What shall we chat about today?

by Ruth Griffiths

People often ask me how I come up with the topics I write about in this column. Today we will explore that at length.

I usually write about the things that I have recently discussed with my family and friends. I share my ideas with them first and get some feedback. That process helps me to form an opinion. Usually some research is required too, but my personal experiences usually colour my opinions more than facts do.

Often I write for a specific date such as Valentine’s Day, Easter or Mother’s Day. But other times I write for a date that is not well known because it is the anniversary of something in history. Usually I look for an item that has some personal meaning for me so that the topic can be a vehicle for expressing my opinion.

For example on April 27, 1810, Beethoven composed Für Elise. Almost anyone who has taken piano lessons will have learned to pick out this tune. You might also have heard it on a music box. Such was the case for a black jewelry box that belonged to my maternal grandmother.

I visited her one summer during my teens and admired the black lacquered box in her bedroom. It was decorated with paintings of flowers in an Oriental style. She gave me the box and I have treasured it for its function and my memories of her.

When the lid was opened the box used to play Für Elise. Alas, the mechanism has become damaged and it no longer plays a tune.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized the irony of the tune. My grandmother’s name was Elizabeth, but most called her Elsie. The music box played its tune “For Elsie.”

Sometimes the thoughts I share with you are as insignificant as an heirloom music box, but your positive responses to my columns encourage me to continue to write them.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to tell me what they have liked (or sometimes disliked!) about what I have written. For me, writing a column is like chatting with family or friends. I hope you enjoy our chats as much as I do.