Monday, March 24, 2014


 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 about  "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.

 A 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 this 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 trid to keep my mouth closed and push the ugly thoughts away.
We have a neighbor who refuses to mow his property, so that 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 really make me complain. You who know me understand I sort of go ballistic over a vehicle parked 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.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. Very insightful, Celia. I'm a complainer from way back. Need to put more time into changing the things that make me complain.

  2. I'm not a complainer. Since I was five I remember my parents saying, be thankful for what you have and don't complain. If we have a problem they said, go fix it and don't bother others with it. And my grandmother used to say that by complaining we attract troubles. My daughter starts her family dinner by saying: "So what are we grateful for today?" And each kid and grownup think about a positive event to relate.

  3. Complaining is a natural, human act. It falls into two distinct categories. First, griping about things over which we have no control; like the weather or your neighbor's behavior. Second, complaints which include a positive solution to a problem and a willingness to put it into action. Unfortunately, this second is the lesser heard kind of griping.
    Should your characters complain? Absolutely, if you want to make them believable.

  4. Complaining for a just cause that you can get rectified is good complaining. However, characters that whine in books are boring and unheroic.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. LYN--I, too, complain too much--the kind that does no one any good. I do make conscious efforts to ignore something that really makes me complain, but it's a hard habit to break. I'm trying, though! Thanks.

  6. MONA--More people should follow your lead, and your daughters'. Imagine if every family began their dinnertime with that question.
    I meet with a small group on Thursday for one hour--max--we call it Small Group. It's a time to focus on our spiritual life, and there're questions which lead us to think about our actions. I have confessed there that I complain too much..I was not the only one!

  7. John--it's your second category that we should focus on more. And for sure, our characters need to complain sometimes to be normal. Thanks for your insightful comment.

  8. Morgan-whining-yes, a kind of complaining, but in my mind it's a little worse. The 'oh-woe-is-me' part is added in, making it just tiresome.
    Thanks for coming by.

  9. Hey Celia,

    I have the same touchiness when I get hungry. Seems like I need to eat something more often than most. I don't need much, just something, or I turn into a claw-clicking blue crab.

    My husband often thinks I'm complaining when I make an observation. "It's trash day tomorrow," I'll say, thinking I need to sort through a stack of papers on my desk and make sure the unwanted stuff gets in the big outside can. Husband thinks I'm bugging him about getting the trash out.

    I like to observe things. Like "that person's driving recklessly" or "That person has a heavy load." I don't mean anything by the observations, they just need to come out of my head. Some people think my observations are complaints.

    Most of the time I don't have a spare minute to complain. I have too many things I want to do! I like to stay active, mentally, at least!

  10. MAGGIE--I don't know anyone else who has this thing with hunger affecting our mental state. But I've always had it--decades ago, my teacher friends first noticed it. I hadn't even realized what I was doing.
    Husbands are a little touchy, aren't they? Mine, too, will often take something I say as criticism. And guess what--it's usually when he's hungry! Which is much of the time--and he's 6-1 and weighs 172--all the time. I do cook light so our weight doesn't change...maybe I should offer more for him.'
    I'm trying to watch what I say. Thanks for your thoughts--you know I always want to know what you think.

  11. Celia, what an appropriate day for me to read this blog for just today I launched my Haiku a day to put a positive spin on my contributions on the Internet.My husband has an expression he is fond of using in jest when I complain about something. "Quit your whining, Woman." Like you, I fell most of my whining is really just as observation.

  12. Well Celia, this was certainly an unusual blog subject. I think I treat my characters better than I treat myself. I let them speak their truth. I save the real complaining and whining for my weak characters. Growing up we weren't allowed to complain or whine. If we had a grievance, we could present our case to our parents and they would either change a rule or stick to their guns. Amazingly, they actually bent the rules sometimes. When I presented a winning case I felt powerful. Unfortunately, I also learned to internalize and to suppress feelings. So I'm not certain whether complaining is good or bad, but too much of it creates a negative vortex and people stop caring about your real concerns. You know how it goes, moderation in all things.
    Low blood sugar really does make people irritable. It's good you're aware of it, Celia. I hope you carry something in your purse to eat if it happens like an energy bar.
    Sorry I'm a bit late getting here.

  13. Linda--how true. I consider much of what I mutter about "just observations." Much of the time I don't even care if anyone hears me.
    Sometimes, though, there might be a real cause to complain...and oh, I am good at that!
    Thanks for commenting. I think your Haiku will cheer others up.

  14. Hi, Sarah--your comment about "moderation in all things" is appropriate. A couple of years ago, a friend gave all her friends one of those bracelets like the Susan B.Komen and others hand out. This bracelet was purple and said, "Work for a Complaint Free World." At first glance and thought, this seems very good. We were to wear them all the time, and every time we began to complain, we were to switch it to the other arm.
    I was switching mine many times a day and I finally put it in a drawer. I think it made its point, but then I thought hard about that.
    Why not complain when it's warranted? And I often mutter complaints to myself so no one hears but me. It's like blowing off steam.
    Bottom line, this friend is perpetually happy and cheerful, and often it grates on the nerves!!!!
    On the other hand, we all know someone who seem to be always in a bad mood and griping. Well, I want nothing to do with that person.

    So, as you say, Just use in everything we do.
    Thanks-I always love your comments--so thoughtful and caring.