This morning in the Washington Post Kathleen Parker's essay " The Age Of Stream of Consciousness - and Insanity" jerked me back to the reality of what I have been doing to my brain by watching and reading so much "political stuff." For weeks, no months, I have been following the election coverage and watching the antics of "he who must not be named."
"Computers and the Internet may make us smarter in some ways, as neuroscience finds, but baby boomers who grew up with three channels and rabbit ears are the last generation to have been formed primarily by books requiring lengthy, focused attention, as well as the experiential learning that comes from engaging one’s imagination rather than navigating someone else’s often-bizarre, interactive digital fictions." Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2016.
I have always loved to read. The Carnegie Library in Charlotte was special, a wonderful place, for me from the time I was about nine years old. I started out in the Children's room and read and read and read until there was little left for me to select.
By the time I was eleven the Librarian had issued me an "adult" card and I was left to find wonderful books in the adult section - - unfortunately without guidance which left me to puruse and read books before the appropriate time.
The love of reading has stayed with me for 70 years - until Jim's last illness and his death - - - when my ability to concentrate and focus for long periods of time began to waver and then just vanished. I found myself rather like the children I told stories to in the schools. Their attention span for storytelling was no more than 30 minutes. You could time it - 31 minutes and they left the story and began to squirm in their seats or on their patch of space on the floor. Unless - the storyteller also danced, did magic tricks or brought their guitar for singing peppy songs with a chorus for the children to sing along.
Some days during the months, even the years of raw grief I watched endless hours of television. Movies on Netflix took the place of books. I bought the Premium package from the Cable provider so that I had a wide, wide, wide selection of shows to choose from. I even watched movies on my iPad in bed at night - rather than reading as I always had before.
I love the internet and the instant access to information.
Like whipped cream with a cherry on top along comes the current election - the primaries and now the final run for Office. Concentrating on the campaign with at first was fascinating and then became exhausting - - and the more distasteful "he" has become the more stressful it is to watch or listen to. So -- I have worked to wean myself from watching anything about "him" on television.
I do still check the newspapers for blogs or opinion pieces and ration how much I check cable news. CNN sometimes feels like sipping "cool-aid" its so brain numbing for me. There are days when I yearn for the fabled newscasters of yore who really dealt with news. Ah, me!
My brain is quieter, more able to focus and it seems to be returning to a near-normal.
I am reading again - - - holding a book in my hands and letting my imagination wander on its own.
Yes, I do remember rabbit ears and three channels!!!