Kubler-Ross established in the late 60s.

Her model described, in five discrete stages, ways people deal with grief (yes) and tragedy (yes) mainly when dealing with a catastrophic loss (yes again). I find it applies to those giving up coffee during Lent, but who knows.

1. Denial — “I feel fine.” “This can’t be happening, not to me.”

Coffee Grief Example: This chamomile tea is just fine, really. These headaches are just from sleeping the wrong way or something. I feel fine. Some people even say coffee’s not that good for you anyway.

2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!” “How can this happen to me?”

Coffee Grief Example: Are. You. Kidding. Me? Another coffee commercial. Damn you and your best part of waking up jingle. This is not fair! Why is this happening to me? And you – yeah you with your job loss and divorce and illness- you don’t know pain until you’ve gone without coffee. I mean, have you even HAD Lunch with Elvis?

3. Bargaining — “Just let me live to see my children graduate.” “I’ll do anything for a few more years.” “I will give my life savings if…”

Coffee Grief Example: I’d do anything to taste even just a little, please . . . Just let me live long enough to have Lunch with Elvis again. Don’t let anything happen to get in the way of this. Please.

4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” “What’s the point?” “I miss my loved one, why go on?”

Coffee Grief Example: I miss coffee so much, the yeaning in my heart is almost too much to take. What’s the point? Why even bother with tea? I miss my one true love, coffee.

5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.” “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

Coffee Grief Example: It’s going to be okay. I have less than a week to go. I’m going to be just fine until then.

“Until then,” of course, is Easter Sunday.

I’m looking forward to embracing the Spirit of the day. Family. Goodness on Earth. Ham. A time to sit, —perhaps in a corner alone— coffee pot in one hand, a large straw in the other, returning at long last to my true love and the blessed state of caffeinated, steamy bliss that only we share.

Jennifer Lilley, 36, drinks her coffee black, two packets of sweetener, no cream. She thinks “Small” shouldn’t even be a choice offered in cafes and believes there’s no such thing as a bad cup of coffee. Ever. For the record, she does enjoy tea on occasion. Easter will not be one of those occasions.

The author, ready for some java!

© Jennifer Lilley and Jen Lilley’s Thought Buffet, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lilley and Jen Lilley’s Thought Buffet with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Happy New Year! Now, Just Calm Down.

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As 2011 unfolds, so too will the deluge of New Year’s texts and tweets, posts and pings. The world will be all Dick Clark This and Drunkfest That. The first New Year’s baby.  The first earthquake. The first bird that flew by a window. Resolutions. Wedding proposals. Thong colors. You know, the usual updates we share with all 3 or 300 of our followers and friends. 

And why not? 

        

 

All the World’s an Open Tweetbook

The world’s become one open Tweetbook, all Snookified and a bit out of control: Characters with limits. Everything on full display —loud and proud— all in the name of showcasing the us that we are. Or were. Or want to be.

Suddenly colleagues know that not only do we prefer morning meetings, but that we’re attending them in a hot pink bra.

They know so, because we posted so.

Family members know we enjoy Grandma Petunia’s pancakes, but they also know we enjoy grooming a certain region of our body in the shape of a Christmas tree.

They know so, because we tweeted so. 

  

 

A-Merrily we Text Along?

It’s no wonder then, that with every tweet and text, it’s often assumed that an all-access pass to our personal psyche comes standard. Little by little, the world begins to think that every topic, about every person and in any social setting, makes for appropriate conversation in the public domain.

Just because the world’s merrily tweeting along and Ville-trading pigs for goats or goats for soap at work, at home, on the bus, in the bathtub, does not mean our innermost thoughts should be put on display at work, at home, on the bus, in the bathtub. Yet it happens. It’s almost as if the thought process is, “Well, heck, everyone knows I’m wearing hot pink sweet nothings, so what’s the big deal in telling them the real reason behind my fear of mashed potatoes or (fill in the blank).” Alternatively, others think they have the right to prod and push, asking the intimate details of another individuals private life —at a restaurant, at work, during a family outing— because, “after all, they took that ‘who were you in a past life’ quiz and let everyone know about that time (fill in the blank).”

 

We All Have “Stuff”

As one character on a Grey’s Anatomy episode said this year, “We all have stuff. It doesn’t make it drinks conversation.”

 

Granted, her colleagues’ prodding wasn’t due to texting or tweeting. Yet it illustrates the point, in this texting and tweeting world of ours, that there’s something to be said for the privacy, and respect of that privacy, behind our own thoughts and decisions. The thoughts that only we own, that stand tweetless and treasured for reasons far more meaningful than any status update could ever convey. It could be a hope, an embarrassment, some peculiarity, a grand notion or an obscure thought stuck marinating in our muddied gray matter. 

Don’t get me wrong. I log on regularly, reading with interest about friends who successfully kept their post-burrito bloat at bay last evening. I enjoy how daily lives unfold in song lyric status “code.” And yes, I admit to posting my bra color during that facebook craze. I’m also pretty sure plenty of folks roll their eyes when up goes yet another one of my Eddie Money or Boston videos or “watch the meteor shower” announcements. This New Year will be no different. 

I’ll be reading posts and posting posts and writing on Post-it® notes about posts I want to post . . . you get the idea. But those private thoughts and “stuff” I hold close to my heart?

Well, it’ll all unfold as it should.

I know so, because I believe in it so.

I’ll keep you posted.

– J

The author, 1970s, one with her own thoughts.

 Jennifer Lilley, 36, says it’s her party and she’ll post when she wants to.

 

© Jennifer Lilley and Jen Lilley’s Thought Buffet, 2010.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lilley and Jen Lilley’s Thought Buffet with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.