How bad is it to gossip? I’ve always felt that it was pretty bad. It’s not technically against the commandments, nor is it a cardinal sin, but it is decried in most religious texts and seems morally suspect. It also seems anti-feminist, not because we’re gossiping about women necessarily, but because gossiping is such a cliche thing for a girl to do. And I generally try to be better than that. I’ve been on the wrong side of bad gossip so I know how much it can hurt.

But after all this I must admit that I love to gossip. I love knowing secrets, and having the power to tell someone. I love taking the knowledge and putting it in my own words. I love the camaraderie it brings, when you both are in the inside.

I saw someone today who I hadn’t seen in a while, and I wanted so hard to gossip about her, but there’s something just as great about keeping good gossip to yourself. Even when the facts are correct, and it’s something I would feel comfortable saying to the gossippee’s face, you can tell when it’s news, and when it’s gossip, and there doesn’t seem to be a right way to do it. I don’t consider myself a gossip, but in the company of certain people (high school friends especially) I can get carried away. I’ll try to keep resisting this urge, even if the action gives me pleasure, since it does seem particularly vile and hurtful.

I memorized this sonnet in high school (I didn’t want one about love), seems applicable;

‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteem’d,
When not to be receives reproach of being;
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deem’d
Not by our feeling, but by others’ seeing:
For why should others’ false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own:
I may be straight though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts, my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.

Sonnet 121 William Shakespeare

Sounds of ourselves

I took an anatomy class in high school and was amazed by how much my body was doing without my knowledge. “Thanks body,” I found myself repeating, after learning about the workings of my heart and lungs, my toes pulling up, my esophagus pushing down, and everything in between. Like so many other things, we don’t seem to understand or appreciate them until we start to lose our faculties. The fact that our bodies seem so silent and symetrical is a testament to how cleanly our body is functioning, every day.

I talked to a neurobiologist friend today who said that brains sound like a low clicking, and that the ringing in our ears is the sound of hair cells dying and our hearing range diminishing. In quiet moments I’ve been thinking lately about how the pitch of the ringing in your ears creates the harmony that you hear throughout your life. In moments of pain, when all you can hear is your body it seems to cry and scream, like a child demanding attention. Other times it is quieter, but no less busy. The breathing, pumping, generating, destroying, reinforcing, exploring, it’s not silent, nor is it forgettable.

Does aging have a sound? Does the voice in your head grow older as you do? Who else can hear if your bones click and creak? Do men sound different from women?


I don’t have the words today so I’m borrowing other peoples’

as the poet remarks, “Life is a strife, ’tis a struggle, ’tis a dream,” and if he goes on to say it were also “a bubble,” I should feel gratified and sincerely hope some sportive young angel should smash said bubble in his infinite glee and the Almighty bubble-blowing company would start another with rather more of the soothing properties of soap & a little less salt water, one less empty and shiny and one one which there wasn’t such a tendency to slip and pitch, to say nothing of falling off into space & being seen no more.

-Louisa may Alcott, via Eden’s Outcasts

Angela: This life has been a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go and what to do.

-Angela Chase, My So-Called Life

I haven’t received my instruction manual for life yet, have you?