Monday, July 12, 2010

The decline of the newspaper versus writing your own

I got a book from the library that is all about the decline of the newspaper, but my own theory way back was that you had to create a newspaper yourself in order to insure that in your lifetime at least you would never be without a newspaper and one where you would always be represented. Even when I was 20 years old I could see my thinking was not going to be represented in the current newspapers satisfactorily. This led to writing many letters to my sisters, until pretty soon a correspondence was going on between the sisters that went on for years and years, which could have been called a virtual 'newspaper'.
My grandmother Wilson was a great letter writer and kept a circular letter going between her sisters and brother for years. When the letter arrived each one would add more to it and send it on. When the letter got back to the first sender, that long circular letter was retired and a new one was started.
I could see that this was a newspaper with much news in it about the members of the families as well as outside news that might affect the family, and so modeling my own letters somewhat on my grandmother's at first, we were able to expand our coverage into writing about books we loved and much more.
Today the family newspaper still exists in the form of a family website on the internet as well as quite a few blogs. The 'old' sisters are all writing memoirs a copy of which will be sent to the others mostly in some sort of book form.
Doc likes to buy the daily newspaper in our city, The Arizona Republic. I read the Editorial page and peruse different news stories in the front page section, some of which I may have already seen in a story on the Internet. Doc being a cartoonist of sorts always reads the cartoons, and sometimes saves one for me to see. I used to be a big sports fan but my sport viewing has declined since Doc got cable. He does not like sports events and I save my evenings for meditation and preparing for my departure to the other world. Commercial TV watching as well as my activities on the internet were killing my eyes!
I save my eyes for reading biographies, novels, histories, etc. I usually get from the public library. The book I am reading about the decline of the newspaper came from the public library.
So I supplement whatever is available to the family writings and thus feel that no matter that happens in the newspaper world it is not going to hurt me very much, because I do not rely on the newspaper for the bulk of my reading!
Yesterday I lucked out and one of the books I got from off the free pay it forward table in the ballroom turned out to be fascinating. It was Franz Kafka's "Autobiographical Writings" and also called "I Am a Memory Come Alive." I will never again be able to say I don't like Kafka because his writings are so austere. I felt great sympathy for him after reading this book. It told in detail about his death from tuberculosis which was a hard one indeed. And he was also a prolific letter writer. Really, this book is an absolute treasure. I am trying to decide what member of the family would like it most as a Christmas gift, for there is no sense keeping an extremely good book around gathering dust once you have read it! Probably my son Raymond who is also a prolific writer would treasure it, but first I will have to send it to my sister Ann who I know will love it. My sister Margie just reported reading one of Kafka's novels, so she would probably also find it of interest.
I talked to my sister Linda night before last who is going to look for an autobiography of Celine, a French writer, she thinks I will just love. She lost it in her apartment but is sure she can find it! Celine was one of Bukowski's favorites. I loved one memoir of his called "Down and Out in Paris." He was working as a waiter in the bowels of a fancy Paris hotel, and I so related to his experiences there having spent ten years waiting table. I still recall his writing about dropping a chicken on the floor and picking it up and putting it back on the plate and serving it!
Great books have a way of surviving even when newspapers don't, but if you love the newspaper form you create your own to make sure you will never be without the basic newspaper!
I expand my readership through my blogs and videos but I personally think it is a mistake to try to go 'commercial.' Some writers have the luck to write something that might be published without compromising the work too much. If it happens, fine, but if that luck does not come, I say don't sweat it as long as your needs are being met with books, and newspapers you have helped create.
I share my love of books with my blog readers when my enthusiasm knows no bounds. I used to take my kids to the libraries all the time with me and they would check out their five or six books along with my own. I didn't have to coax them. They insisted on it. One of my favorite memories is of my son Dan about five talking to another kid outside the library who was about six who was a dinosaur book lover just as he was. They were discussing various dinosaurs. It was hilarious. Eventually they all became quite the readers. My oldest son Gary said that after he watched all the foreign movies in Blockbuster he started going to Barnes and Noble and buying books.
I think enthusiastic bloggers just naturally love to write, so they are following their bliss as Joseph Campbell says. And sometimes their enthusiasm is catching. I don't try to read more blogs than I comfortably can. If I stay on the Internet too long not only my eyes suffer but so do my legs from being bent and on the floor too long. I accept my limitations not only in reading but therefore in becoming famous. If you are living a balanced life you may not need to become famous. That might not even be what is best for you! If it comes about without too much stress and strain, fine, but I think striving for balance is for health. If we get out of balance with our endeavors it may be at our peril.
So I try to be a good friend to a few rather than a not so good friend to many more. And hope my limitations will be recognized and not held against me!

My friend Connie sent me the beautiful header above after I said that my favorite flower was the lilac.


Anonymous said...

There has been a decline in the -printed, ink on your hands newspaper, but the young people I know read the newspapers online more than ever. ~Mary

Have Myelin? said...

I admit to being a paper addict...I love holding paper in my hand. I prefer to read my novels.

But for news, I turn to the internet because it is more up to date.

When I was a kid, we went to the library all the time. I loved it. I checked out the max. number of books allowed and read every one of them!

LaRena said...

You didn't mention the newspaper Half and Half that I believe you and Linda started in L.A. It held up pretty well with news, jokes and cartoons. Sadly it too declined through the years. I quit reading the Ariz. republic when they went to ink that not only got on your hands, but clothes and furniture also. Robert still buys the Sunday paper but I hardly go near it. The internet is better for me too.


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