Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: news media

What’s Your “News” Source?

“I guess I had this naïve notion that we had a very intelligent audience that didn’t need to be told how to think, how to vote, what to do,” Kolatch told the Times.

From New Leader Days: Can You Have a Political Magazine without Politics? By Joseph Epstein 2006

Where is THAT news source? I’d love to watch/read a source like that, one that gives information, “reports” on what’s happening and doesn’t project its feelings on it.

Why have things changed so much? Why does every news source assume passive consumption of other people’s thoughts on events is what their audience wants?

My husband likes to say, “If you think something should be run in a different/better way, then go open a business of your own.” In my case, my first response is, “I’m not a journalist or a businessperson. I just know what I want to read!” My second thought is, “I know that even if I was capable of creating, marketing, and running my own actual news outlet, it wouldn’t sell. There just isn’t a big enough market to sell to.”

The truth of the matter is that the largest audience isn’t “intelligent” and that isn’t a new thing. Most people in the world are simply trying to get through their day, pay the bills and take care of their families. They don’t have the time to read, study, and debate all that’s going on in the world. They just want to be able to trust that the guy on the news, or writing the article, is going to give them useful information and maybe a little entertainment as well.

I don’t know what the answer is. I just know that something is terribly different these days. I sit here wondering what happened, where are we headed? Very few of my friends and family members read anything other than some popular fiction. Most everyone I know gets their news from articles shared by friends on social media.

I’ve been trying some new things lately. I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal but ended up cancelling after a few months because I got tired of reading the same “news” every day. I wish they had a weekend only version! I live in a small town, so getting my local paper is out of the question…it’s just so badly written. I think I’ll look into the Register and Times again, but they are usually so biased one way or the other.

Magazines are a hopeful source and there are a lot to choose from. The only downside is that it feels slightly wasteful to have them pile up…maybe I can share them?

How about you? Where do you get your news? Is it important to you?

Get A Hold of Yourself, Man!

 I paused on these lines and thought, “That happens to me all the time,” underlining it so I could find it again later.

It’s the reason I post quotes like this on Instagram these days, a text has jogged a thought. I used to underline it and maybe make a note in the margin and leave it at that. Sometimes, if the passage struck me in a significant way, I’d write about it on my blog. Usually though, the thought came and went, and I rarely went back to it. I’ve always been jealous of people that can pull quotes from memory while they write or speak years after they read the book.

This quote got even more interesting when, at the end of my reading hour, I flipped back through the pages to create something for my daily post. I had highlighted several passages, but my eye went to this one again. Copying it down into the graphic, I was pulled in another direction.

“The condition, known as hysterical blindness, may be partial or complete, including one, several, or all objects.”

Have you ever been “blind with rage” or so upset you can’t see straight? That’s a form of hysterical blindness, anxiety so strong that your vision clouds and you feel blind. What causes that kind of anxiety? Huge transitions, deep grief, loss…global pandemics.

When we are living in a constant state of anxiety, we can’t think straight. Our minds, flooded with adrenaline, are blind to even obvious solutions to our problems, and we make terrible decisions.

I’ve been given a pretty healthy ration of shit lately for turning off the news channels, unfollowing/unfriending people that consistently share negative and nasty news articles on social media, and generally staying out of the loop when it comes to politics. How can I possibly make informed decisions if I don’t have all the “facts”? I’m hiding my head in the sand!

Stand by for imminent cliché…

We live in the information age, where we can be bombarded and inundated with “news” from all over the world 24/7 and I don’t think it’s healthy for any human being to live under that kind of stress.

I look around at my friends and family online and I see them under constant stress about things completely outside their control causing anxiety to the point of hysteria. I saw in it building up in myself, becoming blind to my immediate surroundings, so I put a stop to it. It hasn’t stopped me from completely freaking out from time to time. These are stressful times and, honestly, I’m tired of pretending they aren’t.

By opting out of the 24/7 news cycle, I’ve been able to focus on what is in my immediate realm of responsibility, my family, my home, and my neighborhood. My anxiety has lessened tremendously, and I’ve been able to think more clearly and make better decisions that benefit my life and those around me.

Reading the paper, watching TV news, or popping over to social media for a moment, reminds me of those old movies where someone is screaming hysterically and someone grabs them by the shoulders, slaps them hard across the face and says, “Get a hold of yourself!” We’ve all whipped each other into such a frenzy, we can’t possibly make logical decisions.

What else can I do but take a big step back, protect myself, and wait for the storm to clear? Humans have survived on this planet for a long time without knowing what everyone is doing, everywhere, at every moment. I don’t need anyone to make a law, start a movement, or create a boycott to make a decision that keeps my mind and body healthy and neither do you.

A Little Reverse Oreo For You – Light Dark Light

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I originally wrote this back in August but set it aside. I may have been in a bad mood when I wrote it and was feeling too good the next day to post it, or maybe I lost it in the shuffle of my ideas pile, but today I opened it and read it again, wondering if I should clean it up and share it. I think I will. It’s still true but with one little shining star.

Over the last few weeks, as the coronavirus crisis feelings began to swell, I’ve noticed that most of my friends on Facebook are posting positive things. They’re sharing ideas about what to do to help, photos of their kids playing, and the positive stories about their neighborhoods and times we’ve gotten through a crisis in the past. It’s been more positive than negative, but there are a few “Debbie Downers” that feel compelled to share the shitty things they’ve witnessed. I’m ignoring them as best I can.

The tv news is a different story. I don’t usually watch tv news, but I’ve come across it more often lately and it’s just…I don’t even know how to describe it. I wish they’d repeatedly show something helpful, instead of the long lines at the store or the empty shelves. It’s more helpful to hear what we do know about the virus and the reasons behind the steps we’re being asked to take to slow it down. Instead, we have to search the internet for that information while we watch people break down in tears because they can’t find a parking space at Costco (which, by the way, I do almost every time I go there).

How can we fix the news? I have no idea, but we do have control over what we each personally share on our social media pages. Share love, share light, share helps, not fear. Here’s what I wrote back in August, after a mass shooting.


“Whenever anything ugly happens, the vultures come to feed on the remains.” That’s what I wrote in my journal today. I can’t stand to watch. The “news” media is there, being pushed back by the victims and the rescuers, to “report” on what’s happening. Why? They have no idea other than what they see. The only difference between them and anyone else there is that they have a camera and a huge audience. They receive and repeat rumors and speculation to millions of people that otherwise would not be affected by the event. Why? To get ratings and sell commercials. The whole thing makes me sick.

And then when someone tells them to leave, they get huffy: freedom of the press, I’m here for the people, the people need to know what’s going on. I call bullshit. You are there to feed off the carnage, to sensationalize a tragic event for ratings. What you are “reporting” isn’t helping anyone.

I keep hearing people say we need to “stop hate” and “end violence” but, in my opinion, that’s treating the symptom, not the disease. Most people react to despair with violence, against themselves and others. If you want things to get better, stop sharing and promoting despair.

Every day I watch my friends post their own version of despair and share with others. The environment is being destroyed. Global climate change is beyond help. Disease is spreading uncontrollably. Government is creating tyrants and taking over your life. The world is fucked beyond anyone’s control. And it’s the white people, the immigrants, the Muslims, the poor, the rich, the democrats, the republicans, etc. that are doing it to us! It’s that person or group’s fault. If we just got rid of them…

With every new tragic event across the world, the tv news sweeps in to spread the word. We blame it on the “media” but really it’s us. We watch. We share. We join in the chaos and add our own, 24/7, right there in the palm of our hands. It’s all too much. No wonder people are losing their minds. Some drown themselves in drugs and alcohol. Some in hedonism. Some in outward violence, taking as many people with them as they can.

Yes. Crappy things are happening. They always have and always will. But generally, when a crop fails, a man gets angry and shoots his neighbor, or parent succumbs to depression and hurts a child, it doesn’t have an effect on the whole world. But when you highlight it with a few emotionally charged pictures and words and then share it…you make it affect the whole world. You make everyone feel it, not just those in the immediate area.


That’s where I was back in August. It was a pretty dark day. Lucky for you, I don’t typically stay there. I’m too squirrel-like in my attention to sit and brood in darkness. There are far too many pretty and fun things in my immediate surroundings for my mind to dwell on.

I changed my own social media feed that day. I do post pictures of my cat, the pretty bird I saw, the movie I went to see, and the book I read. I try to spin the negative as much as possible. There has been a rant or two, which I promptly took down when I realized that my emotions took control of my thumbs. Telling you how angry I am at the grocery store clerk that squished my bread doesn’t solve anything.

I leave the politics to the politicians and the medical advice to the doctors and nurses. But I am a human (so far as I know) practitioner of peace and that’s what I offer the world right now: a little joy, a little peace, and a lot of love (from afar…you know “social distancing”).

It’s Friday, my Friends! Episode #9

Oh my goodness, people! We’re on week three of my new morning routine! Those that know me are in shock for sure. Sticking to anything for more than a week is pretty rare. For those that are just coming on board, or just plain don’t remember, I changed my focus three weeks ago and decided to treat reading and writing as my job.

I’m self-employed and working on building a business, the business of author, so I need to keep regular hours. My hours are 5am to 11am and during those hours, I think of myself as “at work.” When I’m at work, I act accordingly. I stick to my schedule and focus on my job, limiting my socializing by keeping my phone set to silent and checking my social media feeds after I’m done working for the day. For the most part anyway! What can I say? I have to be honest!

It has worked wonders! Suddenly, reading and writing is not something I get to when I have time. Reading and writing are not “messing around” all morning until I get up enough energy to get my housework done. They are my work! And when I’m done working, I have some lunch, talk to my friends, and get some housework done.

It’s a huge change of focus from the last fifteen years of my life. The kids’ activities and education, keeping on top of the housework, and making sure there was enough healthy food in the house used to be my priority. My “kids” have one foot out the door now and really don’t need me to focus on them so much. I do need to be here when they need me, but I don’t need to be directing or hovering. And my sweet husband works all morning too. He’s here in the house, but he’s working. He doesn’t need me coming in and telling him about strange bird activity in the yard or what I saw on Facebook either. This shift was a long time coming but once I saw the need, BAM, here I am!

So what does the morning consist of? Simple. Coffee. Read my non-fiction. Read my fiction. Yoga. Meditation. Coffee. Write 1000 new words. Edit and re-write yesterday’s words. Post. Breakfast. Read more. Done! That’s when I begin the rest of my day, when I take care of my other responsibilities…like playing with friends online!

And as you can tell by the frequent posting, it’s working! Goals are being met! Now…if I could only make a living at this. The plotting and planning continues!

Thing I learned: I’ve learned this many times in the past, but this week I was reminded once again that I tend to think ahead just a little TOO much. Just like an amazing vacation, I don’t need to know exactly where I’m going all the time. I can just enjoy the journey and see where things go. I tend to worry and then I worry that worry too much! A friend reminded me last week that it’s not a bad thing to consider the consequences of my actions, to take into account how what I want to do will affect my family. I just need to find a healthy balance.

Thing I’m reading: The Economist magazine. Twenty-four hour immediate news and its commentary was starting to drive me mad, so I left it. I rarely watch TV news, unless I’m just in a funk and want to revel in being annoyed. And I’ve unfollowed any news sources on social media since that’s not news, that’s just a rumor mill. But I still need to know what’s going on in the world, so I decided to BUY a PRINTED weekly magazine subscription. I know! $120 a year is cheap for peace, let me tell you.

I love this magazine for two reasons. (I just realized I say “for two reasons” quite often.) First of all, at the front it has “The world this week: Politics and Business.” It’s a few pages of bulleted small paragraphs just summing up events. Great for reading over breakfast or lunch, much like a newspaper. Second are all the longer articles throughout the magazine. Those are the ones I read throughout the week during my coffee breaks.

I love having the magazine in print instead of online because I’m not tempted to scoot over and see if someone liked my picture of the dog or scroll down and read the comments. And the articles aren’t chosen by me or a social media algorithm, so I get a much greater variety of input. Some articles I strongly disagree with and some are about things I didn’t even know existed.

Honestly people, there isn’t much national or international news that you have to have at the moment it’s happening. It only causes stress. Yes, I should keep up on some politics and world news, but there nothing immediate that I need to do about North Korea or what President Trump just tweeted. A raw food diet may be better for you body, but a raw news diet is not. I say bring back the weekly printed news and leave social media for socializing and TV for entertainment!

Any suggestions of other magazines I could subscribe to would be greatly appreciated!

Thing I heard: The quail circus has been in town recently! “What in the world is the Quail Circus,” you ask? It’s what I hear outside my window when a family of quail are nearby. Their squeaks and chirps, their scratching, coos, and flutters. It always reminds me of the acrobats at a circus. I don’t always see them, but hearing them in the bushes or out by the low water dish I leave out for them, makes me smile. I could sit and listen for hours.

Thing I want to do: Get professional pictures done of me out here in the desert for this blog and for my book. Why does that freak me out?

Tequila! It may sound strange, but tequila is amazing. I just discovered the glories of it this past year and have started to become a bit of a connoisseur of it. It all started with a free margarita, a real one, not a blended strawberry one with a just a splash of the cheap stuff. A strong one with good tequila, a rim of salt, and on the rocks. Damn it was good. I never would have ordered one, but a friend bought me one after a long afternoon of work and it was glorious. I’ve ordered them ever since. Somehow it has morphed into straight tequila and now I’ve gotten into trying different brands. My latest love is Casamigos Reposado. This stuff…wow…so tasty. One shot, iced up, no salt. It’s the perfect end to a great week!

Cheers to you, my lovely readers! Enjoy your weekend!

Want Social Media Fixed? Share Only Love Instead

Little flowers shared to social media.
It’s the little things.

Is there a way each of us can “fix” social media? I think so. What if we started using it to share more of what’s awesome in our world?

“Be brave,” says my spirit.
“Wait,” says fear.
“Have courage,” says my soul.
“Not yet,” says worry.
“Dare,” says my heart.

-Rachel Marie Martin

All of this and more, it speaks to me on so many levels. Thinking about writing, relationships, and my own self-expression, I’m sitting here on a Monday morning, trying to think of something positive to add into the world. I can think of several, but I’m afraid the negativity is sucking me down. I want to write about THAT! I want to say what’s on my heart, but at the same time I don’t want to feed the monster.

There are two big things on my heart this morning. The first of which is news media. Why do we keep watching these people, the vultures of all the ugliest parts of our world? They feed off our despair, our pain, and then feed it back to us as if they are doing some good for the world.

“The people have a right to know!” and “Freedom of the press!” is what I hear, but what I see is a group of people getting in the way, clamoring for a good view, and speculating to the world about the disaster that has just happened, spreading fear and terror to the masses.

Why? If something terrible is happening in another state, is there anything I can do at that moment to fix it? No. Is there something I should know to stay safe where I am at the moment, therefore needing the information? No.

The only reason they are on the tv is to get me to watch, to raise their ratings, and to sell advertising time. This is not news, it’s sensationalism for ratings. It’s making money off people’s fears and insecurities. It took me less than five minutes to be reminded of why I do not watch these so-called news channels.

The second thing is this idea of “stopping hate,” as if hate is what is driving people to hurt each other these days. Newsflash: People have always hated other people.

Do you know what’s worse than hate? Despair. We can hate another person and feel no need to take any action against them. But when we despair, when we feel there is no other way, that we have nothing to lose, we lash out in anger.

A person in despair acts out in many ways, all of which are prevalent these days. Some medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol, some do themselves harm in other ways, physically and mentally. Some “live for the day” and throw themselves into hedonism, following every desire hoping it will bring them momentary joy. And some commit violence against others. Like a child without the means to communicate his anguish, he decides he has no other choice but to hurt others the way he is hurting, and he’ll use any tool he can find.

How can we help? I can think of a simple way. Stop sharing it on your social media. I know we think we’re helping our cause by raising awareness, but we’re not. We’re only causing people to despair. Every time we point out another hopeless cause, every time we point out the cruelty, the injustice, the hate we find in the world and then blame it on someone else, we create more despair.

It’s hard not to do it. When I see how much one person is hurting another, or hear of one cause I believe if we only put our minds to we could fix, it’s hard not click “share” and show others in the hope they will join me against it. But that’s the problem. We’re all trying to get others to join us AGAINST something or someone.

What can I do to help? Spread hope. Spread joy. Share the highs. Share the love. There is so much in this world that is better than it has ever been. Why focus on what is not?

As I sat eating breakfast with my teenage son, discussing these feelings I have, the sadness I find in my social media feeds, he was baffled. His young friends and the pages he follows don’t seem to have this urge to share the negativity for the most part. It seems that’s an “old person” way to use the new technology. We have something to learn from our children.

A couple years ago, my sons taught me how to change my social media feed by unfollowing friends that only post the negative, and not liking and following news channels. I find my news in slower media forms, printed magazines and newspapers.

That simple change filled my social media feeds with positivity, science, religion, relationships, and writers I love. It’s been a wonderful change. I do still have a few friends that consistently share the ugliest of things. I love them but I have to tune them out for my own sanity.

And then, when something like this past weekend happens, even my most positive friends are shaken, and rightly so. That’s when I choose to put my phone down completely and let the dust settle. I don’t need to know the details as they happen. I don’t need the play by play, the body count changes, or the speculations as to why it happened.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It means I’ll wait until the event is over and read about it in a rational and complete way, one that doesn’t tear at my heart as if my own child is dying in my arms for days. Since I can’t control what others post, and I know it will hurt me for no useful reason, I put my phone down and I turn the tv off. I turn to my home, my family, my friends and my local community and live.

What if we all did that? The honest truth is that in this world, people are hurting each other and dying every single day, all over the world. It cannot be avoided. It cannot be worried and legislated away. The only thing that will make anything better is love.

Love those around you, love them unconditionally whether they “hate” or not. Don’t push more people into despair by shutting them out. Stop giving people more reasons to feel like they have no other choice but to fight. Love people even when they make bad choices, or choices you believe are wrong. Love people when they are angry and love them when they hate you.

Start creating joy around you. Start creating love. Start sharing love, unconditionally and in as many ways with as many people as you can. And you can start with your own social media feed!

Want to read more of my thoughts on the positive use of social media? I wrote “Will the Negative Effects of Social Media Destroy Civilization?” after I read “Ready Player Two.” Go check it out!

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