Every day we're all inundated with information, work, family responsibilities, and so on. I'm still working on strategies to manage it all. How do you get through the day?
I start every morning at about 5:30 with a cup of black coffee and the LA Times before I get ready for work. I have to come up slow before I deal with the day. The LA Times used to be a fat paper with good writers. Lately, it's become a scraggly rag with more ads than articles. It still has good writers, but they must be few judging by the fact that they often dredge up old stories. Mostly, the news consists of the four Ds: death, disease, disaster, and deceit. The news does not paint a pretty picture of humanity, but it's fodder for writers. As a writer, you must either learn to deal with the world or escape it, but no matter which, you must understand it. So I persist in this ritual. I am not fond of reading the news on the computer or my iPhone although I do. I prefer the tactile feel of the paper in my hands. Occasionally, I whip out scissors and cut out an article that I think might serve a story some time. Of course, I save electronic files, but somehow it's not as intriguing as a folder of yellowed newspaper articles.
This morning I waded through the usual news of Mexican murders, Middle Eastern turmoil, serial killers, embezzlement, political shenanigans, homelessness, unemployment, and natural disasters. I skipped the obituaries. There's something almost cheery about obits in comparison to the desperation in the other stories. When you're on a bleak streak, might as well go full tilt.
Then I did a quick check of email and renewed my vow to take the time to get rid of all the junk mail that finds it way into my mailbox. I have learned that you should never subscribe to blogs by email unless you really love them. There are some blogs I do love and I read every one, but for the most part I have dealt with all this mass amount of information with Google Reader. It allows me to put blog feeds in buckets so I quickly scan them and determine which have content I want to read and which I want to skip. When I review blog feeds on my iPhone, I can send topics that really interest me to ReadItLater.
By the end of the day, the world usually feels too heavy. I suffer from information overload, my frustrations with editing a novel and working full time, and all the other stuff that gets in the way. I look forward to working in the garden or a long walk. When the last glowing rays of sun settle on the mountains and illuminate the roof tops, I listen for the screeching parrots that have lately arrived in our neighborhood. I am reminded that there is a serenity in the universe that is not always in my life. I try to reserve enough energy for an hour or so of writing and I know it is not enough.
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