I get judgy when people gossip.

Can’t they think of something better to talk about? How sad.

Oh, if you want your business known, just tell Chatty Pattie over there.

(A statement which itself crosses the line into the center Gossip Town.)

But I’m just telling you so you can be warned. And to pray for Pattie, of course, bless her heart.

(“Hot Goss Initiators: Survey says,” DING! “prayer requests!”)

A friend and colleague was visiting the Conservatory last week, and we grabbed coffee before the studio class they were going to teach.

A mutual acquaintance came up in conversation, and before I knew it, I was spilling the goods about an awkward Messenger exchange that didn’t put the aforementioned in the most favorable glow.

I didn’t even offer a prayer.

I felt something in my gut shift as I casually exposed this person — a deflating, slime balloon.

I tried to say something a little kinder to recover, but the goo had been slung.

Later on, my guest sent me a link to the training program they were teaching at, and it looked like some good work was going on.

I checked the About page and discovered the program was founded by someone I have a yawning respect deficit for. Someone who’d done hurtful things to friends, and, ironically, figured into a betrayal matrix in my own life.

The impulse arose. What oblique yet morally superior barb could I sling about this entrepreneurially savvy turd monkey?

I wanted to tell my friend what kind of jerk wagon they were working with, but then I remembered leaving the Dunkies that night and throwing casual shade on that other person.

And I heard a wise voice inside say, “Is it good? Is it true? Is it necessary?”

Um, not really. Yes! And no.

I zoomed forward to ask near-future-Dan, and he said, “Better leave it.”


But, I want the people to KNOW. As if it might not be general intel among the theatrical community that this particular person may have engaged in assy behavior.

I wrote back, “Looks like some great work going on there,” which was true, and sat while the gossip geyser in my guts abated.

It was hard not to splay the indignant truth on IG messenger, but after an hour or three, I was grateful I practiced what career coach Barbara Deutsch calls containment.

It was also a statement to myself.

The things this person did that hurt me have less significance now. I even noted the lack of charge when I saw this person’s name. It had been high voltage several years ago when those syllables came up in conversation. (I did not restrain my opinion in that instance.)

But, a few things I learned from deciding to zip it this time:

It was a little hard to do. And worth doing.

I noticed I was a little proud of myself. Choosing not to engage that was a loving act toward me. And my friend didn’t need that noise, either.

And it reminded me how useful the three Socratic sieves are. Is it good? Is it true? Is it necessary?

What would our hearts and minds be like if we kept this top of our consciousness?

It would change how we talk to ourselves, what kind of media we read and soak into our brains, and it would help ALL interpersonal communication.

Good, true, necessary. And I’ll add beautiful.

Adjectives that describe you very well.

Because remember, there is only one true you and folks need to hear the good story only you can sing

Much love,


PS Have you heard about The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride? It’s just a beautiful book. I listened to the audio, and it’s excellent. Good, true, necessary, and beautiful.

PPS And do you know the work of Nilaja Sun? I’m late to the party, but her play No Child… is exceptional. What a wise writer and open-hearted storyteller.

PPPS Shout out to my Voice Teacher from Elon, Cathy McNeela. Yesterday was the spring recital for my BoCo nuggets, and I caught myself making the following Cathy faces:

deep nostril breath before a long phrase:

Open mouth deep feels when a student is being all brave and courageous in their storytelling

And the sweet flowers the schmoopie seniors gave me. I love these kids, what a privilege.