Daughter (looking very serious): Today I got a note from my sculptor friend.
Remember you met him at his exhibition opening.
He's upset about what he said a mutual friend had told him you had written about him, about him having bloodshot eyes, and looking drunk.
He prides himself on drinking very little, and not getting drunk, so he's very upset, and he wants to know exactly what you wrote.
Mother: Oh dear! That sounds bad!
I really liked your sculptor friend, and I loved his sculptures.
And that's not what I wrote about him anyway.
I thought I wrote nice things about him, but I did say something about his eyes, about how surprised I was by them.
I didn't expect anyone other than friends and family to read what I wrote.
It just shows how careful you need to be when writing about what you observe, in case you interpret things wrongly.
If you like, I'll write to him to let him know how apologetic I am.
And I'll send him a copy of the exact text that I wrote, and hopefully he won't mind it.
Daughter: He's been a very good friend of mine, and he's always been very kind to me, so I'd be very upset if what you wrote destroys my friendship with him.
And what will you do, if the man next door finds out what you've written about him?
Mother: That would be dreadful!
Although I've only written about what I've observed, no one wants some things about their life to be scrutinised.
You know, over time I've grown to appreciate and respect the man next door a lot more.
Who is the hero here?
Certainly not me!
I've come to think that it's the man next door.
He has guts to keep on doing all that hard work on his house, perservering month after month, year after year, in trying conditions, in spite of all the work that's still to be done, and the lack of money, ....in the cold,...and through fire, when his water was turned off,.... visited by rats and cats, and maybe even malevolent ghosts.
He must be sustained by the vision he has of how the house will be in the end, and by the support of his girlfriend, and the friends who appreciate him.
No short cuts for him!
He's doing a very thorough job, no matter how long, and how much work and hardship it takes.
I have faith in him, and I wish him well.
He can't help being someone out of the ordinary!
Daughter: That won't stop him being upset, if he ever finds out what you've written about him.
Singing is heard from the apartments behind the house.
Mother: I hate the way that woman sings.
Sometimes I feel like singing out to tell her to shut up.
Daughter: She certainly takes herself very seriously.
Mother: Her voice is so monotonous. It's as if she only sings on one or two notes.
Daughter: I think she's making up the music as she sings, and going over and over things, trying to get them right.
You could always get out your violin, and play it in competition with her.
Mother: I wouldn't want to make the neighbours suffer even more.
Daughter: I don't think she would sound as bad if she was singing with a band.
JUST THEN THERE IS A VERY LOUD BANG.
Daughter: that sounded bad, like a gunshot blast.
Mother: She's stopped singing. Maybe she got frustrated, and shot herself.
Daughter: Maybe someone shot her.
Mother (feeling slightly guilty, in case her negative attitude had caused something bad to happen):
She's not singing any more!
Let me know if you hear her singing again.
SOME WEEKS LATER.
Mother. I'm pleased that I haven't had to put up with any more of that woman's singing!
I wonder what happened to her?
When I passed the house next door last night there were lights on inside, and the front door was open, so I could see the man next door inside, in the front room, standing on the bare earth, saw in hand, as he worked on putting in place timber joists that will support the new timber floor. He had company. A friend was working with him, and they were talking. In the background music was playing.
Daughter: I heard them working till late.
ANOTHER NIGHT. (Lights on in the house next door.)
Mother: It must be really cold in there, with the glass still missing from the upstairs windows, and the back door open!
A visitor: Surely no one lives there!
Mother: The man next door stays there quite often.
SOON AFTER, ON AN EVEN COLDER NIGHT.
The man next door could be heard chopping firewood.
ANOTHER DAY, AFTER MOTHER RETURNED HOME.
Daughter: The man next door spoke to me today.
He's found out about your Blog, and he's very angry.
I'll have to move!.
A KNOCK AT THE FRONT DOOR.
Mother: Who's that?
Oh no! .....Oh no!
Daughter: Yes. It's the man next door!
Mother: Although you were only pulling my leg when you said that the man next door was angry, and that he had found out about my Blog, ......and you were pulling my leg again when you said that it was him at the door, ....I've learnt my lesson.
I mustn't keep on writing about him, in case he does find out, and he is upset.
Daughter: That's probably a good idea.
Mother: So that's the end of that!
No more Blog about the man next door!
Now my readers will never know what becomes of him.
And they'll never find out whether or not he finishes all the work on his house, and whether or not it evolves into something wonderful.
What can I write about now?