Friday, August 29, 2014

Book of the Day

Am I being fanciful, or do you feel as I do?

Does it seem to you as though, each morning, a new book is thrust into our hands.  It may be a murder mystery, a war story, or a lurid tale of sexual perversion . . . one thing is certain, it is always highly emotive and challenging.

But what, we ask, of yesterday's book?  What of the half-read story of dangers, difficulties and tragedies . . . the story that had caused us so much concern the day before?
Oh, don't bother about that, we're told.  That's yesterday's news.

So it was that, this morning, I found myself presented with a host of lurid new dramas.

But what, I wondered, of that beleaguered city in northern Iraq?  Little mention was made of it today.  What of the people of Gaza?  Only the other week I was watching in horror as the Palestinians fled their obliterated homes.  True, a ceasefire has now come into effect, but no political agreement can replace lost children, nor reconstruct shattered communities.  How, I wonder, are they managing?

And what of the Ebola outbreak in Africa . . . and the fighting in Libya and the Ukraine .  .  .  what of the homeless refugees from Syria.  Little or no mention is made of them either.

Today's news dominates . . . there is just so much space to fill.  As for us, we have just so much opportunity to listen, just so much time to read or watch.

But, let's think about this for a moment.
Were I to keep up-to-date with every detail of every disaster, would I be able to help?

Sad to say, in the vast majority of cases the answer would be 'no'.   I would be little more than a voyeur . . .  a knowledgeable but impotent voyeur.

 In addition, bearing in mind that a diet of poor-quality food saps the strength of the body, I can't help wondering whether a diet of constant bad news saps the strength of the mind and spirit?  Could it be that, in spite of our wish to know, to sympathise, help and support, we are in danger of being subsumed by this daily diet of death and disaster . . . with too much bad news deadening our perceptions?

Is there an answer?  If so, I wish I knew what it was.
But what I do know is this:   if I lift my eyes from the lurid headlines I notice that the plants need watering, that Chloe is waiting for a walk . . .  and that it might be time for a little gentle dusting!

I realise that I haven't phoned a friend for her birthday, that letters need to be written, the shopping needs to be done, and that, although  I can't do anything for the suffering citizens of Gaza,  I can invite a recently-arrived neighbour to tea.

What's more, if I must have a book  in my hand . . .  why not choose a long-standing favourite?
One which demonstrates that our species, when it isn't taking itself too seriously, has an endearing sense of the ridiculous!

You don't believe me?
Well, if you've five minutes to spare, let me prove it to you . . .
click here and sit back for a restorative chuckle.

As for the good news, yes, it does exist.  There's the excellent publication, 'Positive News', a paper which raises our spirits by communicating what its title promotes . . .   see for yourself.

Perhaps we can pay less attention to the 'book of the day' when it arrives in our hands tomorrow morning  . . .  things may not be so bad after all!