Alice Adams talks about the books that have influenced her life. Why Does Anyone Write? “I didn’t set out to be a writer. As a child, being a novelist seemed like the most exalted possible career but it was like wanting to be a movie star, a wildly unrealistic dream.” I can relate to wanting to be a writer, but not to wanting to be a movie star. Luckily, I didn’t know how hard writing actually was, so I held onto that dream until I was almost too old to do anything about it.

If you claim that you don’t watch TV, you’re either an asshole or a liar, according to this article by Alissa Walker: Everyone Is Lying About Not Watching TV You can decide for yourself which one I am, because I don’t watch TV. And I don’t “cheat” by watching streaming programs on the internet. Granted, the title is meant to be provocative, but it does seem to be true that there’s a non-TV-watching segment of the population that seems to think it’s a mark of intelligence, or sophistication, or whatever, to let people know that they don’t watch. And apparently they never miss an opportunity to let the crass enthusiasts know, not only that they didn’t watch the latest episode of whatever, but that they don’t watch TV at all.

I’ve always had a problem with television, even back when there were a few shows here and there that I enjoyed. But by the time analog was ploughed under by digital, I hardly ever turned the set on. Despite all the media concentration on the cultural significance of certain shows, I see TV as basically a substitute for everything else that people used to do, like hobbies, travel, even creative projects. It’s a time filler, and pretty much of an addiction for people too tired out by pointless jobs to dredge up the energy for “free time” pursuits.

For SF aficionados: Systems fiction: a novel way to think about the present. Quirks of the human animal and the systems that it invents are two of my favorite concerns. Never been much interested in space opera or alien encounters. Still, when I looked up some of the books recommended as involving exploration into systems, none of them seemed very interesting. I started reading Kim Stanley Robinson Red Mars years ago, but dropped it out of sheer boredom. It’s all very well to write about systems, but not to forget that they include human beings. So-called hard SF tends to forget about the characters in its fascination with the technical details.


10 thoughts on “Linky

  1. Re: TV. I didn’t watch much as a kid, which put me at odds with all my peers–no Sat. a.m. cartoons, no I Love Lucy, or Gunsmoke, or anything else I didn’t know existed at the time. And I wore it as a badge of honor bestowed on me my by intellectual, slightly nerdy parents.

    Now it’s a different story. I still don’t watch just to watch. But I do enjoy unwinding at the end of a day with a well-written show. To me, it’s an experience that’s similar to reading a good book. I want well-drawn believable characters doing interesting things and drawing me into the story. I think the last ten or fifteen years has seen an amazing proliferation of truly great TV, from “The Sopranos” to “Orange Is the New Black.” Is it a waste of time? Probably. Could I be doing something more productive with the hour or so I spend watching? Most likely. Do I enjoy it? Most definitely. And I sometimes even learn something about pacing, plot, or characterization that I can apply in my writing (or so I tell myself :-)).

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    1. For me, the experience of watcing TV or even a movie, is very different from reading a book. Maybe that’s because I grew up reading, and TV didn’t come to our house until I was in junior or senior high school. Neither TV nor movies give you time to absorb what you’re seeing, just sweep over you, and whatever effect they have is primarily emotional. I’ve had so many series recommended to me, but they rarely hooked me. I’m looking forward to buying Wolf Hall, but that’s about it right now. I’ve been a movie lover ever since DVDs came along, since I could repeat the visual treats as many times as I wanted to, but I hardly watch them at all anymore.

      1. Reading vs. viewing are vastly different experiences. I enjoy both! I only hope we are not raising generations who can’t enjoy reading, which I do think may be the case. Sigh.

  2. By the time we watch TV in the evening – streaming – I am completely tapped out of energy, most of which I hope was expended writing or doing something related to writing.

    It’s something we do, the spouse and I – and talk about as we watch. He’s down in his office, I up in mine most of the day, so it gives us something to ‘do’ together, since I can’t actually ‘do’ much of anything.

    We’re picky about what we watch – it could be a movie, or a show we follow, or trying out a new one – but have production standards and tolerance for bs that we use to decide what’s worth our time. And I can lie in extension during large parts of it, and give my spine a rest. I do a number of small exercises, too, which otherwise would take more useful time.

    It works for us – I’d rather have the energy to read, but I don’t. I’d go battier without it. I’m batty enough already, thank you.

    1. I hope I didn’t come across as condemning TV wholesale. There are series I’ve enjoyed in the past, and some that I’d like to buy (as opposed to being trapped into a schedule, and having to wait, sometimes, from one year to the next, for the continuation. Most of TV is pretty poor quality, but it was essentially the ads and the dragging out from week to week, season to season that turned me completely off it.

      1. You can condemn TV wholesale if you like – I like the streaming, so we can afford to take some time to do this.

        A different couple might go out to dinner a couple of times a week, and see a movie – I can’t. Hubby doesn’t care, and this works for us. It won’t for everyone, nor will skipping TV.

        I’m constantly irritated by ‘this is my way, the one TRUE way, and you will do this or be a total idiot/apostate/renegade/outlaw (okay – all that within reason!). It makes better headlines and click-bait – and always misses the wings on the distribution, where I always live.

        It gets tiring, then you learn to just ignore it.

        The late great Erma Bombeck puts it best: “‘One size fits all’ is an incomplete sentence.”

        I like reading about what choices other people make – but I’m old enough to mostly keep to the ones I’ve made out of what I’ve been left by Life.

        That innocuous statement will STILL bother someone.

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