Write… Edit… Publish: Sharing

This is the post, for the monthly bloghop hosted by Denise Covey over at Write… Edit… Publish.                

You are welcome to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words OR artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your works. There's something to suit every taste! Go and check it out! 

This month the theme is SHARING.


I had so many different ideas in mind for this theme. I finally settled on a non-fiction piece. Before I started writing fiction, I dabbled in some non-fiction, so I've decided to share this 400 word piece from my very early attempts at non-fiction. Some food for thought…        

                                        THE GREY AREAS OF LIFE

When we are young, life is viewed through a lens that distinguishes between black and white.

It is a dichotomous world which has two positions for most things. People are neatly divided into two packages: good and bad, young and old, friends and non-friends. Issues are legal or illegal, moral or immoral, true or false. Games are fair or foul.

In other words, you only choose one or the other.

As simple as that.

As you grow older, it is not so straightforward anymore. There is an in-between area. The grey area of life.

This is where the lines blur, become hazy, clouded. We realise that not everything is transparent, some things are unclear. There are boundaries between several things that are not obvious, not understandable. Something can be viewed in different ways or be identified by different categories. For example, the concept of friend and non-friend takes on a different meaning. It is not so cut-and-dried anymore. You differentiate layers of "friends": bosom buddy, workplace friend, friend you meet for coffee, confidante, etc.

The significant factor is that nobody warns you or prepares you for the "grey areas" of life. It is something you learn through trial and error. You come to realise things through various life experiences – both positive and negative. These life challenges help to mould and shape your way of thinking, and ultimately determine your mindset. On a daily basis, your thought processes grow… change… evolve…

I don't think that anybody can actually tell you or prepare you for life's "grey areas". You have to discover it for yourself. It is part and parcel of the delicate mental maturation process. And even if it were possible to prepare an individual, when is the right time? A certain age? Which age? When a specific milestone is reached? Which milestone? It becomes a mine field because every individual is unique, develops and matures at a different rate…

Some people say that grey areas make life fuller and richer. So maybe a complete range of grey areas is probably the way to go? What do you think?

                                          *          *          *          *          *

I'm going to be very busy this weekend, so it will take some time before I get around to reading all the bloghop entries. But I will pop in.


  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh on November 22, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I think I started hitting that grey area in my thirties. That's when I lost some of my extremes as well.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

      I also started hitting that grey area in my thirties… though I have to admit I've never really been one for extremes…

  2. Denise Covey on November 22, 2013 at 1:34 am

    A very thoughtful sharing, Michelle. This is one of the reasons I favour Philosophy as a subject in secondary school, where students can learn that there is more than one opinion on any given subject. Through life we are always changing, often through being confronted with questions we have to answer and we find our answers perhaps becoming more inclusive as life goes on…it's always ugly when we become less so as we age.

    Thank you for sharing with us! Enjoy your weekend. 



    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:45 am

      So true Denise. I like that idea of Philosophy as a secondary school subject. You do get those adult individuals who just refuse to let go of their "black-and-white" outlook on life… they hang on…

  3. krystal jane on November 22, 2013 at 1:56 am

    I'm a big fan of grey areas. Things are more than just this way or that way, you know. 🙂 I think they're more realistic and more fun to play with, but everything has it's place, especially in writing. 

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Grey areas reveal that there is more than one way of looking at different issues… it is more realistic too. 🙂

  4. Catherine Noble on November 22, 2013 at 7:27 am

    This is a fantastic piece, Michelle! I agree with Denise that instilling a good practice of critical thinking in children is the way forward, it seems like the best way to prepare them regardless of their stages of development. I really like the idea of "layers" of friends, then there's the (d)evolution of those friendships as we change and grow. Perhaps everything is grey, and there IS no black and white!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:49 am

      I think that open-minded adults quickly reach the conclusion that there IS no black and white… very controversial…

  5. Julie K Pick on November 22, 2013 at 7:48 am

    You are so right about the difficulty in distinguishing between the different areas. There is so much grey, and I agree that is something that you can only learn from experience. Excellent post Michelle! 

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

      That's why we refer to it as the innocence of youth… the time before the grey areas…

  6. Medeia Sharif on November 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I was able to detect these areas better when I hit my 30's. There are so many things to think about and weigh in. 

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

      I think that's more-or-less the age when lots of individuals come face to face with the grey areas.

  7. Shelly on November 22, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Loved your essay. So true about young minds. Life experience changes everything.

    Hugs and chocolate!



    • Chrys Fey on November 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Very thoughtful piece, Michelle! When I hit the grey area with friends after high school I was so confused, but even more so now when those I put firmly in the category are inching into the grey area. Life really does impact everything. But I think I perfer there to be a grey area. It gives us more layers, more choices, and as an indecisive person I can just stick everything in my grey area. 😛

      • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:59 am

        So true Chrys. The grey areas allow for more flexibility… and more consideration… less rigid thinking… 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

      The innocence and idealism of young impressionable minds… it's refreshing… but if only they knew…

  8. Trisha on November 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Great post, Michelle, and very thought-provoking. I agree that there are different "layers" of friendship, with all the people in that realm definitely considered friends but different types of friends.

    And then there is the thought of good vs bad, which can take you into some pretty "grey" areas indeed, particularly as you encounter other people's opinions.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Good vs. bad is the most controversial of all the grey areas, and needs to take into account that there is no "true and correct reality"! Your reality and mine are two different concepts…

  9. Elise Fallson on November 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    With so many flavors in life, hard to narrow things down to only black and white, but it sure would be more simple if we could… I started seeing the many shades of grey in my early 20's… Food for thought, Michelle. (: 

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Ah, if only life were that simple. As somebody mentioned before, maybe there is no black and white… only a range of greys, in different shades…

  10. Elsie on November 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I remember when I had only black and white thinking.  Then my thoughts were able to see the greys of the world.  Well written, Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

      It takes time to move beyond that black and white level of thought… but some people don't want to think differently…  they say that ignorance is bliss…

  11. Lexa Cain on November 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    At least some people mature and evolve from the naive idealism of youth. But some, particularly in third world countries, never do. What they believed in when they were 15 is still what they believe in and there's no room for other opinions. That aggravates me. Great post, Michelle! It really made me think.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

      I think it's part of the human resistance to change. Change represents the unknown. People are scared of change. They prefer to remain in their comfort zones. They like the familiar routines, and doing what they always did… thinking what they always thought.

      I've also discovered that when you start empowering yourself, then some people look at you in a strange manner. It makes me think of the saying: ignorance perceives informedness as arrogance…

  12. Sally on November 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Grey areas come with life experience which can be at any age, sometimes it goes with a lot of heartache and hurt as well.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Absolutely. The heartache and hurt help to mould and shape a character… for better or worse…

  13. Morgan Shamy on November 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I don't think it's possible to prepare either… I used to think so when I was younger. But man, life is so unexpected and just when you think you know something, you really don't, lol. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:19 am

      We learn every day… life throws us curve balls… we encounter new and different shaded grey areas… 🙂

  14. Cherie Reich on November 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I think I opened my eyes to the grey area in late high school/early college. I think being a bit more out from under the eye of parents can help bring out those grey areas.

    I enjoyed the piece! Very thought-provoking!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Yes, I agree. It's a natural parental instinct to want to shield your child from heartache. Sometimes parents need to step aside and let kids be exposed to the grey areas of life (as long as they aren't faced with life-threatening choices…)

  15. Yolanda Renee on November 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I was taught early on by a Sunday school teacher to question everything. It framed my life, grey had always been the way! My exposure to black and white was too negative to be realistic – I've always searched for the truth and it's never been simple or black or white! Great thought provoking piece!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Reality is not black and white, truth is not simple. You are fortunate to have had a teacher who encouraged you to question everything.

  16. Li @ FlashFiction on November 23, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Definitely a fan of the grey areas. I think as we grow older we learn patience and tolerance, and are more open to other points of view. As far as humans, it sometimes seems that it's harder to teach a "young dog" new tricks 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

      In certain instances, it does seem harder to teach a "young dog" new tricks. The young dog is still idealistic. He has to "go through the process"…

  17. Linda Katmarian on November 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

    An interesting point of view. To be able to see shades of gray, tonal values, is evidence that one is paying attention to life. Thinking. It seems to me if everything is just black or white, then one is not paying attention to the truth about himself and others. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Lots of people opt to "turn a blind eye" to life… even when things stare them in the face…

  18. Gary on November 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

    A most enlightening posting, Michelle.  As I grow older, my mind gets even more open to other possiblities.  Of course, a grey area is a grey area in so far as is it spelt "gray" or "grey" 🙂  Actually, does it matter.

    Have a nice weekend.


    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Grey or gray

      Whatever you say

      Come what may

      Have it your way!

      Now have a good day!  🙂

  19. The Armchair Squid on November 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I would agree that the gray areas make life more interesting.  They make for more interesting stories, too.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Ah, yes. Great stories spring from grey area encounters…

  20. Robin on November 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    The grey areas.  I think they remain some of the most difficult places to navigate no matter your age or experience.  As an example…One of the most difficult realizations is when you consider someone a confidante or bosom buddy and you come to realize that they consider you an entirely different sort of friend.  Do you remain friends?  Do you pedal down so that you are exchanging at the same level?  There are no good answers here.  Just like most grey areas.  We simply do something and hope it's the right thing.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

       I read somewhere that there are friends for different reasons and different seasons, and there's no guarantee that those you grew up closely with, will remain bosom buddies. On the other hand, I know of people who have sustained good and solid friendships, over decades…

  21. N. R. Williams on November 24, 2013 at 7:37 am

    There are times when I think I have become gray. I do have set opinions on certain matters, however, I'm willing to listen and consider what others think.


    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

      I think it's less stressful to operate in the gray areas. You are more compassionate and open-minded…

  22. Julie Flanders on November 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Like some others I think I reached this point fully when I was in my 30s. After life knocks you around a bit you definitely realize things aren't always cut and dried.

    Great piece, Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Life always has curve balls ready to throw at you… how you handle them is another matter…

  23. Lara Lacombe on November 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Nice piece!  I agree with what you wrote–I don't think you can teach someone about the grey areas–I think it's something they must experience firsthand in order to understand.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

      And each person's experience is unique and different…

  24. Shannon Lawrence on November 25, 2013 at 8:18 am

    The older I get, the more grey I see. You can't teach anyone about the greys; they have to see for themselves. The funny part is that there are people much older than me that don't see the greys yet. I guess it all depends on life experiences? Nice piece!

    <a href="http://thewarriormuse.com/">The Warrior Muse</a>

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Some people "turn a blind eye" to the grey areas. It's easier that way. You don't have to think too hard. Once you start acknowledging the grey areas, it comes with another set of "poblems" and "questions"…

  25. Jen on November 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Ah, the grey areas. This is a topic a friend of mine and I have been discussing for years. How do you know what they are and what to do when you're presented with them? I think it goes hand in hand with growing up. We have to start making our own decisions and stop basing all our choices on the information that was passed to us by our parents or guardians. It's scary. I think for me I became acquainted with the grey areas right out of high school. I still wrestle with some things from the time period but I've come to realize that those choices are the ones that color us for the rest of our lives, that help shape and mold us into the adults we become and will evolve into. Some choices weren't so good; others I'm proud of. Regardless, I am the person I am today because of these grey areas. 

    Wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:47 am

      The grey areas involve decisions and choices that shape us into the adults we are today. We grow and change, some for the better… some for the worse…

  26. Laura Clipson on November 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    This is a very interesting topic, children do think very differently than adults do, and it's a much simpler way of thinking. Grey areas are one of the things that can make life incredibly difficult sometimes.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

      That innocent and idealistic way of thinking has its place in the grander scheme of life, that's what makes childhood so precious… but for some kids, things are never black and white… they are born into a grey world…

  27. Nilanjana Bose on November 26, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Grey is where the stories come from, the breathing place for the imagination, and its free workings.  The sooner young people get to the grey, the richer life is going to be for them.  More difficult, but way more fun too.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

      …"the breathing place for the imagination…" I love it! From a writerly point of view, you are spot on!

  28. Lisa Buie-Collard on November 30, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    So very true. I used to try to explain this "grayness" to my son, but realized he must, as you say, learn it himself because he thinks he already knows what it is, but his actions and words speak differently. I sometimes am happy about the gray of life, but it is also hard because then nothing is cut and dried and you have to think a whole lot more!

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