Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thoughts on Dialogue--in Writing and Life

I’ve started a blog for Deverell, the werecat of my latest project. You can read his blog here: Werecat Conversations.

Meanwhile...I’ve been thinking about dialogue and how important it is—both in the stories we tell if we are writers and in our own lives.

In real life, as in stories, often relationships fall apart because people don’t talk to each other. They may either avoid controversy or they may talk (or shout!) AT each other. And neither approach works very well.

The key, of course, is HOW people talk with each other. Do they listen? Do they HEAR? Do they listen with a focus of wanting to understand or with a focus of needing to prove they are right?

Which kind of characters would you rather read about? Which kind of character would you rather be? Because we are all the characters of our own life stories.

Some relationships can’t be salvaged. Sometimes there are irreconcilable issues. And others can be.

I found myself thinking this week WHAT IF:

What if we began ALL dialogue with an appreciation for whatever good the other person brings into our lives?

What if we all listened to each other with respect?

What if we had compassion for each other’s fears?

What if we looked for ways to heal each other’s fears instead of using them against each other?

What if all we had compassion for everyone?

Can you imagine a world in which we all could honestly talk about our hopes and fears and know that we would be treated with kindness and respect? Can you imagine helping to create that kind of world by the way in which you live your life and interact with others?

Note: I am NOT saying take on anyone else's problems! Nor am I saying we need to share the other person's fears or see the world the same way. There is a difference between really listening and in believing we must fix whatever we see or hear. What I am saying is that I believe that if we change the quality of our dialogue with others, we change not only the experience of our own lives but we have the chance to help change the world as well.

Maybe that’s why I write. Because I do want to help create that kind of world. And so I create characters who try.

As you go through the week ahead, maybe think about dialogue and the power it has both in our lives and in our stories. Oh, and check out Deverell’s blog at Werecat Conversations.