Archives for January 2013

People Talking (and Writing) About People: Small or Not at All?


Someone once said:“Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people.”

The first time I heard this quote, I embraced it as fact. In consequence, I often felt guilty when my conversations drifted to people. No wonder: according to the quote, that makes me a small person. So more than once, in the middle of a perfectly pleasant conversation with friends, I found myself thinking something like: we shouldn’t be talking about the crazy things our kids did today. We should be discussing politics or something! 

So, seeking to become a “greater” person, I attempt to jump-start a discussion on a lofty idea or two. (Not politics, though. I don’t like discussing politics…that said, what ideas were the author of the quote really referring to, anyway? Maybe he or she can send me a list??)

Ultimately, however, we almost always resume talking about people. And because I like talking about people, I shrug a little and smile.

When I say talking about people, by the way, I’m not referring to gossip or mean-spirited conversation (which, granted, is probably what the quote refers to). I’m talking about the stuff of life. People’s feelings and experiences. Their adventures. Their mistakes and successes. Their stories.

Ah. That’s probably why I like to talk about people. The stories.

I like stories. I like reading stories. I like listening to stories.

Perhaps most of all, I like writing stories. (when my writing is going well, that is)

Cue the confession: despite my affinity for stories, I’ve sometimes felt that writing them is a bit…frivolous. Because isn’t writing stories simply another way of talking about people? And therefore, something small people do? Unless, that is, you make sure to cram in a bucketful of high-minded ideas into those stories.


Ideas in all honor…but without people, ideas have little purpose, movement, or life.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating mindless fiction. Not at all. Nor am I telling the above quote to go take a hike.

But talking and writing about people can be pretty great, if only because people are inherently deep, complicated, and awe-inspiring.

So if you like talking (and writing) about people, too, chances are you aren’t small at all.

You’re just like most human beings: addicted to stories and their characters!

That said…be NICE, children! =)

What fascinates you about people and their stories?