Too much information

Does anyone besides me feel overloaded with information?  Though I subscribe for and read five newspapers, (one of them on line) my husband and I never watch TV news except for “The News Hour” and “Washington Week” on Public Television, and, when we are in the car, we hear a bit of NPR news.  What must those of you who watch network news have to take in?

Technology has brought us almost instant breaking news from around the world, yet there is little we can or would do about it  from our living room couches in “Middletown, USA.”  I am beginning to wonder about the importance of all this news.  Sure, much of it impacts our lives, but , except for weather, plus necessary your “action needed now or in the near future” information, or meeting announcements, or disaster news,  wouldn’t a weekly digest serve us just as well?  Guys, let’s think about all this for a while, and not throw out the latest news bomb that may prove totally unreliable or inconsequential the following day. (Shouldn’t we have thought longer and harder about that “Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq” information?)

What made me bring this up right now is the news I get as a writer. For some time (and as recently as last week) I have been bombarded with topics like these:   “Reading down in America.”   “Reading in the 18-24 age group has dropped by ?? % in the last ten years.”  “New York Publishers cutting (or eliminating) advances,” and,  “Bookstores struggling.”

And then this came along from the New York Times this morning:  “Fiction Reading Increases for Adults.”  In his article, Motoko Rich quotes a report: “Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy,” that was released January 12 and is based on “The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts” conducted in 2008.  For the first time since 1982 (the survey tells me) more adults 18 and older are reading novels, stories, and poems.

Hooray, for sure.  Good news for me, as a writer.

But… in the midst of all this good news-bad news stuff, sales of my “To Die For” novels have remained steady and even increased over the years.  I plod along writing and promoting and selling while news of all kinds about what is happening  (or not) in my chosen profession swirls around me. I must admit most of this news now feels like it’s “out there” somewhere.  I used to read it all, take it in, and worry.  But now…?  I’ve chosen to paddle my own canoe and not sweat the speed boats (or speed bumps?).  (Gotta love mixed language pictures.  I am sure you get the idea I am sharing!)

I ask you…except for cocktail party-type conversation, did I really need to know boat-loads of “facts” right this minute, especially when some wizard who’s in the know (?) may come along and amend them before this evening’s news deadline?

Radine

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