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Column: Something to talk about
by Lauretta Hannon
January 30, 2014 01:57 PM | 4280 views | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
Q: It seems few people respond to RSVP on invitations either arriving by U.S. mail or via an electronic invite. Recently I changed the wording on an invitation to read “Please let us hear from you.” The response was no better. Has the culture changed in regard to this? I find it hard to understand from a host/hostess point of view. We always prepare food, etc., for the total guest list. Entertaining can be fun, but knowing how many are planning to attend would make it simpler. And what is worse is our guests are friends and neighbors. What is your view of how our culture seems to be moving on this?

A: The answer is simple: We’re less considerate than we used to be. We’re caught up in our selfish activities and figure our lack of response won’t hurt a thing. The problem is we’re doing this in droves and it does impact the plans.

Q: Someone who is of higher authority than me uses a lot of my time telling me lengthy, detailed stories I’ve heard many times. Even when I interject I have heard these stories, and even when I make it known I know all parts of the story and the moral of the story, … she continues. These are her recycled memories, not universal truths. She feeds her ego by telling them. I feel like a hostage sometimes, especially when I think of how I could be using my time more productively. What do I do?

A: You leave. Remove yourself from her company. If you can’t exit, busy yourself with some things you’d like to be doing. You’ll be amazed at what you can get accomplished during this time. I call it passive, fruitful resistance.

I shared an office with a boss who was like this. The more she yammered on, the more behind I became in my work. Once I developed the ability to tune her out, I realized I could handle all manner of business while she thrummed and soliloquized.

I’d check email, work on projects and daydream. The boss was a little hard of hearing, so I could even make phone calls if I spoke in a low tone and positioned my back to her the right way.

I doubt this approach will upset your person since her pleasure comes in hearing herself, not engaging with the audience. Regardless of her position of authority, you are not obligated to be a windbag indulger.

Q: Would you rather write your own obituary or have someone else who might not really know you write one? I’ve been to far too many funerals in which the speaker knew nothing about the deceased.

A: You realize you’re asking a memoirist this question, right? Heck yeah, I’d rather author the story of who I was and what mattered to me. Like all writing, an obituary is forever. But it’s also something  folks press carefully into family Bibles, hand down through generations and can access online long after the departed have gone on to glory.

I recommend you craft your own obit and periodically update it. I imagine it will be an illuminating exercise. I’ll start on mine soon because I sure don’t want a skinny vanilla description of my life. I’d much rather leave ‘em with something to talk about.

Have you wanted to write about your life? If so, join me for a Memoir Master Class March 15 at the Marietta Museum of History. Register before March 1 and get the early bird discount.

Reserve your space at or call 1-800-838-3006.

Send your questions to

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at

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