By David Nemeth
A few months ago, J. David Osborne, writer and publisher of Broken River Books, posted a photograph of a dog side-eyeing the viewer. Osborne wrote, “When writers only seem to talk about all the TV they’ve watching”. How true. My social media feeds are filled news and views about the latest premium cable series or any of the numerous Netflix series and movies. And things do get heated from time to time. We all lost loved ones during the great Baby Driver Facebook War this summer.
I’m not one of those TV haters. I’m probably as guilty if not more so than some of you. The comfort of grabbing the remote and tuning out is far too easy compared to the physical and mental difficulties of opening of a book. Take a look at your Netflix history. If it is anything like mine and you’ll probably be disgusted. My history had some good shows but there were too many hours spent watching TV from Parks and Recreation to Rectify, from Friends to Shameless, and from The Handmaid’s Tale to New Girl. As I said, I’m as guilty as you are.
I know that reading is a habit thing for me. I get into a groove and I’m able to knock out books as well as reviews, sometimes up to four a week. But when life decides to significantly disrupt my daily routine, it may take weeks if not months to get back into my reading form.
I wondered if there was a trick or two that might help, so I went over to watch some TED Talks because that’s where all problems are solved in 15 minutes or less. But the first thing time management guru Laura Vanderkam said was that there are no tricks to beat time. This was disappointing news.
In her 2016 TED Talk, Vanderkam tells the story of a successful person whose water heater breaks and she ends up spending seven hours in one week working through this issue. Tragic, I know. Vanderkam recommends that we treat all “our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater” by focusing on our “three-category priority list: career, relationships, self.” Have I spent the 15 minutes to do this yet? Hell no, remember I was looking for tricks, not actual work. But I got the point, the time is there if I want to use it.
Most, if not all of us, do have time to read. It’s a choice we make not to read. The glowing TV eye is all too powerful, but maybe tonight I’ll just open up a goddamn book and read. But first I have some things to watch that y’all been recommending: Ozark, Mindhunter, The Deuce, Narcos, and Stranger Things 2.