Monday, November 12, 2007

Taking A News Break

I usually read three newspapers – USA Today, the Las Vegas Review Journal/Sun, and the New York Times. I don’t watch television news much, except for Larry King and Anderson Cooper. Well, and Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, who so brilliantly combine social commentary with humor (at least when their writers aren’t on strike). Sometimes I feel like a news junkie.

I have many perfectly good reasons to submerge myself into news every day. Being a writer is at the top of the list. I’m supposed to be informed, or so I reason, especially since the majority of my work reflects current events in some way. I used to think that keeping up with the news was an essential part of my writerly duties, until I realized that sometimes it was just a distraction.

For about a month this summer, my newspapers were going straight to the recycle bin several days a week. I had a list of projects that had nothing to do with current events. My son was out of school for summer break. Time constraints forced me to choose between turning in projects on time or reading the paper – and the deadlines won, of course. Do you know what I found at the end of the month? Nothing had changed. Wars were still raging around the world. The environment was still hurling natural disasters at us. People were still committing crimes. In short, the world had not stopped existing just because I had stopped spending two hours reading about it every day.

Are you a news junkie? Have you taken a break recently?

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