quote Hit Me Softly

The news. I’ll be the first to say that we need to know what’s going on around us, in our neighborhoods and in our world. For decades, I enjoyed reading the morning newspaper before heading off to school or work. Then 9-11 happened. I.had.no.clue. I prepared for my morning classes, then got into my car, popped in a CD, and headed off. Once on campus, I was struck by an eerie feeling that everyone seemed somehow preoccupied with their thoughts. Faculty and students were somehow “off” in their scurrying to classes, or congregating in the halls. As bright as the sunlight was, the mood was dark, somber, pensive. In the cafeteria, while grabbing a cup of coffee, I noticed the televisions were on and large groups of students stood staring at the screens, so I asked the woman at the register, “What’s going on?” She said, “A plane just crashed into one of the buildings of the World Trade Center.” At that moment, I felt severely disconnected from everyone in the room. I had missed the most important news of the day. Devastating news that affected our entire country. I had missed it because I had fallen out of the morning news loop. This news wasn’t in my morning paper because, let’s face it, the newspaper is yesterday’s news. So for the last thirteen years, I’ve been turning on our television every morning to catch the top-of-day news before leaving for work.

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Last week, I decided that maybe it was time to shift my news feed into reverse.

“Somehow, the violence of our times doesn’t have the same impact when it tastes of chocolate spread, gooseberry jam and toast. Newspapers have a sedating effect.” ~ Philippe Delerm

I’m craving information, complete in context and thought-provoking in content, over sensationalism and sound bites. It may be yesterday’s news but, as Delerm says, the present tense is “tempered by a good night’s sleep” as you “assimilate the information from inside where the weather tastes of bittersweet coffee” and, in my case, a splash of Hazelnut creamer as well.

RemoteI’m tired of clicking the remote and opening the television to news I’d rather not hear, repeatedly, when my day hasn’t even had a chance to properly unfold.

Radio carMy routine then moves onto saying a rosary in the car as I drive to work, afterwards turning on the radio to the National Public Radio (NPR) station. Honestly, NPR is more of a media journal; offering stories on interesting topics and well-rounded coverage of current events. As the seasons change (at least on the calendar, anyway), NPR will be trumped by CD’s filled with music that evokes images of the colors of turning leaves and all things autumn, followed closely with the sounds of holidays and holy days.

014There is something to be said about absorbing yesterday’s news. Often, it comes with a perspective mollified with time; time to ponder all the elements connected with the matter-at-hand, time to sift through the carnage of “breaking news,” time spent taking sips of coffee as the reporter writing it mulls over what’s occurred, researches the back story, ponders how it will affect the future of our community, our nation, our world.

“Nothing really happens in your morning newspaper and that’s why you look forward to it so much…It informs you that the world hasn’t changed overnight and that the day’s in no hurry to get started.”

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9-11 doesn’t happen every day. The day that made a major shift in the fault line running under my information highway is now, realistically, history. In its aftermath we as a people and a nation have been changed. How the news is fed to us through the media took on a widely different shape and tone. Last week I realized that that shape and tone was not necessarily a good thing — not for me anyway, not anymore.

In the week that has followed the death of Robin Williams, I have decided to light the flame of an old romance, between me and the newspaper. I’ve also been processing the news of his passing over coffee or tea, chewing on the reality of it, and I’m ready to share a more introspective and personal story of depression. First person point of view — raw and real — as I continue with Hit Me Softly, part two.

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{Excerpts taken from Philippe Delerm’s book above.}

Take note of simple pleasures that impact deeply, dear reader

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