I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the value of good conversation. It’s become as nurturing to my spirit as sleep and sustenance. It’s not gossipy hollow chit chat to which I refer, but rather talk that adds to my life or someone else’s whether by way of joy, comfort, knowledge or inspiration.
As a younger woman, it was difficult to find the time, energy, or venue for the kind of rich conversation I enjoy with friends today. The responsibilities of a young family don’t always complement the need for focus and the quiet space that provide the fertile ground for a one to one. This is intended as a statement of situation, not of resentment. It’s not that I never had a satisfying conversation during that time, I just had to work harder to get an uninterrupted one.
I’ve married a great conversationalist. My husband will undoubtedly laugh when he reads this and ask, “When do I get a chance to talk?” This is an example of the wit that makes him, in my opinion, an amusing conversationalist. He is also well read which is not to say he waxes on about high brow topics with arrogance. Only to say that he adds to my understanding, especially of current events. As a writer, I’m preoccupied with researching the past and building imaginary worlds . The real one sometimes skates past me unnoticed. I would also remind him that talking is only half of a conversation. This is my wit. He’s very good at the half of the conversation that involves listening.
Some of the best conversations sprout through spontaneity. But lately, I ‘ve been setting the stage for conversation and enjoying the experience of it. Friends arrive wearing a broad smile, more often than not, accompanied by a baguette or a bottle of their favourite wine. A lot of talk happens over a table of simple fare and merlot. The kind of talk that deepens friendships. It is a privilege to know and be known, to share ideas or be introduced to a fresh perspective. I always come away feeling all the richer for it.
Last week, I packed some homemade soup and fresh-from-the-bakery bread and headed to a local gallery to have a creativity lunch with a dear friend who works there. The visit recharged my emotional battery. Our discussion has opened my eyes to the creative relationship between visual artists and writers.
I do love a good talk!
It is not what we learn in conversation that enriches us. It is the elation that comes of swift contact with tingling currents of thought. Agnes RepplierMy idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company. Jane Austen
February 17, 2015 at 6:18 am
I notice the connection between good conversation and breaking bread (figuratively and literally). I have wonderful memories of lively family conversation across the dinner table with our cousins. I love these pictures especially the dog on a napkin.
February 17, 2015 at 7:09 am
Your comment evokes an image of people sitting shoulder to shoulder around a long table, eating and laughing. Beautiful. Thank you Cryssa.
February 17, 2015 at 7:38 am
You know that table. 🙂
February 17, 2015 at 7:01 am
Food for thought, Gwen. What would life be without friends to challenge us? We do indeed learn from interaction, and emotional connection is the stuff on which writers are built. I, for one, am quite honoured to count myself among your friends, and richer for joining in the conversation.
February 17, 2015 at 7:25 am
What a wonderful sentiment to begin the day with! Thank you, Sally.
February 17, 2015 at 7:06 am
Gwen, I enjoyed reading this piece. Good, thoughtful conversations are one of life’s under-appreciated simple pleasures. Wonderful that you seek them out and put yourself in situations that facilitate them.
I like Cryssa Bazos’ observation about sharing food as a useful all-purpose catalyst for good conversations. Relaxing over a drink — whether coffee, tea, beer, wine or whatever suits — also work for me. Listening “actively” is also an important ingredient, something your husband has appears to have mastered to his good.
February 17, 2015 at 7:22 am
Many thanks for this thoughtful reply, Brett. I am loving the phrase “simple pleasure”. So true. We visited Amsterdam a few years ago and noted that people work to live, not the other way around. We promised to apply that to our own lives when we returned home. Seeking time with friends is a great way to relax and stay in the moment. Luckily, active listening has been mastered by both of us. It does make for a happy partnership:)
February 18, 2015 at 7:20 am
Great piece! So true. I love the photos, especially those socks on the women. I find the hardest part about being a writer is not talking!
February 18, 2015 at 11:08 am
So glad you enjoyed!
I couldn’t agree more about writers and talking. Perhaps living in so many worlds, the real one the ones of our imaginings, gives us more than double the thoughts for sharing.