|This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
|Link to This week’s full list|
|Link to my Story Blog: Table of Contents.|
Greetings! We have a have a cooler and even slightly misty day out there and it’s perfect to sit back, most likely with a comfy sweater and some hot mugs of tea or coffee. If I could, I’d have all my favorite teas, coffee, sweeteners and other contaminates handy for your consideration and enjoyment. I’d also have some melon chunks, blueberries and vanilla yogurt to share. Alas, the best I can hope for is to set a mental scene that helps ease you into a hoped for, wonderful weekend.
I’m tempted to apologize for this, but I’m really enjoying, and want to share, my little experiment of the backyard crater full of mulch and the sprouted seeds of last year’s spaghetti squash harvest. Long time readers will recall my discovery of a strange volunteer plant in the mulch pile early last year and how it turned into our accidental garden of spaghetti squash that sprang forth from cast off seeds from our dinner one night.
The result was a huge plant that produced close to 30 fruit when it finally dried up and itself returned to mulch. We enjoyed those fruit for much of last year and even into early this year. That is when the crater full of mulch idea occurred to me and this time I deliberately saved, dried and sprouted a bunch of seeds, gave away a bunch of sprouts to nearby friends and planted 7 plants in a 30″ wide crater I’d dug and filled with mulch. To the right is what my crater looked like the day I planted the sprouts.
The Featured Photo (above) is the current state of the sprouts as of this morning. If you care to, in this 13 foot sprawl you can count 14 of the approximately 20 fruit now maturing in the daily sun.
These plants really like my mulch. I suspect some dependency has developed for the all the spent coffee grounds and used tea leaves that land in the pile. Some of my family are already drooling in anticipation of ripe fruit later this fall.
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For the past 6 weeks I’ve been sharing a daily story from my collection on a few groups via Facebook. In the past this has proved successful and today I was excited to share one of my most popular stories about a time in High School when I had a job watering a whole golf course each night. It turned out to be the site of one of the most scary nights I’d ever had and, yes, that cuddly guy above played a part. If you’ve not read it, it’s one that I’m very proud of and laugh about even today. Here’s the link.
Okay, can we do some literary stuff for a bit? How does this piece of story-telling appeal to you?
“I’m so sick of political arguments! I’ve lost at least 8 good friends because of arguments over stuff in the news or in social media.”
“Why do you even engage these arguments if you know it could cost you a friend?”
“BECAUSE – they are so wrong and if I don’t respond, they’ll think I agree with them when I don’t.”
“Do you have all the facts about the news or the events from social media to make an informed decision for yourself?”
“No! And that makes me crazy also. I know that I’m not getting the whole story or even the most important details but am goaded into arguing my point anyway. I care about the people getting hurt on both sides of these arguments, but the news people give me only what supports their views or what they want me to believe. I’m left feeling like I’m being manipulated, but what am I supposed to do when someone with the same partial facts flies off in some deranged direction and won’t listen to reason?”
“And you’re sure you have a safe position of this ‘reason’?”
“You know–I hate it when you do that, right?”
“Try to undercut my passion with some sedate perspective. It’s not helpful.”
“Well, you already agree with me that you’re not getting a full set of facts. You also suspect manipulation. So what do we call that sort of public story?
“What do you mean?”
“It has a name. This type of reporting or public discourse has a name. I know you know it, but have you applied it to your frustration?”
“Um, I’ll go with ‘lying‘, those who report or post these half truths are lying to me.”
“Okay, but that’s not the word I was thinking of.”
“Well, you’re the one with all the fancy words. Which word are you thinking of?”
“It’s not that fancy. I think you are describing, ‘propaganda‘.”
“Ooo, I do like that. It fits perfectly. Half-truths mixed with some lies meant to manipulate rather than inform me. Yea – and it frustrates me. I think it is misleading my friends and now some of them no longer think of me as their friend. That, I resent, a lot.”
“So tell me, how many have you convinced to see things your way?”
“Humph – none! Not even one. They just get angry, we argue and we always end up leaving divided from each other.”
“So, perhaps there is a better response than ‘engaging the argument’ as someone wants you to do. Clearly you can recognize a stirred up perfervid argument.”
“Wait, a what kind of argument?”
“Sigh. A perfervid one. It mean impassioned or intense.”
“But not misinformed, because many of these rants are you know.”
“Actually, recognizing that works well too. You can recognize when these rants are both perfervid and facile.”
“You’re doing it again. What does . . .”
“Facile means, ‘appearing to be complete but only by leaving out important details’. Does this sound familiar? These political arguments that bother you so much are both out of control impassioned and border on being wrong because they are based on a few, perhaps well-chosen facts and may be leaving out important details – like the other side of the story or exculpatory evidence of some kind. This causes you to respond in kind with equal passion and seek for a fast way of proving someone wrong rather than layout a full story of why you believe something different. Correct?”
“If I understand ‘ex-pul-a. . .'”
“Exculpatory, and it means evidence supporting someone’s innocence. If someone is trying to make another person look bad, they might tend to hide something from you that makes them look innocent of the evil they are accusing the person of.”
“Then, yes. This does sound like some of the rants I’ve tried arguing against. They’re uselessly loud and angry so you can’t have a conversation and I think these people are not reacting to a full set of facts before all the evidence is in hand. They are just angry at what they think someone did and want justice right now.”
“Got it, and I agree. These are very unpleasant non-conversations which have little chance of changing anyone’s mind. I wonder; maybe a different type of response would work? If the person is all worked up and unable to have a conversation, perhaps the topic can be raised later when they’ve cooled off, had a good night’s sleep or a decent meal? It is certainly not a guarantee, but when your friend calms down, you stand a much better chance of having a real dialog than when they are out of the street with a sign board yelling chants.
“Also, with the postponement, you now have time to gather your own thoughts and maybe build a case that includes more facts. You would still be advised to try to recognize any value in their position before you begin to offer your different judgment, but in a calmer setting, away from whatever stirred them into such a passion, you might actually get them to consider your view with any trustworthy evidence you can find.
“You still might find an up-hill struggle to convince them, but you stand a much better chance of coming away with a friendship intact and both of you might realize facts and points of view you had missed earlier.”
“Humph, you are likely right but man! It is so easy to get caught up in their passion because I see and hear the same stuff they do, only I interpret it differently and am anxious to correct them.”
“Yep, but what’s more important; losing or keeping a friend? Would you really want to judge with as much of the story as you can get or do you really prefer shooting from the hip with what few facts you have already filtered through you own bias and zeal about crushing any opposition?”
“You know, I also hate it when you make sense?”
“Ha. Worry not because I don’t always and, what time is it? Ah, see, the day is yet young. I have plenty of time left to screw up somewhere else.”
And this thought rolled out today as I considered my own frustration with the state of our political discourse.
Maybe if I sat down to think and write my way through it, some wisdom might fall out. Well this is what I came up with. I thought it worth sharing.
Have a great weekend all.
Keep making the world a better place.