I am a survivor. I lived for four years with only one, gasp, television channel. That was growing up on a military base in Germany in the 80’s. Cartoons in the morning, followed by talk shows, Guiding Light, General Hospital, more talk shows, Jeopardy, and military news. At 6 o’clock was an hour of CNN, which we’d watch from the table over good ol’ fashioned home cooking and canned peas. The news meant something too us and became a family bond. German Disco bombed. Military families losing their lives in the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. Cold war alive and well next door. At any given time, we could become the news.
After moving to small town, South Dakota, the news played a different role in my life. It was essential to success in High School Debate. My team scoured new print articles, pre-internet, to stay abreast of the health care reform debates and tensions in Israel.
It was after the advent of 24 hour news channels that I gave up. Although, I did attempt to sit through a news show the other day hoping to understand the different plans for budget reform. I lasted 30 minutes…after flipping through several news channels. Maybe I tuned in at the wrong time, but it seems that clear facts are no longer relevant in news reporting. I heard experts give their opinions. I heard predictions for the future. But what the actual plans of attack were… I still have no clue.
It isn’t just in the news media where I find a lack of concision. Political campaigns infuriate me. Try as I might to listen to the speeches and debates, I’m constantly searching for a straight forward plan of action. “The health care system needs overhauled,” one candidate will say. Houston, we have a problem. Now, can you outline, in concise language, what your plan is to fix it? All the while, the opponent is pointing out the problems with “the plan”. But I can never find what that exact plan is. Baffling me with bullshit is simply not enough. It isn’t that I can’t wade through the smoke screens. I’m capable, but how many hours do I have to struggle to get straight answers? Furthermore, the more I have to search, the more suspicious I become. Just how bad is this plan if they have to keep it spinning?
Overabundance of information has diluted the facts and drowned us in a sea of opinions. I am always grasping for concision.
Concise. That’s how I like my writing as well. Clean story with no superfluous description. I dated a man who was obsessed with Jane Austen and prodded me to read, “Pride and Prejudice”. Or was it “Sense and Sensibility“? I”m not sure but I never finished the book. Pages of description that provided no more to the story than just flowery prose. In reality, long passages of description were necessary to readers of the past. You know, the one’s who couldn’t type English Country Garden into Google for quick picture? Books truly took readers to somewhere they may never have the chance to visit.
Writing in the 21st century has different meaning because it plays to an informational-ly overwhelmed society. Don’t tell me about the Mojave desert. Google images can do that. Instead, the description one writes has to mean something. And it has to be meaning with concision because we are burnt out on spin that drabbles on. A clearly written story cuts through the fog with a sword of honesty. It respects the reader enough to give facts and allows them to draw their own conclusions.
Thus, my challenge. Itsy’s story is told though dialogue with extraneous information found in description. Clean. Clear. Concise. I will leave the spin to ballerina’s, news media, and politicians. I’m just here to tell a story.