Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Your Mother Was Right, It Is Not What You Say, It's How You Say It

The comic books from Classics Illustrated
were ideal for those that were unable
to digest the full version of classics.
You wouldn't use the same voice you used to remind the kids to clean up the garage, as you would to lead a meeting at work, or, maybe you would, and I 'm  assuming too much.   For most of us we have different voices, and we use them at different times, for different reasons.

We write the same way.  The words in a short note within a Christmas card are selected for the person that will read it.  A reminder note on the fridge is written with less care.

Know your audience.  It is a piece of advice that will not grow old , and can be passed on forever, and still be of great value.

There are those that speak, and write in a very simple, "grammar be damned" way that for the most part, is effective in all aspects of their life.  It defines them.  Sometimes it is purposeful, other times it is is just the persons baseline.

Then there are those that speak, and write in a verbose, affected, pretentious, grandiose way.  It's just them, just as my writing like a hillbilly hooked on phonics is me.   The issue that bothers an audience is when they feel that they are being "spoken up to", or "spoken down to".  Both are bothersome, but some reason when someone we know speaks to us as if they are a Department Chair at Oxford, and we know dang well they isn't, it bothers us more.  As a result, our concentration is placed on the fact that they are attempting a spoken, or written soliloquy about something as inane as the importance of  rotating ones tires, and we find ourselves only hearing the tone, not listening to the message.

When the audience looses the message, we've lost the audience, and it takes a lot to get them back, otherwise we will alienate them forever.

Keep in mind, that just because one uses ten words to as opposed to anothers use of only one, doesn't make them any less truthful, accurate, or well meaning, it only means we need to take a bit more time to listen, and read than we normally would.  Most newspapers are written for readers with an eighth grade level of reading, and when one writes, or speaks at an eleventh grade level it can confound many of us, myself included.

Now, if you are re-reading this, scratching your head, and grunting , Huh?" over your Sunday morning coffee, then I have not chosen my audience well, but if you are nodding, smiling, and muttering something like, "Whoa, Dude, you are sooo right", then I've chosen well.



  1. Hey, right on, man! Now, if only some cats in the Town Hall would take the time to explain to us that they realize that a BOS meeting and a Town Meeting are two different things, we would be on a roll. Wouldn't it be a blast if we could all just feel free to hear it like it is and tell it as it is all at the same time! Keep your fingers on that keyboard, Dude. You done good! Way to go!

  2. Conversational comfort zones:

    Friendly cup of coffee with a friend:
    The friend invites you into the formal living room, and you are seated on a beautiful antique mahogany chair with a lovely upholstered needlework seat, by a table holding a beautiful sterling coffee/tea service. Your coffee is daintily poured into a fine china cup which sits on a fine china saucer. "Do you take cream in your coffee? Do you take sugar? One lump or two?"
    You sit up straight, and may worry about how you will handle the coming conversation, and wonder if this scene should be viewed as pretense or an honor reflecting your importance in the life of this friend.

    Friendly cup of coffee with another friend:
    The friend yells from the kitchen. "Come on in. Coffee? Sugar? Milk?"
    The milk jug and sugar bowl are placed on the kitchen table along with a couple of mugs of coffee. Instant coffee? Brewed? Whatever.
    You plop yourself into a chair and fix your coffee to your liking while you happily chatter away.
    Elegance or comfort, which would you prefer?


Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.