Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where I Write: My Writing Shed --->

This is my writing studio, which was created from a barn shed from Lowe's for about $2000.  The electricity was $800.  It was worth every penny.

It was called the Poetry Barn, but inspired by Susan Rich's House of Sky writing studio, we named it "House of Sea" as that is what I look out too...well, partially.  (It would have to be called House of Hydrangea if I named it what I see most of...)

I'm out here writing in it right now.  Or should I say, Write Now.

That's for all of you who have been like me and lollygagging this summer.  Let's unlollygag together...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Easiest Blackberry Cobbler Recipe -->

Because you asked:


  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprig


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Place blackberries in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish; sprinkle with lemon juice. Stir together egg, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit. Drizzle melted butter over topping. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint sprig, if desired.

Note:  I skipped the butter because I um, forgot to add it!  And it turned out great! (and with less calories).

Confession Tuesday -Once in a Lifetime

Dear Reader,

It's been some nice weather, a camping trip, and a lot going on since my last confession.  I swear, I don't remember August.  I'm sure it happened as I have a full calendar of things I did, but it was a wingflash, flying by my window as I tried to decide what to wear.

But here we are, it's Tuesday and I must have things to confess... I do.

To the confessional--

I confess this summer has been filled with reading a lot and keeping up with laundry.  Really, writing and laundry are about all I can handle in a day.  And honestly, either a poem or a sock gets lost in the mix.

In the middle of this, I shall say, I am very thankful to be able to do laundry.  Yes, the HUGE home project of new septic system and drainfield is completely finished.  We have a beautiful yard of dirt (all the grass was dug up) and half of our fence is gone (I'm now working on making new stairs and a flagstone path).

This is the poetry in my life lately-- yardwork.  Self Portrait with Gardening Shears.

But thankfully again, the Northwest will turn to rain and I will be able to stay inside and write without feeling guilty of our warzone-style yard and garden area.

I confess while being outside yesterday, I wandered down to a vacant lot and picked a ton of blackberries to make the most delicious (and easy) blackberry cobbler ever.  Five ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, blackberries, lemon juice.  That's it.  And it was incredible!


Having nothing to do with blackberries, I must confess that I so dislike prologues.  I might even say-- hate them.  Let's just get to the story, please don't bore me with the warm-ups, get to the pitch and the hit.


I confess a couple months I did a blog about not watching much television, but I confess, I'm currently hooked on the new season Project Runway (you're right, I don't have cable, but I watch it on - I am so ridiculous, I know).  We are all fans of Anya in this household, the Trinidad designer who just learned how to sew 4 months ago.  She's fabulous and I hope she wins.

Also, while I am very anti-Heidi Klum (I swear to gawd she has happy mean streak), I am very pro-Tim Gunn.  I love him like a new pair of shoes.  And I learned he has a new book out-- Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work.  And I confess, I just got the sample on iBooks.


I confess today my daughter began her first day of middle school.  I tend not to discuss my family here, but in my me-centered world, I just keep thinking, "How did I become a parent of a middle-schooler?!"  (and in the back of my brain, "I'm so young!" --um, I'm not, I just feel that way).

But off she went today, leaving me the whole day for my writing.

After this post, I'm off to clean up my writing shed (aka House of Sea), my writing studio, and get back to work.  I have set my writing aside all summer, but it begins again, as does Crab Creek Review and an eBook anthology I'm editing with the other CCR editor.

My writing life begins again today.  I'm not sure how I'm feeling except I'm here and in my head a lot.  Thinking about life and the past and everything in between.  I guess we have days like this, days where we look at our life and think, "How did I get here?"  Just like the Talking Heads sang. . .

And You May Find Yourself In Another Part Of The World
And You May Find Yourself Behind The Wheel Of A Large Automobile
And You May Find Yourself In A Beautiful House, With A Beautiful Wife
And You May Ask Yourself-Well...How Did I Get Here?


New Website that Lists #Poetry Blogs -->

We are a Blog Nation-- I just found out I was listed on the new Poetry Blogs website:

If you want to see have your blog listed, go here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer Reading List (What I've Read & What I Want to Read) ~

Sorry to have been away. My final weeks of August have been crazybusy, filled with all good things (camping, day trips, longboarding, sunshine) but filled.  I can only do filled for so long before I begin craving me-time and more of a routine.

For this reason, I look forward to autumn.  Fall is when I do my best writing, when I am fully immersed in my writing life.

August is my warm-up to summer, my reading life days.

Here are some of the books on my list TO READ and some of the books I have completed.


Darin Strauss' Half a Life: A Memoir & Tina Fey's  Bossypants- I've already raved about both of these.  Read them both in an evening and a morning.

Alexandra Robbins' The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School - Great reading for any parent who *doesn't* aim for their kids to be in the popular group and believes in following one's own path, even it if doesn't conform to what is being dished out to us on television shows, commercials, and the land of celebrity culture.

Harriet Rubin's The Mona Lisa Stratagem: The Art of Women, Age, and Power - A good read for women who are heading to age 45 (and up) and a look at powerful, remarkable things that have been achieved in the second part of life.  Smart reading and thoughts about how women tend to come into themselves in a more authentic way later in life.  I was also thrilled to learn the 50's were viewed as a time when women are "most creative." Even though I have quite a few years until then, I was happy to get that report.

Cecile Andrews' The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life ($5.18 on Amazon, btw!) - I read this ever year to help put my values, thoughts and beliefs back into order and remind myself of my priorities.  I have recommended this book many times, so here it is again after my summer reading of it  (probably my 9th reading of this good book).

Seth Godin's Poke the Box - I read this after a friend's rave review and was a little disappointed.  Basically, it's a motivational book to try new things, to "poke the box" and not be afraid of risk or mistakes.  Pretty basic stuff, but if you're trying to overcome these fears, you might like this (also a good price at Amazon $6.99).

Steven Pressfield's The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles - Super-duper easy read, but inspirational.  Some good thoughts on overcoming resistance -- If this is your issue as an artist or writer, you might get some motivation in making positive changes in your life.  I felt he understood many aspects of being an artist/writer, and honestly, I just enjoy books like this.


Douglas Edwards' I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 - This looks like an interesting book on being part of the Google start-up before it was so big, worth so much, and so well-known.  Received good reviews for those interested in these types of memoirs, which I am.

Kelle Groom's I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl: A Memoir - My sister, who is not a poet or artist, recommended this book to me and I keep hearing good things about it.  NPR said this about the book-- “After reading I Wore the Ocean, you'll wish that more poets would write their lives in prose — Groom's voice feels vital and awake, uncompromising and refreshingly spare. Groom beautifully summons the smallest moments from her memory.”

Mika Brzezinski's Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth.  A friend recommended this to me and it sounds interesting despite 1) I don't know who she is and have never watched her morning show  2) I don't work in corporate America.  I read some of the Amazon reviews that marked this as "too simplistic," but I'm kind of interested.  This will be towards the end of my list, but honestly, I'm intrigued by the mixed reviews.

Hearing about this book, reminded me January O'Neil recommended this book quite a few years ago-- Linda R. Hirshman's Get to Work: . . . And Get a Life, Before It's Too Late (and it also received mixed reviews. I read GET TO WORK and enjoyed it despite being a "stay-at-home/work-from-home" mom).  And with that, I'd be interested in reading this--Leslie Bennett's Feminine Mistake, The: Are We Giving Up Too Much? (title nodding to Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique). 

Nassir Ghaemi's A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness - With so many poets who have lived short lives as well as the artists and leaders who have struggled with mental illness, this book sounds as if it will be an interesting read.  Amazon reviewers have it at 4 stars.

Joshua Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything - From Booklist- In this intriguing look at the nature of memory, Foer reassures us that we don't need to acquire a better memory; we just need to use the one we have more effectively.  Definitely something I'm interested in since I spent much of the summer looking for my keys and phone.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Confession Tuesday with Flying Monkeys...

Dear Reader,

Peeps are People Too.

Another week, another week.  I'm thinking about autumn, how I'm looking forward to the leaves changing, to plaid and wool sweaters.  In my best world, it doesn't rain in September or October, but in truth I know it will.  We are the Northwest, the Northwet.

But enough, let's get to the confessional--

I confess I get annoyed when chargers are plugged in, but not in use.  I feel the same way about other equipment too, like the television, toaster, etc.

So in my search to have less of this, I just found this thing--Smart Strip LCG3 Energy Saving Surge Protector with Autoswitching Technology, 10-OutletSmart Strip LCG3 Energy Saving Surge Protector with Autoswitching Technology, 10-Outlet  it's received a lot of good reviews and I want to try this.  Dear Reader, if you know of something similar I should try, please let me know. I am becoming the Al Gore of the Agodon household.


I confess I don't like it when people refer to others as their peeps.  Unless it's Easter and their friends are made of marshmallow, then I hope there are lots of peep references.


I confess after writing the green confession above, I destroy my Al Gore status by confessing that I recently bought paper plates for my family to use for the rest of summer because I am so sick of how many dishes we've had to do lately.  As you can, you could easily confuse me for June Cleaver...


I confess I love it when people misuse the word "literally."  I literally yelled my head off.  --Really, that must have been very painful for you and how weird you're still alive.  I literally died laughing.  --Really.  So you're a zombie now.

I know some people get really annoyed with the misuse, but in my head, I love it.  I literally see all the things these people "literally" did.


I also love it when quotes are used incorrectly.  As in "homemade" soup. (So, what you're saying is it's not homemade).  The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks is a fun place to go if you like this kind of stuff too.


I confess I thought Glenda the Good Witch was not nice for not telling Dorothy that the ruby slippers could have taken her home in the *first half* of the movie. Even as a kid, this bugged me.

And I confess I never liked the flying monkeys. Ever.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall is in the Air...

I know for some of you, you're not ready for summer to end and even though we didn't get much of a summer in the Pacific Northwest, I am ready for summer to tuck itself in and go to bed.

Fall is really the time I do my best (and most) writing.

I am the student behind the desk.  I schedule time, my daughter's back at school and I thrive on routine.  Today I'm getting my hair cut (short) so I have to spend less time drying it (and well, styling it too).  I'll be cleaning out my writing shed (aka House of Sea) and maybe even picking up some non-pariels for a treat.


One place I will have to stay away from this fall and writing season is this place: Pinterest.

If you're someone who loves visual images and images of beautiful things of whatever subject you're interested in, do not go there.

Basically, on Pinterest, you follow people or "boards" which are like virtually bulletin boards on different subjects (and you choose what you want).  When people put new images on their board, you see them on your home page, then you can "Repin" them to your board.

It's a huge experiment in time wasting and it's lovely.

I have a board on Do-It-Yourself ideas for gifts as I plan on making my own Christmas gifts again this year, so it's been helpful to keep track.

So this is me this Monday morning.  Early Monday morning.  Insomnia sings my name again recently, so I echo back here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

For Those Writing Memoir-- Advice from Darin Strauss

Half a Life: A MemoirI wrote about Half a Life: A Memoir by Darin Strauss yesterday and found this advice he had on writing memoir.

“If I was going to write about [the accident], I had to do it in a way that wasn’t self-justifying. For young writers who want to do that, I think one really good trick is to just to do a word replace.  Change ‘I’ to ‘he’ or ‘I’ to ‘she,’ and write about yourself in the third person. When it comes time to send it out or look at it for revisions, change it back to ‘I’ or ‘me.’ That distance can help you tell the story. I know it sounds silly, but that little trick of distance can add a lot of perspective.”

The link I found this at is here.  

I currently have a 35,000+ word memoir about leaving for a week's writing retreat and my crash-and-burn technique to return to the real world.  I haven't been working on it for quite a bit, but reading Darin's work has inspired me to put some time into it and see what happens.

So if you know any publishers/agents looking for the behinds-the-scenes look at a poet's life, feel free to send them my way...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Today

I just read Darin Strauss' Half a Life: A Memoir in one day.  Fantastic read.

It reminded in some ways with another favorite book of mine, Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.  A longer book I read in two days.

There is something about books like these, books where life/lives end or are cut short that make me thankful.  There is something about people who go through pain getting through it, that makes me hopeful.

Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated about who leaves this world and who stays.

I'm fascinated with how life goes on and/or doesn't go on.  I used to ask my mum to drive me to gates of the cemetery near our home so I could gaze through the fence.  Oddly, she did.  And I would look in and wonder about their stories, who they were, and all the questions that go with dying.

Darin Strauss' gave me insight to what it is like to live with being the reason someone died--as an 18 year old, a girl at his school swerved out into the road on her bike and hit his car.  He really tries to be honest about how he felt, how he questioned his life, his feelings, his actions.

So today, I'm thankful for today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader,

It's been a week since my last confession and I confess I'm behind in my confessing.  My August has been busier than normal, but I've been saying that a lot "busier than normal," which to me means I've been saying "Yes" too much.


I confess that today is my daughter's birthday and one thing I love about her is that she wanted a quiz on world countries at her party.  Did you know the capitol of Belarus is Minsk?  I didn't.  She did.

I've learned a lot preparing this quiz such as there's a polar bear on Greenland's Coat of Arms and that 4 Great Inventions of China are: the compass, papermaking, printing, and gunpowder.

I confess I love that the girls she hangs around with are also interested in these things.  And I love these girls are more interested in reading than fashion and celebrities.


I confess my cats keep drinking out of my Betta fish's tank and it concerns me.  It doesn't seem to concern the fish though.


I confess I love how much people read in the Northwest and that the shoe of choice is Tevas, Crocs, or some other fashion-not.


I confess I'm thinking about my third manuscript and this makes me happy.


I confess I hope to get back to blogging more frequently and with more interesting subject matter in September.  I'm just kind of in my own sunshiney world these days.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dear Reader,

It's been one week and one completed septic system & drain field since I last confessed.  I been caring for my friend's chickens while she was away.  Each day, 2-3 eggs.  Magic.

But now it's time to confess, my mind is blank and I worry if I have any confessions to share?  I must.

To the Confessional---

I confess this morning I checked CNN to see if the stock market had continued to decline and I saw this "Worst Days of the Obama Presidency" and realized again why I dislike cable news-- they have short attention spans.  Wasn't he just a hero for for the Osama bin Laden kill?  Whatever is in front of our face is our anxiety.  Weren't we freaking out from the nuclear plant Fukishima?  What happened to that problem?

This is my cranky self saying we there is always something to fear, something to throw in our faces and saying, "The world is coming to an end" and "The country is in a recession" only to be followed by an ad from Sprint telling me I can make 3D movies on my phone.

Is it just me or is there a total disconnect from what the cable news is telling is and what corporate America is selling us?  I swear, if the news is as bad as they say, I don't think I should be making 3D movies, but maybe buying canned food instead.


I confess my favorite canned food when camping is chili.  But with cheese & sour cream.


I confess I want to read this book:  Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast, from Seattle's Sweaters to Maine's Microbrews  - My friend recently read it and said it was hilarious.  I know she said in one of the books, "camping" and having "gifted children" were mentioned.  I would bet that loving Trader Joe's is mentioned (or should be) as well.


I confess I'd be terribly upset if they ever discontinue Trader Joe's honey-sesame almonds.  These have become my favorite daily snack.

My other favorite Trader Joe's foods are:  wasbai peas, lacey cookies, lemon cookies, yellow curry sauce, and mango chutney.  These are the strange staples in my home.


I confess I'm not currently thinking about breakfast after that last confession.  Time to break open a box of Total cereal...


Monday, August 08, 2011

Postcard from a Non-Summer Writer

Buddy Holly on a morning walk while camping...

Good Monday Morning, Friends.  How are you today?

I'm good, but in a odd spot.  I feel I haven't felt I have had anything blogworthy to say recently.  

Summer does that to me.  I'm easily distracted by blue sky and find myself feeling like less of a writer.  In June, I start to write less, July, I live as if I've never held a pencil in my life.  I long to be outside and hope for sunny skies.

But then as August returns and (if you love summer cover your eyes here), I can feel fall in the air and I love that.  I love seeing the blackberries ripen, feel the evenings get a little cooler.  I start to find my writerly self again.  I sweep the sand out of the house and watch the autumn sedum redden.  

By the time September comes around, I'm ready to toss my flip-flops into the shoe box and pull out my cozy boots and sweaters.

I know a lot of people who teach, write during the summer.  But I am the classic student who disappears in her work from September through May.  And I'm okay with that.  In fact, I like having a time where I focus on everything but writing.

This strange not-writing-in-the-summer used to freak me out a bit.  I'd worry that by the time September arrived, I wouldn't be able to write again. I might have forgotten how.  Now I realize we all need time to fill up and that we are always writers, even when we are collecting experiences and living life.

So I'm reading. I've returned to Terrance Hayes Lighthead and will be reviewing Dean Young's Fall Higher for Copper Canyon Press (which I'm loving!)  And just letting the world happen without my to-do list in hand.  Okay, that was kind of a fib because I have a short to-do list on my desk...

But in the Northwest, we don't get a lot of sun (even in the summer!) so we must honor the glowing orb by sitting under it and doing nothing.  It's a truth here.  We'll be locked in our homes soon enough due to rain.  And that's okay, it's one of the reasons there are so many writers here.

By the way, make sure to take one more look at that handsome golden retriever in the photo.  He'll be six this October and well, I think he's fantastic.

Happy August!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thankful Thursday- Martha Silano & New Hat

Marty & I on our writing date...

I realized I missed last Thankful Thursday, but that is summer.   More sun, less schedule.

So this week, it's a two-fer.  My thankfulness goes out to my friend, Martha Silano (whose newest book, The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception is currently $7.80! on Amazon!!).  It's one of my very favorite all-time books, by the way.

I'm also truly thankful our friendship,, our time together, and the special lunch she took me to and the red "trophy" hat she bought me to celebrate my winning the Foreword Book of the Year in poetry.

I'm so thankful to have my poetry friends and to live a place (the Northwest) where you can throw a stick and hit a poet.   But don't do that.  Sticks hurt.

Thank you, Marty!

By the way, Martha blogs at Blue Positive here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Confession Tuesday

Well, it's Tuesday, there's sun in the Northwest, an orange tractor in my yard, and am ridiculously lazy.  I guess I should confess...

To the Confessional--

I confess on the sunniest day of the year, when everyone was out and being active, I stayed inside in my PJs all day and read with my daughter.  I also got some work done and watched the documentary Good Hair with Chris Rock.

If you're a husband, and you've *ever* thought your wife spent too much on her hair, just watch this film and you will be thankful that your wife doesn't have a weave, and if she does...I'm very sorry for your checking account.

But it was a very interesting documentary and well, I *heart* Chris Rock, so I really couldn't lose with this one.


I confess that a friend of mine is turning 40 and she's heard 40 is the best decade.  Since I'm not 50 (which I've heard is *even* better), I will say my 40's are (so far, I'm only in the opening years) better than my 30's.

My 30's were anxiety-filled.  I was wound very tight.  There were people in my life I kept in my life because I didn't want to hurt their feelings.

My 40's are much less apologetic.  I'm still try not to be mean and keep my compass pointed at kindness, but I don't keep people in my life who aren't good for me anymore.

I also feel more of who I am now than in my 30's.

I spent a lot of my thirties trying to fit in with the other moms at my daughter's school only to realize I suck at scrapbooking and that I didn't have a lot in common with them except that we had unprotected sex around the same time and 9 months later had a child.  


I confess the less I volunteer at my daughter's school, the happier I am.

I know, that sounds very Mommy Dearest, but honestly, it's true.  I loved seeing her and being there for her, but really just being in the situation of her social world and the school's energy tied me in knots.  I over-thought everything.  And worried.

I confess field trips were the worst.  The bus ride was a short purgatory.  Then as an extra you-might-be-in-hell bonus, having to watch other people's kids.  I was not born with the everything-will-be-fine gene, I was born with the omg-why-is-that-boy-walking-on-the-edge-of-the-downtown-street-someone-is-going-to-die-on-this-field-trip gene.


I confess I'm getting better at handling anxiety and some days I think I've mastered it, but it comes back sometimes and I have to think, "Oh right, I still haven't lost that baggage yet."

I wonder if becoming older helps me with my anxieties because I just can't remember what I was worried about.  Hmmm, if this is the case, I can imagine my 50's anxiety-free. Okay, another reason growing older has its perks.


Monday, August 01, 2011

You're Not Crazy, Your Television Is!

I took a short vacation with my husband to a favorite resorty hotel for a couple days to be away from huge house project.  My goals?  To read, to nap, to watch the water, mountains, and herons.  It was luxurious and relaxing, except for one mistake I made-- I turned on the television.

A year ago, I canceled our cable so we only have the basic stations, plus Discovery & Hallmark (the two channels they throw into the mix when you buy basic cable--my guess is that this is because no one watches the Hallmark channel, but I digress...)  

I canceled cable it for a couple reasons-- the first was because more than not, I'd come into the house and the cooking channel was on and hear, as I walked into my own home, the first greeting was by Racheal Ray or Paula Dean.  Not that I do not like either of these two ladies, but since I don't live with them, I became annoyed hearing their voices the very second I entered my home.

Two-- The Cartoon channel was turning my brain and my child's brain crabby patty. (Those with kids, will get the Spongebob reference in that one.)

Three - The Midriff Stations-- this is what I began to refer to the walk up the channels between The Daily Show & the Home and Garden Shows.  MTV, VH1, MTV2 and I'm not sure what else was in the mix as I used to flip past it before I saw some girl on girl action, someone screaming at someone else, or anything else that has nothing to do with music videos.

Four-- Even with all the channels we had, there was nothing on TV.

I gave my family a budget, told them they had 3 months to look for the best deal where they could get the stations they wanted for the amount I was willing to pay ($45 a month), then to go for it.  But an odd thing happened, no one bothered to look.  So when the 3 month deadline came up, I canceled cable.  And another weird thing happened-- no one even missed it, and within a week, that Food Network time was filled up with something else.  Also, now we only pay $18.95 a month for cable-- love that!

So back to why I'm writing this post.

I turned on the television on my vacation.  I turned on the television specifically to see if they had the OWN channel (Oprah Winfrey Channel), they did (and honestly, I was underwhelmed...)  How any shows can one watch about Tatum O'Neal & her father and Shania Twain?  I think I understand now why the OWN channel is struggling...

But on the way to the Oprah Channel, I flipped through all the other channels and realized how much these other shows create a sort of frazzle in a calm day.  

Things I saw that I do not miss-- reality shows about celebrities including Gene Simmons (how long has he had a show?!)  Gene Simmons should not have a show because he is a slow-talker and that doesn't make for good TV. But in all these shows, each could have been called "how I misbehave for the tv cameras" or "the cameras are here, let's be cranky and/or say something that should be bleeped out."

Still, I can see why people why reality shows are watched-- you kind of "know" these celebrities and you get this weird (though skewed and edited) look into their lives.  Plus, it's bubblegum entertainment for the brain--let's watch the Kardashians, the Osbournes, the Simmons, to realize how less screwed up our family is!  I get that.  These were not the shows that made my head hurt while scanning through, it was the news shows.

If I could rid this world of one thing to make a positive difference, it would be cable news.  

They do not only beat a news story with a stick, but they also skin it, hang it on the line, wear it as a cape, and wrap themselves and everyone else around them in it.  

The worst channels are the one that have so many things around the newscaster's face from stock quotes to weather to breaking news to logos to lines of text that is probably just added for effect, it made my brain hurt.  There is so much writing and images on the screen, the newscaster looked as if she was picking out between the information overload.

Television isn't bad.  As someone who still quotes from Designing Women, will kick back and watch a couple episodes of Antique Roadshow, who watches Amazing Race with her family every week it's on, I definitely do not want to be one of those people who when you ask, "Did you see the last Grey's Anatomy?" responds with a holier-than-thou: We don't watch TV (instead of a more polite, "No I didn't.")

But I do want to suggest that too much television and the image and news overload, might be screwing up your inner calmness.  

I realized it when I saw the lady's face hovering above three lines of stock quotes and breaking news, that she was like the Wizard of Oz, floating head, dishing out "important" info, but pull the curtain away and it's all for ratings.  

It's all to take away our own creativity and time.

It made me realize once again, we are each in charge of what we bring into our lives.  

And you might think you're frazzled, anxious, overwhelmed with not enough time to write.  Consider the television.  Your life is just fine as is your brain and your emotions.  You might just need a detox from the screen.  

After a year of TV detox, just turning it back on made me realize what craziness I left.  I hadn't realized the anxiety it created in me because I was living it daily, but turning it back on and seeing 24 hour news at its worst, I realized that I think I feel calmer today because I'm completely blocked out from the cable news.

And as I said, I haven't given it all up, just the garbage stuff like cable news and shouting families.  I mean, our own families are nutty enough, must we get craziness from people we're not even related to?  

I guess I will always be thankful that television comes with an off button.


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