What Happened to Good News?


Yesterday I checked into Twitter for the latest news and, once again, I regretted it.

I’ve gotten into the habit of scrolling through my Twitter feed hourly and finding that it’s more than I can handle.

Is it me, or the fact that I’m getting older? Maybe it’s because I never paid much attention to world news when I was raising a family. If I had extra time that day I’d scan the headlines from the AP wire, but seldom read anything at length. If it wasn’t happening in our small western Pennsylvania locale I felt detached from it…and moved on. 

Today’s 24/7 news cycle provides a continuous stream of stories from the entire planet, but I don’t feel that sense of detachment anymore. On the contrary, I feel intensely connected to people and situations that are happening far away.

No, I don’t personally know the students from the Catholic school in KY who made a name for themselves on Saturday in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Or, the gentleman leading the Indigenous Peoples’ March. I just know that I felt a level of anger, sadness, and shock, as if I’d been there myself.

I used to enjoy Facebook for keeping up with family and friends, but am constantly bombarded with news of animal abuse. This is probably because I joined a few rescue groups and the algorithm picked up on it. The photos are heartbreaking and make me seriously wonder how many sociopaths are walking around.

I’ve developed a keen empathy for animals that I never had before. The thought of strays out in the harsh winter weather makes me really anxious. We spent the morning digging out from Winter Storm Harper and I was also worried about the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. They inhabit the large arbor vitae trees in my backyard. As soon as I could clear a path, I loaded up several feeders with seed and put down some corn cobs. Ten years ago I was living a different life in a different location and didn’t give the animals much thought.

So, what changed?

Well, I’m not quite as busy as I was a few decades ago. In those days working full-time and parenting three children consumed my days and energy. Today my kids are grown, I work part-time, and actually have stretches of hours to myself.

Getting older brings us to an appreciation for things that we didn’t have before. My beloved kitty rescued me last year and provides companionship and affection. As a stray she made me more aware about the plight of those who aren’t wanted or cared for. This in turn raised my consciousness regarding the less fortunate and all the valid reasons they fail to thrive. I’m slower to judge and act more in a spirit of generosity.

Maturity also helps us develop better insight. We experience many different types of people in a lifetime and they all teach us something. Good and bad traits become easier to recognize.

Add to this the connectivity of the Internet and it’s not surprising I no longer feel detached. I’ll never forget these photos of the Syrian boy in the back of the ambulance after yet another attack on Aleppo. Or, the second one of the three-year-old refugee drowned in the Mediterranean as his family tried to reach Europe. These happened far away from my hometown, but they hurt my heart deeply.

And while it’s hard to witness all that goes on in the world and still remain hopeful, we must do it. Losing hope creates doubt and undermines the confidence that we can make  positive changes.

It’s certainly easier to detach and concern ourselves only with ourselves. After all, we can’t fix all the problems in the world. But, being aware helps to cultivate compassion and appreciation for our blessings. An attitude of gratitude enables us to recognize what others need and then offer whatever help we can.

I’ll continue to keep up with current events on a daily basis because that’s who I am. And I’ll continue to be shocked, disgusted, saddened, repulsed, and all the other negative reactions that the news evokes. But, I’ll also be reminded of how lucky I am and how important it is to stay connected to the world. 

I’ll connect everyday, just not every hour.









What Happens When You’ve Lost That Writing Feeling?

That “writing feeling” didn’t disappear overnight.

I’ve always felt it and began this blog in 2015. Up until a few months ago, I’ve written pretty regularly. Then, there came moments of “I’ve got nothing today.” Those moments grew into hours, then days, then weeks. Not only didn’t I write anything, but I stopped reading the people I follow.

Instead of knuckling down and stringing actual words together, I’d opt for a Quote of the Day or an entry in one of the photo challenges. My initial goal wasn’t to write a blog post every single day, so these fillers (as I call them) are a way to share other things I enjoy and stay in regular touch with my readers. But, instead of filling in between posts they became the main content.

It’s not really writer’s block, which is the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Good Lord, anyone who reads the daily news, interacts on social media, or wakes up in the morning has a plethora of subjects to write about. Between our own personal lives and those of the rest of humanity, there’s a never-ending supply of writing prompts. All you need is an opinion.

How to proceed with writing is simple: pick a topic and start typing. Sure, it takes work to get your ideas down in a clear, cohesive fashion, but there’s no mystery about the process.

Indifference ElementREV

So, if not writer’s block, then what?

It feels more like writer’s apathy; an indifference to the writing process itself. And yes, this is a thing. When I Googled it several links came up. This one from Ginny Carter at BookBaby Blog offers 7 Remedies For Writer’s Apathy. 

It’s very similar to exercise and diet apathy, which I’m currently suffering from as well. The less you do it, the less you want to do it. 

Therefore, the resolution is to just do it. (Thanks, Nike and speaking of resolutions, the New Year is just around the corner.)

Accomplishing a goal is always easier said than done; however, it doesn’t answer the question as to why it happened in the first place. So, I did some reflection regarding these past few months and noted the following changes:

  • I started a new job
  • My mom went into a nursing home
  • I’ve become disillusioned with politics 
  • I’ve become disillusioned with people 

Looking at this list helps me understand why I feel so paralyzed in my indifference. I feel less hopeful about life in general. And when we lose hope, we lose our passion and energy. 

I decided to break it down into pros, cons & what, if anything, I can do about it. This is what I came up with:

PRO:  A new job brings time constraints, but offers opportunities for fresh writing ideas. Working with youth gives me a different perspective on life and I’m enjoying the change. It’s also offered better wages and a more positive work environment than what I did in the past and that’s a welcome improvement!

CON & RESOLUTION:  I’ve been through the nursing home experience with my Dad and it’s no fun, but I have insights that I didn’t before. I’ll be a better advocate for my mom. Fortunately, her situation is different and she feels more secure in her new living arrangements.

CON & RESOLUTION: While I don’t approve of the current administration, I can control how much of their messages I hear. Therefore, I’ve decided to limit my exposure to social media and disreputable news sites. I believe there’s a happy medium to staying informed without being sucked into the vitriol that thrives on those platforms. I can do things to advance my own ideas of fair government without giving in to cynicism and overdosing on hate and negativity.

Meme: I'm not an astronomer, but I'm sure the earth revolves around the sun and not you.

CON & RESOLUTION:  And people never fail to disappoint (not that I’m perfect.) However, I’ve always made an effort to understand the other guy’s POV. But, the total lack of respect and empathy that I see on display is mind-boggling. There are individuals who can’t step outside their own heads. Their mantra seems to be: “It’s my way or the highway.”

They honestly believe that their perceptions are everyone else’s reality.

There’s no self-reflection or accountability because most of these folks think they’re pretty darn perfect! No regard for the fact that there’s another side to every equation; that someone else may experience things differently. 

And this very thinking causes most of their misery and that of others.

Again, the best way to limit the ill effects of these individuals is to stay away from them. Whether they’re family members or online trolls, it’s best to keep a safe distance. 

I'm not afraid of storms for I'm learning to sail my ship with photo of dingy cresting a wave.So, I guess the answer is to always maintain a healthy balance when it comes to needs and expectations.

Recognizing negativity will prevent us from becoming invested in the wrong things. Instead, we can focus on the people and things that bring joy to our lives.

Just like a pilot or sailor adjusts their navigation in response to the wind and sea we must make adjustments for the changes that occur in life.

 And this should happen before the paralyzing apathy takes over.

Well, it appears that I’ve answered my question, started a New Year’s resolutions list, and written a blog post…talk about making up for lost time! 

I’m not the first person to experience a loss of artistic passion. If you have any helpful tips to prevent or resolve creative apathy please share in the comments.

Now that I’ve rediscovered the writing feeling, I better tackle that diet/exercise apathy next! 😉