Posts Tagged With: Conversation

A Couple of Diet Cokes and a Convo

Let’s say you and I go pick up a Dirty Diet Coke and a sugar cookie. We’d drive to a nearby park, and we’d sit on a park bench (this is Arizona, remember?) and chat while we munched and sipped.

FullSizeRender-3 copy 3“Mmmm…I like that touch of lime,” you’d say.

“I like the coconut undertones,” I’d reply.

“The cookie’s a bit too chewy for my idea of a sugar cookie,” you’d add. “But still, it’s delish.”

Only, you probably wouldn’t say “delish” because we only really shorthand things like that in texts or on Facebook and other social media zones. Even though it is “totes adorbs,” it sounds pretty silly in real life, doesn’t it?

Our conversation would wander from dinner plans to cloud formations, from recent things we read to the symbolism of some odd dream we had the night before. We might even discuss something religiously contentious, or skirt along the edges of politics. It’s always fun to see where things go when we talk.

Somewhere in there I’d get around to asking a question that’s been on my mind, but it’d be weird to just blurt it out without some context, or without having it relate even vaguely to what we might be discussing.

Since we aren’t having sodas at the park, I can just throw out the thought that I’ve been wondering about off and on for years. (If you want to grab a Coke or Mountain Dew or something non-caffeinated, go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Here’s the question:

Do you think there’s some inspiration or creative source or new ideas or muse somewhere in the atmosphere or something that different people tap into, or ask to access, or that they simply breathe in, that they then turn into art, or song, or a written work?

And a related question:

And if that’s the case, isn’t it likely that several, if not hundreds or thousands, could “come up with” the same or similar ideas all around same time?

And another question:

Is there really any original thought or are thoughts or the seeds of thoughts put into our heads?

Fine, it was three questions…

I see us finishing up our sodas and dusting cooking crumbs off our shirts long before we exhaust the possibilities of these questions.

Surely philosophers and psychologists, Mensa members and religious people all have something to add to the answers to these questions. I’m just wondering what the everyday, soda sipping, cookie crunching public thinks.

Here’s my two cents.

I’ve had many experiences where I’ve thought of an idea, or started writing a blog post, or hummed a made-up tune, and then, within a day, or a week someone else talks about, writes, or sings the same or eerily similar thing. What is that all about?


Cosmic music waves hitting in-tune people? Writerly angels whispering words? Serendipity? Inspiration? What is it?

I don’t think there’s a correct answer, but it’s a discussion I’d sure like to have, with or without a soda and cookie.

On second thought, cookies should stay in the equation.










Categories: good ideas, Wondering, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Car Talk

Friday Letter to My Kids (yup, on Saturday)

Dear J, J, L and L,

Ya’ll remember the Datsun, right? Or as someone used to call it, the Grasshopper, due to it’s non-functioning shocks. Well, at one point in its colorful existence, it was a brand new baby car, fresh off the showroom floor. Hard to believe, I know. Okay, maybe not totally fresh, it’d been on some test drives, so it had one thousand miles on the odometer.

Two doors, yes. Can you say "clueless future parents?"

Two doors, yes. Can you say “clueless future parents?”

I only bring this up because so many happy things occurred in that car. Conversations being the chief among them.

When Little J first found her voice she told stories that would start at Grandma’s house and not end until we arrived at our place thirty minutes later. Big J and I didn’t get a word in edgewise. Unless Whitney Houston came on the radio, then Little J would stop talking long enough to sing along with the lyrics to “The Greatest Love of All.” She loved, loved, loved that song. (She was three years old.)

But I digress.

Something about sitting in the confines of a vehicle brings out the conversationalist in each of you. Or at least, it did.

Maybe being side by side but without eye contact did the trick. Or perhaps the steady hum of the engine and scenery rolling past triggered some reflex in the larynx. It’s even possible that some chemical in the car interior prompted a letting down of emotional defenses.

It didn’t always work that way, but when we got a good one on one conversation going, it usually happened in a car with just two of us going somewhere.

I’d guess some of us logged more miles together than others. Daily drives to and from school, and fairly regular trips back and forth from lessons, sports, church stuff, doctor appointments, errands, performances and more. Some of you even endured/enjoyed a few just-one-of-you and me road trips. Maybe it all balances out to the same mileage for each of you.

I loved those talks.

Well, mostly.

To be honest a few arguments and screaming matches happened, too. We won’t pretend that never happened.

Some pretty loud silences filled the car on occasion as well.

There’s definitely conversations we should have had that never happened. And probably a few discussions that shouldn’t have occurred, although I can’t think of anything specific. And I ought to have been much more direct and less wishy-washy on more than a few occasions.

If you can learn anything from my mistakes that’d be great. I’m guessing you’ll make your own unique set of communication errors as a parent or as a spouse.

Not our actual car. Ours had a sunroof, remember?

Not our actual car. Ours had a sunroof, remember?

One thing I try to do when I look back at those good times and at those dang-it-I-shoulda-done-better times, I liken myself to our fresh-off-the-showroom-floor Datsun. The first ten to fifteen years of parenting I had hardly any miles worth noting. Not until I’d experienced  *frillions of bumps, detours, twists, construction zones, shortcuts, hills, side roads and breakdowns did I even begin to know what I was doing.  Even then, well, I’m an imperfect and many splendored flawed person grasshoppering down the freeway.

Having your good company has made all the difference as the numbers have skyrocketed on my odometer o’life.

I look forward to many more conversations with each of you in years to come. Here’s hoping you enjoy the many chats you get to have with your own little traveling companions.

All my love,


photo-23 copy 5

* Frillion: a psychological/mathematical term combining an astronomically high number with near insanity level nonsense and stress


“Sometimes I wish that I was the weather, you’d bring me up in conversation forever. And when it rained, I’d be the talk of the day.” ~ John Mayer

Categories: Communication, Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Conversation and Happy New Connections

There’s a Peanuts cartoon that shows Charlie Brown writing a letter that reads:

“Dear Santa Claus, Well, it’s that time of year again, isn’t it? There are so many things I would like to say to you, but I find it hard to put them in writing. It would be so much easier if I could talk to you in person.  Do you think maybe we could have lunch together sometime?”

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

Some things are just better in person. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems to me there are some things better said face to face, in a conversation.  Letters are a bit one-sided, as are emails.  Texts can be sort of like a conversation, but threads can get tangled, inflections are missing and smiley faces don’t really convey intent that well. Texting is a kind of shorthand we lean on that enhances the efficiency of communication without really advancing the quality of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a total fan of texting. It’s saved me hours on the phone, gotten me unlost, given me a forum for all sorts of things I want to say to people.  I think some relationships are better because of texting.

But, I know there’s nothing like a real conversation.  The rambling, wandering discussions that leap from topic to topic in a convoluted but totally natural flow of give and take. That’s why I look forward to a daughter’s visit over the holidays, and why my sister coming into town will be fun. We’ll be able to talk and ask questions and see the response in a facial expression or in a gesture, before the brain sends words to the mouth.  So much gets said by what we see.

I feel almost giddy with excitement at the prospect of all the pending conversations with family and friends.

Having a meal together isn’t about the food, not entirely. It’s about the talking that happens over and around the food.  It gives us a reason to be face to face, to read the eyes, the mouth twitch, the sighs. There’s a solid human interaction that I absolutely cherish.

Phone conversations are good too, but still, there’s that up close and personal thing that happens when you’re in the room together. A hand reaches out, a hug can happen, a fist bump connects, a strong handshake can pull someone in close.

And then there’s whispering.  There’s simply no other communication like a whisper.  Think about it. Private, quiet, stealthy, intimate, personal, direct, breathy, warm, ticklish.

I wish I had time to do lunch with every single relative, every individual friend, every happy acquaintance, every person that has meaning in my life. I’d love for all that one on one time to happen.  It’d be some ride ,wouldn’t it?

Alas, I am but one person, with a limited budget, and limited time.  And so I write, saying the things I think, talking about the things I’d share in a conversation. Hopefully I’m connecting a little with someone. It’s a good feeling.

In another letter to Santa, the words of Peppermint Patty say it well:

“Dear Santa, Just a last note before you take off. I hope you have a nice trip. Don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.”

I hope you get to have some great conversations over the next few days. I hope you go for a walk and chat a bit. Or sit on the couch, or the porch swing, or around a puzzle at the table and share some words between each other. I hope you eat something delicious and talk of real things together. I hope you make some great connections. I plan to do just that. It’s the best part of the holidays I can think of.

Categories: Family, Food, Joy, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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