Tell a lifelong news junkie she can’t read the morning news? Anathema. Since high school, as newspaper editor, my wakeup routine was habitual: Grab coffee, slurp copiously, scan my first morning reads from the Washington Post, the New York Times, sometimes the Wall Street Journal, then move onto my local paper.
The news was always the same. A horrific execution here, a brutal gang-rape there, scores of starving orphans abandoned in a remote part of the world (remote to me, of course, but not to them), hate speech and racist responses flowing from one nation to another and back again, young boys pressed into militaristic service by barbarians, world leaders obliviously tending to great matters of political discourse and financial empowerment, Pentagon officials ramping up their arsenals, an grisly early death for a drunk teen driver and all of his passengers, a war on the brink here, a drone reply to it there, public officials lamenting the border crossings of hunted children, on and on it went, always the same except for the names, no one ever taking responsibility, nor assuming responsibility—but a lot of wringing of hands. Multiple pairs of hands, the world over, more than I could count.
Outrageous? Yes. Unconscionable? Of course. Agitating and depressing, too, isn’t it? That’s the state it left me in. There were never any new surprises in the news, just new ways of inflicting the violence and heartbreak.
And then, coffee drunk and horrific news digested, off to work I went, outraged, then saddened, discouraged and feeling helpless. Until I began writing for my own blog.
Blogging, in itself, didn’t lead me to a miraculous new outlook on world events. The benefits came more from unintended consequences: I began to read other blogs each morning, commenting on some here, sharing some of them there, until the blog reading consumed two huge cups of morning coffee and left me no time for the all-important but never-changing horrific world news.
There were blogs to read by introverts deftly handling their introversion, artists striving gracefully to make their art, hard-working ranchers who were poets, poets who were more than deserving of discovery, writers who were gamely publishing or self-publishing, techies who were turning undecipherable code into clever apps, iPhoneography advocates who were generously plying the tricks of their trade, connoisseurs who were eager to explain the nuances of fine wines, horse trainers who really were training humans, photographers who were posting images in the face of disabilities—and everywhere I looked, people where sharing, commenting, publishing—all of it generously, and often with no clear compensation (or perhaps the compensation was measurable to them in non-monetary ways).
And how did that make me feel each morning? Different. In fact, I started my day feeling enlightened, engaged, happy, laughing out loud here, smiling wryly to myself there, and most especially, feeling creative. Thus began my new morning ritual—I started my day with generously-shared inspiration that gave me an overwhelming rush to create, too.
“If this is a deterioration in my brain, then more, please.”
To be sure, I still get world news. It’s everywhere and awful and unavoidable. I remain a huge fan of NPR and it’s on whenever I’m in the car. I can hear it by podcast if I miss something. My husband shares much of the world’s catastrophies with me. Plus it’s on Twitter. It’s being discussed online and among my friends. Newspaper headlines still shout up at me from their spot on the dining room table, and I’m a quick scanner. So I still get it. All of that terrible stuff is out there, it’s all still happening, and I’m still powerless to control any of it.
The only thing I can really control is my own approach to the chronic awful news of humanity’s crimes to one another. I choose to acknowledge it, accept it, and keep my focus elsewhere. And blogging has inadvertently taken me towards this more positive approach of acceptance, with a focus on what’s good. There is much good still out there, too. ♣
How do you start off your day in a positive way? Ever considered blogging?
I hope you’ll click the links I’ve included to check out some of the amazing bloggers who’ve inspired me and so many others—this is my homage to them, too. You’ll find the results of my positive approach here at my blog, Pairings :: Art + What Goes With It. I’d love to hear from you here, or on Twitter: @AustinDetails.