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Sunday, July 24, 2016

DO WE COMPLAIN TOO MUCH? #celiayeary #rebeccajvickery #publishingbyrebeccajvickery-vtp

I call it "griping," because that's the word my mother used. "Celie Ann, stop your griping and make your bed. It's not going to make itself."

To be fair and also to defend myself, I most often complain when hunger strikes me. Maybe I have low blood sugar or something, but if I'm hungry, don't push me. All my friends know this. "Uh-oh, feed her so she'll shut up."

As a general rule, I'm not a complainer...much. Most of the time I do it out of boredom or to make conversation or some other inane reason.


I learned that complaining, though, is not all bad. It can actually be a Creative Act. The more you complain, the more you summon your creative energies to attract something to complain about.  Maybe the complaints seem fully justified, but realize that whenever you complain, you set yourself up for more of the same. Just remember the part "complaining is a creative act", and you might find yourself writing a novel. Hmmm.
Complaining is the act of reinforcing what you don’t want. Is this bad? I think not. Perhaps it's therapeutic.


Warning: Complaining is also addictive. The more you do it, the more it becomes an ingrained habit, making it more difficult to stop.
Some people complain too much about their own lives. This is a trap that gives the person a constant source of something to complain about.  "Bad luck follows me; Life is too difficult; Why can't I get a break?"  The complainer may tell you their reality is causing their complaints, but it’s more accurate to say their reality is reflecting their complaints.
"If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it."  ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

Yes, but after analyzing myself, I believe I complain about trivial events that really have nothing to do with me. When I fully realized this, I honestly tried to keep my mouth closed and push the ugly thoughts away.

We have a neighbor who refuses to mow his property, so the tall dead grass is a permanent fixture. I say something about that every time we pass the house. It has nothing to do with my life, it just annoys me. So, why do I persist in complaining about it? The time has come for me to ignore it.

Bad parkers/drivers really make me complain. You who know me understand I sort of go ballistic over a vehicle parked somewhat diagonally in a straight-in space, a driver in front of me who sits at a green light because he/she is on the phone or texting, or someone who throws litter out a car window. I really don't think I can stop complaining about these....sorry.

Do your characters complain?
Do you dislike characters in a novel who complain?
Hmm, I don't know. I suppose it depends on what the person is complaining about.

I try very hard not to be a chronic complainer...but sometimes...I must or I'll throw a fit.
Excerpt from A Christmas Wedding
(offered in the VTP Anthology “Have Yourself a Merry Little Romance)
In my Christmas novella titled “A Christmas Wedding,” Kailey Lovelace has plenty to complain about—her blonde frizzy hair, her six-foot frame, her boring boyfriend, and the worry that the Best Man for her brother’s wedding—which she would be paired with as Maid of Honor—would be short.

The arrival monitor showed all flights on time. From Denver to Austin: Flight 303, Gate 6, 12:30 pm.
Taking one more quick glance at the monitor, she strolled back to sit across from her brother and her boyfriend. Neither man looked at her. She was only good ol’ Kailey, best sister in the world and so-so girlfriend. She laughed to herself with a little derision. They sure noticed some buxom, prissy young woman, though, if one happened to walk by. Neither halted his conversation but continued talking with his head swiveling until she was out of sight.
She snorted to herself. Men.

“Hey, Kailey,” her brother Sam said. “Here’s an empty seat by me now. Come over here.”

Hoisting her dark blue leather bag on her shoulder, she moved to the empty chair, sat, scrunched down, and crossed her arms as well as her long legs covered in black leggings. Her boyfriend, Martin, on the other side of Sam, gazed away studying other passengers. Seemed to her he was always scouting out the females, but with him, she never knew for sure what he was doing or thinking.

Probably, if she looked as good as those cuties prancing by, he’d look at her that way. Why did he go out with her, anyway? Why did she bother with him?

Sighing, she turned to her brother. “Tell me again, Sam, how tall is he?”

He shrugged. “I dunno. Tall. Like you.”

She flinched. “As tall? Or taller? Oh, please don’t tell me ‘not as tall.’”    

“Stop complaining, sis, he’s a good guy. Just have a good time. Don’t worry about a thing. Shelley met him once, and since he’s to be my best man and you’re the maid of honor, she told me you two would make the perfect pair.”

“Yeah, I bet. When he learns his partner is a giraffe, he might back out.”

“Ahh, don’t be so hard on yourself. Martin likes you.” He jabbed Martin with his elbow. “Don’t you, buddy?”

Martin turned to look at both of them, his face bland, and his eyes blinking. “What? Did I miss something?”

Kailey wanted to hit him over the head with her bag. At least he possessed good looks, he had brains, and he was almost as tall as she was. And he was nice to her. When he noticed her.

Sam jumped to his feet. “There he is! He’d headed for the luggage area. Let’s go.”

The three scrambled to their feet and pushed through the mass of people, rode down an escalator, turned a corner, and entered the huge cavernous space filled with people and a high noise level. Sam led the way with Martin hot on his heels. Kailey trailed behind, knowing she wouldn’t lose them, really hoping to see this Alex Dunn before he saw her.

Please, Wedding Angel, let Alex like me enough to smile as we walk down the aisle. That’s my only wish.

Since Martin didn’t know Alex Dunn either, he hung back, too.

Kailey reached up with both hands and tried to smooth her frizzy blond hair. Why did the Hair Gods curse a female with thick locks that did not obey one rule of beautiful hair? Hers hung well past her shoulders, and in cold weather, it crackled with electricity that made it bush out even more. Today, she’d parted it in the middle, brushed it back, and secured the mass with a silver clasp at her nape. Just to get it away from her face turned into a battle.

She heard her brother call out over the din. “Hey, Alex! Alex Dunn!”

A young man stood next to a rotating luggage carousel, watching the baggage tumble by. He lifted his head, grinned and waved. Then, he jerked his gaze back to the carousel and began moving down the line very quickly. He stepped between two people, and with one long arm reached in and grabbed a U. S. Army duffel bag, lifting it over everyone’s head.

“Sorry, ma’am, sir. I hope I didn’t step on anyone.”

Kailey watched the older couple look into his face and smile glowingly as if he had done them a favor.

And why not? He was gorgeous, with his short military haircut, square chin, and wide mouth with fabulous white teeth. When he walked toward her brother, she couldn’t keep her gaze off his George Clooney eyes, except Alex’s were blue. Her knees felt a little weak, a completely foreign feeling.

And Alex Dunn was quite tall.
Celia Yeary
Romance, and a little bit of Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
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  1. Hi Celia. Today I am on time so no complaints there. I am guilty of complaining, but I usually do it in a "tongue-in-cheek" way which I like to think of as "Erma Bombeck-ish." Some things just seem to need calling attention to and hopefully the words will strike a chord with others. Some complaints about a subject common to all, will spur someone to take action to correct them. But I do agree that chronic complainers (whiners)are annoying to be around and I hope I'm not guilty of that! This post is a good reminder to help me make an effort to avoid that. Thanks.

    1. Great--I'm glad you got from the post that complaining is not always bad. Chronic complaining is...but sometimes it even invokes inspiration. Thanks!

  2. I first learned to complain in the military. We complained about the food, the work, the First Sergeants, the Commander, and especially the crappy bases we were assigned to. But it was a bonding ritual, in that case. We just needed affirmation we were sharing our miserable time together. After I got out of the military I fell out of the habit. Mostly.

    1. See? In this case complaining served a good purpose resulting in something positive. It bonded the group in their general feelings and discontent. Even though you all knew you would follow orders, still, you all had that inner gloating that the corps was united in at east one thing. My husband was stationed in Metz, France in the early fifties, and he, to, said this was the norm. The guys bonded by sticking together, and everyone complaining about the same things were therapeutic. Thanks for you example, for it was "right on."

  3. I think a lot of people complain as a way of starting a conversation, or just as a conversational gambit in general.

    It's natural to start a conversation with strangers by talking about the weather. "Boy, isn't it hot today? Too hot to even be out. I should be home in my air conditioning." (Realize here that there are many people who don't have air conditioning to go home to.)
    "Boy, it's cold today! Can you believe this snow? And the ice! I can't even get out of my house to go to the store!" (Realize here that many people don't have a house, a car, or money to spend at the store for groceries.)

    "Well, I had to take my dog Bella to the vet today. It cost a fortune!" (The thought should come to us here, that even though it cost a fortune, the pet that we love so much is going to be well because we had the availability of a good vet--yes, even though it's going to cost a fortune--and Bella would do it for us if she could!)

    And so on. But all these things have in common that fact that they are a way of starting conversation or expressing a fear through a complaint. So I just try to understand when people complain that it's not always about what they're complaining about.

    I hope I'm not a complainer. But I have been guilty of the weather conversation starter. That's a pretty harmless one. LOL

    Great post, Celia. Always love your take on things.

    1. Yes, this is the case. Complaining served a purpose--pulling people together and at least for a few moments, were bonded in some kind of positive relationship. I know you are not a complainer, and I try not to be. I do have a particular friend that I cannot spend much time with, because everything is wrong and she complains. Thanks for you comment!

  4. I gripe a little, but if something's bothering me, complaining isn't enough. I try to fix it.

    1. Oh, we all do at some time or another. Tonight? I have complained off and on for a hour at....well, you know what. So, I will stop, and either watch with my mouth shut, or turn it off and read The Revenant. That should make me stop complaining.

  5. I do believe the more a person complains, the more negative they become. It's like a spiraling vortex and draws others into it like a tornado sucking them up in the momentum of negativity. Working in an intense environment like critical care is made all the more difficult by those who constantly complain. I once worked with a director who finally had enough of the negativity and told us, to come to him with a complaint ONLY when we had a solution to suggest for it. I liked that decision. People had to set their minds to positive solutions.
    Last year my neighbor left his dog out in the yard in 20 degree weather even when it snowed with only a roof, no sides, to his shelter. I raged and complained about how awful he was to treat his dog so poorly until I just decided to do something about it. I bought a study blue tarp, some twin, and a bale of hay and put them on the man's driveway with a card I stamped with a picture of his dog and drew a picture how he could add these items to the roof in order to make his dog a snug, warm shelter. I had to draw a picture because he speaks very little English. The next day he put that shelter together just the way I drew it. Later, he built sides for the dog house and improved the dwelling on his own. I felt a whole lot better--no more complaints.
    I can't believe I haven't read this anthology yet. I love Christmas anthologies and, when it's hot like this, they actually make me feel cool. I really need to buy Have Yourself A Merry Little Romance.

    1. Oh, my, I love that story. I have read it three times, now, every time I return to this comment site. How wonderful. How you know to do this, I'm sure is a mystery to me but I can see you were familiar with the process. And how wonderful the man couldn't speak English very well. I LOVE this story. You are a wonder, Sarah...love you!

  6. Yes. I complain to myself or my hubby about what strangers do, even though what they do has no impact on me. Not a good habit.
    Your excerpt is cute, by the way.

  7. Yes. I complain to myself or my hubby about what strangers do, even though what they do has no impact on me. Not a good habit.
    Your excerpt is cute, by the way.

    1. I do this all the time...drivers I do not know, pushy people in the grocery store, etc.
      I'm glad you liked the excerpt.


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