Saturday, September 19, 2009

Everyone Has an Opinion

Each week our local talk radio show has a “Gripe Friday.” There is no predetermined topic or format. Listeners call in and gripe about whatever is on their minds. One calls in about tractor trailer trucks clogging the parking lots to shopping centers. Another calls in about the lack of customer service at restaurants. Someone complains about coverage on cable news, the war in Iraq. The calls have a snowball effect. The phone lines become clogged with listeners waiting to add their two cents. The responses range from, “That happened to me, too,” “I agree,” to passionate opposite opinions. The result is always entertaining. Sometimes my own blood pressure goes up.

Everyone has an opinion. It’s just that some of us are noisier than others. Some clam up and keep their opinions to themselves. (I’m not one of them.) Others begin letter writing campaigns or make phone calls. We can shout about those things to whomever will listen. Or at no one. We can write a letter to the editor of the newspaper or dash off an email to the producers of an offending television show. Or we can do nothing. It’s our choice.

How many times have you shouted at the television or at something you’ve read? What has irritated you lately? What are your pet peeves? Make a list of these things. Think about the times you disagreed with someone or spoke passionately about an issue. When I say issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean politically or socially motivated. Interpret it in any way you want. If you want, skip the list and go right to the freewrite. Write about whatever is rubbing you the wrong way, raising your blood pressure, making you swear. Get it all out. When you’re finished, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. What you do with your freewrite is your choice.

“Sometimes I am asked, ‘Is it true you should write what you know about?’ I say, ‘No, write what you care about.’ If you don’t know, you’ll find out. But if you don’t care, why should anyone else?”
~ Anne Perry