No TV Week 4

I made it a month without television. A month. Handsome and my daughter are in awe. They still bet I won’t last the year, but the odds have shifted slightly in my favor. After telling a few friends about my resolution, they unconsciously began defending their television viewing as if holding candy bars at a Weight Watchers meeting. Honestly, deep down, I really miss slouching in the sofa with a bowl of popcorn, but it was becoming a habit that reduced interaction with living people. I don’t judge television as evil, or self-indulgent, or a complete waste of time. I certainly don’t judge others for how they spend their time. Dear friends, my resolution is about reclaiming my most valuable commodity—TIME.

If I had given up television for my health then I’d be at the gym or jogging sweating off twenty spare pounds of jiggle. It’s not about the television. It’s about time. The older I get the more valuable time becomes.

When handsome turned on the two-hour season finale of “Major Crimes” I had to flee the room on wobbly legs to overcome the urge to sit beside him. I hope the recording stays on the DVR until next January. So instead of caving in on my self-imposed TV fast, I finished reading a rollicking fun art heist and intrigue story call The Job.

With the time rescued from television in this first month, I’ve read: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, How to Make a Living as a Writer by James Scott Bell, (pre-publication sneak peek of) False Truth Part 8 by Diane Capri, The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, and yes, a few Dr. Seuss books to help Giana with her sight words.

Also saw American Sniper, Selma, and Black Hat in theaters.

hands shown on computer keyboardOverall, the TV blackout has driven me back to writing. Revisions on two suspense novels blaze on. I entered chapters of one of the novels in a prestigious contest. While it would be sweet to win, the guaranteed outcome is critiques from the judges, which is well worth the entry fee. An editor requested a reprint of one of my magazine articles. The local newspaper called about covering an aviation story, but I declined because I knew the instructor who died in the crash and because I’m a stringer for a national aviation magazine. Give me airshows and conferences and fly-ins to report on, but not crashes. I also took a workshop on WordPress taught by Pat Haggerty to sharpen my tech skills.

So far the lack of television has been a positive change in my life. Like any habit, it takes willpower and time to maintain the change. Wish me luck.

What would you do with an extra fourteen hours a week?

 

No TV Week 3

I smugly celebrate week three without TV. Okay, so I’m on two medications for bronchitis and need to keep moving so I don’t cough myself sick, but still. Week three. The family is placing bets on how long I’ll last. I fantasize about binge-watching all the stuff recorded on the DVR, and stock-piling a seasons’ worth of episodes from Netflix for next January. Hubby insisted that we go to a movie once in a while, so since it isn’t television, that’s a go.

Nonetheless, I am smug because so far this year I’ve read: Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and I’m partway through The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, and How to Make a Living as a Writer by James Scott Bell. Since I make a living as a writer, the last book is more about becoming familiar with Mr. Bell, who is speaking at a writer’s workshop in Charleston in a few weekends. I look forward to meeting him there. His books on writing nail their topics.

To celebrate my birthday this weekend, hubby is taking me out to a movie then the next day my daughter and son-in-law will go with us to American Sniper. This could easily tide me over for the week without television. Perhaps what I miss most about television is the stories: crime, fantasy, comedy, romance.

cropped-researchstackofbooks.jpgFalling back into books has filled that need for story and I believe reading is a more intimate thread between the author and the reader because books can easily dive deeper into a character’s thoughts and emotions than any movie can. Voice overs that speak the character’s thoughts in movies come off as artificial as stage asides. Rarely does a narrated voice in a movie work for me without breaking the magic because it is a reminder of being outside the story. Books entice the reader to climb into the stories more to explore new perspectives, cultures, worlds, and ideas. Books offer far more depth and scope to the stories than movie adaptations can. Sometimes the adaptations baffle me. Take for instance the Lord of the Rings series. The larger books were made into movies, but the smallest book was made into two movies. Same with the Harry Potter series. The last Harry Potter book stretched into two movies, one slooooow and one blazing fast. Irritating money-driven decisions perhaps to milk the enterprise.

The other upside of reading over television is my friendships with my book club. We love to debate stories over a meal. Goodreads.com is another reader’s paradise where diverse readers share their reviews of books. I have a Goodreads Page with my favorites listed.

What was the last book you read? And how long ago was that?