11/10/08

Complaining, Anger, and Bitterness

I just read a short story by Richard Matheson (author of I am Legend) called "Mad House". He typically does sort of horror / suspense type stories which is why Stephen King credits him with influencing his own writing the most of any other author. The story basically goes:

A man has become increasingly angry over the years to the point that anger and rage are the only emotions he experiences anymore. These emotions have been manifesting over the years through him yelling at his students (he is a professor), berating his wife, and throwing or kicking or hitting objects in his home that don't respond the way he wants. For example, a rug in his home slips under his foot so he kicks it across the room. The pencil tip breaks so he throws it against the wall. You get the idea. Well, his wife has finally decided to leave him.

Meanwhile, a science professor friend of his tries to share a theory that he has come up with. He suggests that the emotions of anger and rage, when constantly expressed, are absorbed by the objects (be they human, animal, or even inanimate) around them. He worries about his friend. He seems to think that his friend is in danger from his own home retaliating against him. He theorizes that the objects in the house will sort of come alive and end up treating Chris (the main character) the way he has been treating them. Well, SPOILER, they do and the house ends up killing him in the end.

The story got me thinking about how much I complain. When people don't meet my expectations or if I feel slighted by someone else, I want to vent or yell or tell my wife or confront them or...
Well, I think complaining, at least in my life, leads to anger, and then to bitterness. I am trying something that I've heard other people have done with some success. I am going to try to avoid complaining for a while. My attempt will be through the New Year (sort of a pre-New Year's resolution), and then I will see if my emotional state is any different.

I'll let you know how it goes... it's probably going to suck! Just kidding :-)

1 comment:

Daniel Ott said...

If only I were in a position to provoke you and test whether or not you complain... that could be fun! Just kidding!

I think trying to actively avoid complaining is a great idea. One I might have to borrow and test for myself. Great thoughts!

Also, I like reading what you write!