Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sit a Spell

I had a great conversation a few days ago, and I’ve been pondering it ever since. In our busy lives and world, people communicate through electronic exchanges of texts and emails, but it seems many have forgotten how to receive. Ours is an age of chattering, not listening. I look around and see people just trading monologues, with mouths open and ears closed. Maybe we've gotten so busy we just don’t have time for a long chat anymore. Is the art of good conversation dying?

We know conversation is central to our relationships. It involves discussing things of consequence, thoughtful listening, honest exchanges. It can enlarge our understanding and sweeten our imagination. It engages the mind and the heart, and can leave both participants satisfied and even enlightened afterwards.

There are those with whom I have ambling, relaxed conversations, and there are those with whom I communicate in staccato-like bursts of energy, packing so much into so little time. Good communication can be as stimulating as a cup of full-octane coffee to me (and just as hard to sleep after!). But mostly, I love the fact that good conversations start in one place and move us on to other fabulous places we would never go on our own. How lovely is that? Care to sit a spell?

15 comments:

willow said...

There's nothing better than a lovely conversation, any style. Oh, mind if I pull up a chair?

Love your new header!!

Peggy Johnstone said...

You're always welcome, Willow! :-)

Joanne said...

I'd be glad to sit here for a bit. Enjoyed browsing your blog. I try to inspire conversation/dialogue on my blog, hoping that the commenters enjoy the others' input. I guess in this age of the internet, we have to sometimes initiate dialogue in new ways!

Peggy Johnstone said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joanne! I loved my visit to your blog. Feel free to drop in anytime.

sizzie said...

I have noticed lately that I sometimes have more complete conversations...actual exchanges of thoughts...with people who are in the same aisle at a store or waiting in line (meaning complete strangers) with me, than I have with people I know well. We often, as you point out, speak in shorthand to those we know.

Cynthia said...

Hi Peggy, Just came over from Joanne's blog. I completely agree that conversation is important and I love a good long chat! I haven't noticed it as a dying art, more that it has more interruptions from cell phones, or media distraction...Sometimes, I have to insist on my husband's attention! I talk more ~read serious understatement~ but as you said a satisifying conversation takes you somewhere that you wouldn't have gone by yourself...talking to myself is dissatisifying anyway! :)
"Passage to India" is incredible, do you like the movie? I think it is well done.

Janice Lynne Lundy said...

Nice post, Peggy. I see you're from West Michigan. Me too! Though I live in the great North country now. Hmmm... I wonder if we have ever met? I find, especially in the midwest, if we speak with someone long enough, we'll find common threads, including people we both know. It's quite amazing to keep spinning it out until we land upon that one person we have in common. Do you know what I mean? I think some have referred to it as "Six degrees of separation."
Blessings to you!

Peggy Johnstone said...

Cynthia, thanks for stopping in! You asked about A Passage to India... I like the book better than the movie, but that's usually the case with me! :)

Janice, a fellow Michigander! I totally know what you mean about "six degrees" and have found that to be true, as well. You'll have to check out my blog post, The Big Lake on 12/24/08, about West Michigan winter. Let me know if you recognize the location!

Sherri said...

Your name caught my eye on Joanne's blog. My maiden name is Johnstone and my mom was Peggy, short for Margaret. Dad was from the midwest -- orginally Wayne, Nebraska and then later Evanston, Illinois.

And, once I got over here, I really enjoyed reading your blog entries. I related to the failure to listen. I used to watch people supposedly conversing and all they were really doing was thinking about what they were going to say next instead of really listening and responding to the other party's thoughts. I'm afraid that is the root of many of our world's problems right now.

Peggy Johnstone said...

Welcome, Sherri! Johnstone is my married name, and while I know my husband's family is from Illinois, I don't know his geneaology. I think it's very nice that your mom and I share the same name. :)

Regarding your comment about people not listening to each other, I was in a restaurant this evening. There was a teenager eating with his family at the next table, and he had earphones in his ear the whole time, presumably listening to his iPod. OMG!

High Desert Diva said...

Yes, conversation is definitely becoming a lost art.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Divya said...

I loved your thoughts on this madam..truly the art of initiating and forwarding conversations is a very rare with technology's interference

Peggy said...

Diva, thanks so much for stopping in!

Divya, welcome! Stop in anytime. :)

Poetikat said...

Great post.You may find this recent poem of interest:

http://hyggedigter.blogspot.com/2009/01/art-of-conversation.html

Kat

Peggy said...

Kat, you know what they say about great minds... LOL :-)