I needed a media fast. I posted it on my Facebook page:
Hey folks, for anyone who might happen to care, I’ve decided to go on a FULL media fast for about a month. As an author in the digital age, I’ve been told I must be “connected.” I’ve created a blog and this FB page, I even go on Twitter and Instagram every so often. Being so connected may be good for me as an author, but with all this exposure to media comes things that are not good for me…as a person.
Because I’m not a faceless name on the internet. After what happened to those nine innocent people in Charleston, I’m exhausted. It was different because of how people reacted to our own history. No other event seems to have brought out so many unsympathetic people. The Chattanooga massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing, Sandy Hook, the Aurora theater shooting, etc…we all seem to grieve collectively for those. But somehow it was different for the AME Nine. And while the hype has died down, articles still crop up and I just flat out need a break.
I need a break from cynicism. I need a break from bullies. I need a break from people who don’t think words matter. I need a break from people who passively censor the ugly parts of southern history, because they don’t want to FEEL. I need a break from selfishness.
Go ahead and respond to my post if you want. Whatever it is you want to say, whether for or against, I won’t respond till I’m ready. God bless.
So now it’s been a month. While I didn’t engage in media viewing or reading, it’s still difficult to wholly avoid. But some positives came from the experience. Sometimes you have have to step out of the forest so you can stop focusing on the trees. 🙂
1. The Confederate Battle Flag still looks like a symbol of bigotry and oppression.
Especially when it’s a HUGE one flying down the road on the back of an over-sized pick-up. Preoccupied with size much? At least I got a month break from the people who shout “heritage, not hate” or “the Civil War was not about slavery.” They are the mindless drones who have never bothered to read Mississippi’s Declaration of Causes of Secession, among the other Southern States declarations of the time. Apparently, they prefer the fairy-tale version of history which omits lynchings, beatings, and ripping people from families.
*Shakes head sadly*
2. Donald Trump still looks likes a narcissistic bully.
Seriously? Where does this guy stand on actual issues? As of this published post, the only position he talks about on his political website is immigration. So if he becomes president, then American government can completely decay, education can continue to plummet, and our budget can do whatever it wants. But that’s okay, because we’ve eliminated all the illegal immigrants…one way or another.
I know the election is over a year away, but it disturbs me to see how he still has such a strong following. I haven’t yet figured out why people can’t see through him. But I’ve never been able to quite see how the German people couldn’t see through Hitler either.
I wish more people would go on a media fast. Trump’s pot of water is slowly heating up and the frogs are oblivious to their predicament.
3. Hillary Clinton’s comment about how religion needs to change is still foreboding.
Why in the world would she say that? What happened to freedom of religion? Should I prepare to channel my ancestral heritage and plan a pilgrimage to a land where I won’t be told how I should believe in my God? She’s as bad as the news outlets who tell me what I need to think.
Which leads me to my last point…
4. It finally clicked in my head that PBS is likely where I should get my news.
Part of my struggle to see the forest for the trees was caused by the frustration of being told what to think. I hate that. I’m not stupid. I don’t like feeling like a drone. I can draw my own conclusions, thank you very much.
PBS is not glamorous or sensational, so I’m sorry to say I overlooked it in my struggle to draw my own conclusions from biased media. On a smaller scale, I think PBS will help me continue my media fast. No more CNN-or FOX-like hypnotism.
Okay, so the only positive is the thing with PBS. But to me, that’s a big positive. I liked my month of not being fed opinions. A big part of me really doesn’t want to even get back to Facebook, but now that I’ve had a break, I should be able to just skip the things I don’t want to see. That’s an even bigger positive. 😀
Have you ever had to go on a media fast? Does the tabloid-like setting of our society exhaust you? How do you deal with it? Are you a media drone? How do you deal with being a drone?
Charlie doesn’t sleep well. We’re in the process of an investigative sleep study to find out why his brain isn’t telling him to breathe properly when he sleeps. Needless to say, he doesn’t usually get a good night’s sleep, resulting in some rather humorous behavior. There are obviously many negatives to this, but let’s not go there today.
Dictionary.com defines a space cadet as “apersonwhoappearstobeinhisorherownworldoroutoftouch withreality.” Urban Dictionary says this kind of person is “easily lost in reverie” and “does not respond when directly spoken to.” Here’s how Charlie measures up.
In His Own World
I did the ice bucket challenge and had my boys dump the ice water on me – to William’s everlasting enjoyment. I still can’t figure out what Charlie was thinking when I was about to say “GO!” William was poised and ready with his bucket, but Charlie picked his up and started to wander off with it. You would think that the chance to dump ice water on Mommy would grab his attention.
Out of Touch With Reality
Charlie doesn’t seem to possess a concept of time. Yesterday when I picked him up from preschool (a seven minute drive from our house), we hadn’t yet left the parking lot when he asked that quintessential phrase of kid-dom, “Are we there yet?”
Sorry kid, my teleporter is in the shop.
Easily Lost in a Reverie
Charlie will listen to a skip in a CD for a good five minutes – at least. Sometimes my car’s CD player will finally clear it, and then he’ll ask for me to make it do it again. What is going through that funny head of his when all hears is “prac-prac-prac-prac…?” If William is in the car, he humors his brother for a while but eventually asks me to go past the skip.
Does Not Respond When Directly Spoken To
I think any kid has trouble with this. But an example of our usual scenario is:
Charlie plays with the refrigerator magnets. Daddy says, “Charlie we’re going to the toy store!” Charlie still plays with the magnets. “Charlie get your shoes!” Charlie continues playing. “Charlie, we’re going to the toy store!” Charlie continues playing. Daddy moves the magnets out of reach. “Charlie, we’re going to the toy store!”
Charlie finally says, “Oh! I LOVE the toy store!”
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have a kid who’s a space cadet? Does he or she fit the definition? Or do they create a new definition of the word? What funny things do you do when you don’t get enough sleep?
Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in an Orwellian novel. Seriously. Every few years, people are continually grieving for the senseless loss of a loved one. We see how it could have been prevented, but no one seems able to stop it. We know that mental illness and guns don’t mix… why hasn’t America been able to move forward?
My nephew (through my hubby) is a student at UCSB. He lives in the neighborhood (just a few blocks from) where the recent attack happened. One of the students killed had been his roommate last year. Needless to say, my nephew is quite shaken.
For those who whine about their 2nd Amendment rights…
So I majored in English Literature, not political science or even history. But I’m still an American and this is how I see it:
When the founding fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment, they weren’t thinking about high-powered rifles, people who collect guns to engage in sports, or even a police force in every town. They were thinking of an American’s right to hunt for food and gather a militia if necessary. In that day, a local police department for the general protection of the people was not common, and there were no high-speed cars, helicopters, or even telephones to alert first-responders and bring them in a timely manner.
And they certainly weren’t thinking about massacres carried out by a single, crazed gunman.
Seriously. Think about it.
Do you think if the people creating these massacres had the flintlock-style gun, that they’d be able to kill more than one or two (if they’re incredibly lucky) people? It’s a lot easier to run away from someone with one shot at a time, than someone armed to the teeth with legally obtained, modern weaponry.
I totally respect the 2nd Amendment. I don’t think taking guns away from people is the answer at all. But you know what else the founding fathers said? They also said that we have the right tolife, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can we pursue happiness if our government can’t keep those who are insane from getting their hands on a ridiculous amount of weapons and ammo? As Americans, we are given the opportunity to pursue an education, an opportunity which is not afforded in many parts of the world. Quite a lot of these shootings seem to happen in schools, thus denying the rights that our founding fathers intended for us.
Seems simple to me.
If you were one of the movie goers in Aurora, CO and you had an arsenal to rival that gunman’s, what would have been the point? You wouldn’t have had it with you. You were there to simply watch a movie, not be literally ready for the zombie apocalypse.
Bad things happen. People do horrible things. We won’t always know why. But if it had been harder for these civilians to amass the amount of weapons they did, we might have seen lower numbers for dead and injured in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora,Sandy Hook, UCSB… and so many others.
The people who caused these atrocities were certainly not right in the head. They probably would have hurt and killed people anyway. But perhaps it didn’t have to be quite so intensely tragic.
So…I was gonna…
When I originally created this blog post, I had something here that my hubby pointed out was too over the top, and he was right. I sometimes tend to be a bit dramatic, so I’ve changed it.
The NRA are not terrorists. But I had tried to argue how it felt as if they were. So instead, I’ll explain why I reached that conclusion. It kind of falls in line with a theme in The Stone of Kings anyway.
Remember the morning of 9/11? It was a normal day, like any other. We went about our own business – pursuing our happiness. But suddenly our world was ripped apart by several unprovoked attacks by people who wanted to destroy us because we didn’t fall in line with their ideologies. They disagree with our way of life and so our lives are unimportant and (to them) worth losing.
Now think of the victims of these shooting sprees. They weren’t engaging in high risk behavior. They weren’t walking around the “wrong” end of town. They were going about their business – pursuing their happiness. Most of them were simply attending school. And then, in an unprovoked attack, their family’s worlds are ripped apart by something that could have been prevented.
Then in the midst of this latest grief, we see a mouthpiece like Joe the Plummer. He shows himself to be as unfeeling as Bin Laden was. Gun control doesn’t fall in line with his ideologies. Apparently, he doesn’t agree 100% with anything proposed, so those lives were unimportant and (to him) worth losing.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
The thing is, I don’t think that anyone should take his guns away from him.
For fifteen years, since Columbine, we’ve known that guns should not be in the hands of certain people with mental health issues. So why is it still legal for them to buy guns???
I’m a busy stay-at-home mom. I tried looking for where the NRA is helping to keep guns out of the hands of those with an at-risk diagnosis. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough – I am busy after all. All I found was a little blip in this article about how the “NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said federal resources are needed to ensure the mentally [ill] can be institutionalized, and therefore given no chance to buy a weapon.” But all I ever read about is how the NRA puts a stop to any solution proposed.
LaPierre’s words aren’t very comforting for grieving families.
Suppose our presidents had said, “Well, the people behind 9/11 should be stopped, but we can’t agree on how to do it, so we’re just going to leave it alone. But we’re sorry for the loss of American lives.”
I spent hours looking for answers since Thursday and really couldn’t find any. So I’m going to start calling around today to ask my politicians (both republican and democrat) about what the deal is. I’m getting tired of not being able to find the answers on my own.
If the NRA really want a solution, they need to propose something they can agree to. Institutionalization is not a necessity for many of these people. Not everyone with Asperger’s Syndrome, for example, needs to be institutionalized and I think it’s ridiculous to imply it. I also think it’s important to point out that Asperger’s (which is under the Autism spectrum) is NOT a mental illness. Despite the fact that two of these gunman were diagnosed with it, most people with the diagnosis do not show this kind of aggression.
To try to figure this out, I wrote the NRA the following letter. But because I’m not a member, I’m not a priority. I have no idea if they’ll get back to me at all (this letter was sent last Thursday), so if anyone else has an answer for me, I’d appreciate being pointed in another direction.
I’m an author and blogger, https://sheaford.wordpress.com/ My theme is being open-minded and fair. I happen to support the 2nd Amendment. But I feel that there need to be measures taken to keep guns away from those with mental disabilities, such as the ones committing the massacres such as Sandy Hook, UCSB, Aurora, CO, etc. I’m currently working on a blog post about this problem and how people like Joe the Plummer make the NRA look like a bunch of unfeeling terrorists who care nothing for slaughtered innocents.
I would really appreciate information about what the NRA proposes to do to help fix this problem. It seems to be in the best interests of the NRA to push for it, since the common denominator in these massacres is mental illness or poorly managed autism. It seems common sense to me to keep guns out of these kinds of hands. But every time I see a push for this kind of thing, the NRA seems to put a stop to it.
I’ll also be contacting my Congressman, Gus Bilirakis, about this issue.
Thank you for your time.
I’ve also contacted Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, but didn’t know at the time I wrote the NRA, that I should. I had a lousy Civics teacher in high school, which is probably one of the reasons I’m so frustrated. 😉
Solution #1 – Funnel NRA Money into Programs to Help Treat Mental Health Problems
This is my favorite solution because it seems to be a win-win to me. The NRA needs to put their money where their mouth is. They say they want it harder for those with mental health issues to get guns, so come on! Help the cause! Why can’t we use all this money for increased mental health screening and treatment? If someone is diagnosed with the kind of mental health issue that makes them at-risk for becoming one of these types of gunman, then they need to be cleared by a doctor before they are allowed to buy a gun.
It feels like these universal background checks are what is stalling everything. As much as I support the idea, maybe we just need to think smaller. Just check for a diagnosis that is of a kind like the people who commit these mass killings. All I’m concerned with at this point is keeping guns away from people who we know do not always think rationally. Just prevent the senseless massacres for a start. Then work from there.
Columbine happened fifteen years ago. Even though those kids bought their guns illegally, we knew then that mental illness and guns don’t mix. Why haven’t things changed?
Why isn’t this common sense? Or am I the one who is insane?
However, we also need to be careful that this doesn’t happen. How discouraging for parents who prevent their child from becoming a mass murderer, only to find that their child is not going to get the treatment that they truly need!
Solution #2 – A Watch List
If it continues that people are allowed to buy these kinds of weapons and armor, then they ought to be on a watch list. If that bothers you, then you are probably doing something illegal and need to be stopped anyway. If you’re not doing anything illegal, then why should it matter? Seriously? Isn’t it worth it so that you can send your six-year-old to school without being worried that he could be killed with his classmates and teachers?
Solution #3 – Secure the Excess Weapons
This one might be a stretch because of the cost. But it’s just a suggestion – an idea to be explored.
We are allowed to keep a gun for protection. Then, for those who have collections and shoot for sporting events and such, why can’t those guns be locked up in a secure location? Such as where the sporting events, or whatever, take place? If it’s inconvenient, well, at least you get to keep your guns. I’d rather you be inconvenienced than for me to grieve because one of my nieces or nephews wanted to attend college.
Not everyone is going to agree 100% with any solution proposed. But that’s to be expected. We’re human, not robots. We have to understand that not everyone is going to like everything about how we fix this broken part of our society. But I would hope that we can at least agree that it needs to be fixed. I strongly urge you to contact your local congressmen and let them know how you feel about this issue. I did.
And please don’t forget that the key word is COMPROMISE.
Do you agree with me? Do you have any solutions of your own? Why do you think we are having so much trouble compromising? Do you have any evidence that the NRA are doing more than talking and blocking? Please share!
This will be short, because I feel broadsided by life and gluten. But not to worry. To keep from being a Debbie Downer, I end this post with two positives.
Normally, I know that gluten causes my depressions and I can usually push though it. But after deaths of beloved grandmothers, our car being stolen, and now a beloved uncle – who I was looking forward to visiting with again – will quite likely never make it back to the States from England, I’ve been feeling like sludge, both physically and emotionally. I totally expected to be back into blogging again, but I can barely bring myself to work my edits for The Stone of Kings (which are now overdue). So please bear with me while I get through this mess which is currently my life.
I may just be that all I post for a while is Friday Fun, because I do have one lined up for this Friday. I thank the Lord for my boys because without their sweet hugs, smiley faces, and hilarious clowning, I’d be reduced to tears everyday. I’m so blessed to have them lift my spirits even just a little. 😀
For my second positive, I just discovered that the audio version of Harp Lessons has been released! It was quite surreal to hear a professional reader bring my words to life 😀 And I love the beautiful new cover!
Usually an “off-day” lasts a month and is caused by gluten. But that’s a given.
Other than that, “off-day” means Charlie doesn’t nap, yells through “quiet time,” and going to the Y is interrupted by too many of the silver sneakers crowd or a poopy diaper. Fortunately, these “off-days” don’t happen too often. But the implications from them are far greater.
When I can’t get writing in when I was planning to, quiet Jeckyll Mommy is in danger of becoming Hyde Mommy. Writing is my potion to keep Hyde Mommy at bay and sometimes that evil Hyde Mommy comes out unbidden because I wasn’t able to get the scenes in my head out onto my paper. When that happens, I’m reduced to trying to squeeze in words and ideas amid my boys playing in the livingroom. Every ten minutes or less, I’m interrupted because someone took someone else’s toy, or the other won’t stop tickling. I tend to enjoy dual timeouts because it gives me at least three minutes of uninterrupted thoughts (unless Charlie starts kicking the wall during his timeout). I do my best to be The Orange Rhino, and not yell at my boys, but on those “off-days” it’s super difficult. I’m also stricken with guilt that I’m busy trying to write instead of playing with them. Then there’s laundry to do, floors to be swept, toys that need tidying, and a gluten-free dinner to prepare (and hope William actually eats some of it).
By the time the boys are in bed, you’d think I’d use the blissful quiet to finally write the way I want to.
Tee hee. You’re funny.
I’m so exhausted from trying to write all day, that when I can finally do it, I end up vegging out on the couch until I’m ready to go to sleep instead.
I love having an epiphany, especially when it comes to writing. I love when research pulls my plot into a new direction or adds a dimension that I hadn’t thought of before. But I’ve actually wrote about those epiphanies many times on my blog. So instead, I’m going to write about one of my most important epiphanies which also directly affects my writing; gluten.
So I’m going along doing the mom thing, when a friend of mine suggests a smoothie recipe. I go out and stock up on wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed, frozen blueberries and yogurt. The first couple of weeks are like… POW! I was like a minivan with a turbo setting. That smoothie gave me so much energy, I didn’t get hungry till 2pm.
This was not the epiphany.
Then I felt miserable. Nausea, vomiting, cramping, extreme fatigue, etc. As if that wasn’t enough, my brain couldn’t seem to connect to my writing hand. I couldn’t remember things that had happened five minutes before.
This was obviously not the epiphany.
For a month, my GI “specialist” ran all kinds of tests trying to figure out my physical symptoms while I started seeing a psychologist for my mental symptoms. I was down to eating oatmeal and chicken noodle soup all day, everyday because I thought, at the time, that those were supposed to be the most gentle to the stomach. Then the specialist suggested that my problems were from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The translation for IBS is: “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Stop clogging up my appointment calendar. Here’s a pamphlet. Good luck.”
The pamphlet told me to look for my trigger foods. I was thinking “trigger foods” meant peanuts, strawberries, or chocolate. Then finally, another friend mentioned Celiac Disease. Wait…what? My grandma has that. She can’t eat wheat.
Cue the epiphany complete with a bright light, gust of wind, and full choir. “Ahh!”
It totally explained my symptoms including the bouts of lactose intolerance that would come and go for no rhyme or reason. Cutting gluten has been the best thing I have done for my body, and I wish I’d known to do it sooner. I certainly would have been a better student growing up. I’m so thankful to both those friends for pointing me in the right direction. 😀
There are over 200 symptoms of Celiac Disease, including everything from fibromyalgia to ADHD. If you would like more information please go to www.celiac.com.
This week I’m happy to introduce author E.A. West! Her book, Battlefield of the Heart, deals with the heartbreaking issue of PTSD, something that has touched too many families including my own. I’m sure we’re all in for a great read with this one!
What started out as a bit of research for a sociology paper quickly turns into much more than Cindy ever expected. But can she survive Danny’s PTSD long enough to form a relationship with him?
Cindy Waymire, a college senior in search for a topic for an upcoming sociology paper, finds more than a topic when she meets Army veteran and college freshman Danny Flynn outside the student union. An undeniable attraction to this troubled veteran leads her on a difficult and wind-ing path that brings her to a crossroads — get into a relationship with a man who has serious mental health problems or turn her back on one of the best men she’s ever met.
Can Cindy set her fears aside and follow her heart, or will the ghosts haunting Danny’s mind end their relationship before it begins?
A dark-haired guy with an athletic build, not more than an inch or two taller than her height of five foot nine, stood scanning the area as though he was lost. Clean-shaven, with just a hint of a five o’clock shadow along his jaw, he wore a T-shirt and jeans, both fitting just tight enough to hint at lean muscles. Cindy considered taking a candid photo and sending it to her girlfriends, but her cell phone was in her purse and digging it out would be too obvious. Maybe she could find another way to share this cutie with them.
His actions reminded her of her own during her first semester there. She’d had to ask someone where to find buildings so many times. Without those sympathetic upperclassmen, she would have been perpetually lost.
If he was a new student, that made her the sympathetic upperclassman. She stopped near him and smiled. “Hi, can I help you find someplace?”
He didn’t seem to hear her. She moved closer, thinking he might not realize she was talking to him. “Excuse me.”
He twisted and grabbed her wrist with startling speed. She screamed as he spun her around, bringing her arm behind her and forcing her to the ground as he said something unintelligible, but undeniably commanding. As he put a knee on her back and pulled her other arm, she heard people running toward them and prayed they could help. The guy was strong and no amount of struggling did any good. He just tightened his grasp on her wrists and applied more pressure with his knee, making it difficult for her to draw in a breath.
“Danny, let her up!” a male voice said as the running steps stopped beside them.
“He’s a threat.”
He? Before Cindy could figure out what the guy was talking about, she felt some of his weight lift from her back.
“She’s a noncombatant, Sarge,” a third male voice said.
The grip on her wrists loosened. “What?”
“You’re in the States, man.”
“Crap!” He released her wrists, and his weight lifted from her completely.
Battlefield of the Heart is available from many online retailers including:
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
Connect with E.A. West and learn more about her books in the following places:
Well, Kristen Lamb has done it again! She manages to post blogs that are exactly what I need to be reading at precisely the right time. The last one addressed the enemy of the art – a failure to focus. While I usually have trouble with this because of my busy little boys both under the age of 5, I have a double whammy lately because of my trouble with gluten.
For those who are not familiar with gluten, it is not to be confused with glucose and is anything made from wheat, barley, or rye. I tend to be more sensitive than some other people I know and the dust from Cheerios can make me sick for a month followed by 2 more weeks of insomnia. People with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease have varying symptoms (there are over 200 known). My personal symptoms are terrible cramping, profound exhaustion, constipation, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, and lack of focus.
This lack of focus brings me to the purpose of this post.
I’ve been able to avoid gluten for the last 4 months, but last Friday night, something in my kitchen “got me.” I usually give up writing for the most part while I’m “glutened” because it is so difficult. I feel as though there is cotton stuffed in my head. Sometimes I’ll be writing along and I have to make a conscious effort to stop my pen because my thoughts have completely strayed from what I’m doing.
Kristen has made me remember that any writing is better than none at all. So I’ll try something different this time. I usually spend about 30 minutes in the morning playing my 2 computer games, because it’s the only quiet time I get all day. However when I’m glutened, mornings are when my symptoms are at their lowest so I will take this time to write something, anything, instead.
My WIP is top priority. If I can’t focus enough to do my WIP, I’ll do a blog post. If I can’t seem to do that, then I’ll practice my free-association writing instead. To keep myself accountable, I’ll post my progress either in my following posts, or in the reply section of whatever my last post was.
I will apologize here for sloppiness and errors in my blog posts, especially in the next month. I try very much to catch them at all, but it’s harder when I’m under the influence of gluten.
By the way, the image of Twizzlers is because it’s the one thing I miss the most and haven’t yet found a gluten-free alternative. 😀
Do you have any real hindrances that keep you from achieving goals? How do you push through them?