July 25th, 2012
The Annenberg Beach House reading last night went very well. Apparently the place was hopping. Tonight Bill Trowbridge, Karen Shoemaker and I are doing a reading at the Burnt District series at the Loom.
I see conversations floating here but not many arguments. Which is probably good. I think about those times you feel you should push back when Zen like maybe you could stand down.
When should you stand up for yourself and when should you stand down?
When your in laws start quoting Rush Limbaugh or telling you that Saturns are the best, just be quiet.
Here’s what Popular Mechanics had to say about the demise of the Saturn.
The S-Series engines ran roughly, the handling was mediocre, the interiors were chintzy and those plastic panels needed big gaps at the seams to deal with their expansion and contraction in heat.
Read more: What Went Wrong With Saturn?: Analysis – Popular Mechanics
But, as I said, when your mother-in-law tells you that Saturns are the best cars ever made and you know it isn’t true, you know German and Japanese cars could kick their butt, just shut your mouth. She isn’t going to listen to you.
I’m not a big fan of pointing out to anyone that they’re wrong. It just doesn’t work for most people.
Politics: Most people believe whatever they believe and they don’t want to hear opposing points of view. All they want to hear is that you like their point of view.
Race and gender politics: Again, don’t start. I have friends who think gay people shouldn’t get married. I’m not going to be able to talk them out of it. Or that affirmative action isn’t necessary.
What matters—That’s a big conflict. There’s that saying I often refer to where people say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff.” Which implies that there’s nothing worth getting worked up about because nothing matters. Plainly untrue.
Lots of things matter. Your kids are your family—they matter. If you are a writer, your work matters. Most of us even have a few friends who matter to us. Hopefully right up there with your kids, your spouse matters.
There is small stuff. That does not matter.
Whether you have dinner on time. Whether you have dinner at all. Whether you have the right dress for the party. Whether you have the right shoes or shoes at all. Whether you have a purse that matches anything. Whether you have the right car. Whether you get to exercise every day. Whether you get to check Facebook ever. Whether you’re a size six of four or two. Whether you weigh less than 140, or 130 or 120.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, and some of it is small stuff.
Getting back to Nebraska, the great thing about a writing conference is that there is an actual flow of ideas. You see people writing down the names of books all the time, books to read, stories to read, poems and plays. You see people getting excited about ideas rather than arguing. I like the mash of ideas. I like the flow.