Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone. Get ready because tonight marks the beginning of a year long onslaught of news stories, articles and TV programs devoted to the coming apocalypse. By next December you'll be so sick of hearing about it that you'll wish the world was ending, which it isn't by the way.

New Year's Eve is one of those days for me, like stinking Valentine's, that always disappoints because it's so heavy with expectation that the night can never live up to what you think it ought to be, or what it looks like in movies, or other people's lives. I'm kind of a New Year's Scrooge and I plan on staying that way. I'm so damned tired that I know I won't last 'til midnight and I'm having dinner with my parents tonight. It's kind of like when we were growing up. My parents never went out back then and they'd have champagne while we had soda and everyone would share a platter of Ritz crackers, pepperoni and longhorn cheese while we watched Dick Clark. It was great.

I'm making a big resolution this year. A few piddly ones too, but one big one. Wait, two. Resolution One is to finish the book, but I think I've got that under control for the most part.

2012 will be the year of NO GOSSIP.

A few awful things have happened this year to people I cared about and I watched as they became the fodder for gossip and I was close enough to the situations at times that people came to me for information and I could tell it wasn't because they genuinely cared about the people involved. It was because they wanted juicy bits. Sometimes it's for entertainment. Other times it's out of jealousy or spite. Schadenfreude. When people feel badly about themselves they love to hear stories about others who seemed to have it all and then got knocked down a few rungs and that is a shitty way to be. 

I began to feel, I mean really feel, gossip's negative energy and how damaging and rotten it is to talk about people behind their backs. Gossips always say they were just curious or they care about the people but if you care about someone, don't talk about them behind their backs. Go directly to them and ask them yourself. Ask if you can help, let them vent, whatever, but don't talk about them when they aren't around and speculate and offer theories and say what you'd do in that situation or act like these people are another reality show with drama contrived just to entertain your sorry ass.

Our society is drama driven and we're totally desensitized to the suffering and emotions of others. Think about it. We watch other people's personal lives for fun now. We watch shows in which producers, for ratings, put people in situations that mess with their emotions so that we can gasp in horror and laugh at them. We're riveted by this crap and don't think that your obsession with the Kardashians or Teen Mom won't spill over into your real life until the lives of your friends and family and people around you become as meaningless to you as the lives of strangers on screen.

I'm guilty of it. Being a writer, I have always had a problem with this due to my love of a good story but I need to mindful about this tendency.

Gossip is a monster. People who thrive on it are beasts. Don't fuel them. Don't give them information. Don't let them talk about others to you. Call them out on it. Don't feed the monster.

Last, I saw this article that a reader posted on facebook and I read it in the middle of the night. It is so simply brilliant that I want you all to read it. Please. Here it is. It's about twelve stupid things to never do again. I'm a comparer. I need to stop.

Happy New Year all. Behave yourselves. Stay safe and don't forget your collards and black eyed peas tomorrow.


kerry said...

You're right about gossip. It's entirely too easy to fall into it but you're right that it devalues those lives. I need to be a little better about walking away when people start on it.

Happy New Year- may your night at home and with your parents be everything you want it to be. May all good things come to you in the new year.

Melanie said...

Happy New Year, Wide Lawns! Here's wishing you the very best of luck in publishing and promoting your book.

Also hoping your family has a stellar year in 2012.

Dawn said...

"Compare and despair!" -- words to live by.

Jan Blawat said...

I threw the TV out 15 years ago when my kid wouldn't do his homework. It makes life so much brighter.

JoeinVegas said...

Happy New Year!
I thought this would be the year to be sick of the political negative campaign ads.

islandwonder said...

Happy New Year! I concur. I try so hard not to gossip and always always feel small after I slip up.

Mrs. Gumby said...

I agree with Joe in Vegas. I declare it the "Year of Being Sick of Political Negative Campaigns"!! Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

Just popping in to see if there was a new post this year.

Happy New Year to you and yours!


Virago said...

There is a quote from the Greek poet Hesiod that I try to remember: "Gossip is mischievous, light and easy to raise, but grievous to bear and hard to get rid of."
And may I tell you how glad I am that you are posting again? Thank you!

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