A Writer’s Admission: Television Addict

I won’t dispute television is a time leech. Growing up as part of the television generation, I consider the days with only three channels nostalgic. The Beard and I gave up live television six or seven years ago. Yes, we are THOSE people.

Our choice arose from the inane and often misogynistic programs on Nickelodeon and Disney channels. Well, deciding to cut the cord was also fueled by the recognition of the episodes of those programs we developed. It became apparent the kids watched the same episodes over and over and over. Often enough, that The Beard and I had grown familiar with the content through casual, walking through the room contact.

I feared the end more than the Beard. The child of the latch key generation, I considered television to be an intimate friend. To be fair, cartoons only aired from six a.m. to ten a.m. on Saturdays and from four to five thirty in the afternoon’s weekdays. Saturdays found me laying on my tummy still in pajamas with a bowl of cereal while the glow of the television bathed my face. I heard with a pang on NPR about the official demise of Saturday morning cartoons.

race bannonThe Hanna Barbera list from the 60’s forward is a fixture of my entire childhood. I’m not ashamed to admit my first crush was on Race Bannon, the super sexy, judo chopping bad ass from Johnny Quest. I fondly miss the Godzilla Power Hour. Who could forget Jana of the Jungle? Sp…Spee….Speed Buggy? Or how about Sid and Marty Krofft? Krofft Supershow? Sigmund and the Sea Monsters? Oh goodness, how about the Tarzan/Zorro hour? S A T U R D A Y Bay City Rollers Morning Show?

I told you I watched a lot of television. I haven’t even discussed afternoon programs. Don’t get me started on movies…film buff anyone? To be fair, I read a lot too. Those first couple of years were a struggle. Not for the kids, they made like MacGyver and found whatever they desired on the Internet. We employed Netflix…you know when you actually received the disk in the mail. I binged a few things in that format.

Now we have digital downloads, instant video, and streaming! Seriously, more programs are available now than when we had it wired. I should mention my super power. It’s an evil power. I can end any show I enjoy watching. Not joking. Firefly? Life? Longmire? The list goes on. If I love it, the network will kill it. I like to think it’s because I enjoy intelligent, atypical, challenging fare, which doesn’t often play to wide audiences.

I’ve made solemn promises to friends not to watch shows until they are well and truly over. Fringe….made it to the series finale. For the record, I’m trying to kill Bones. Don’t get me wrong, I adore David Boreanaz. How hot is he…still? But the show has jumped the shark a bit. Oh, I’ve also become addicted to CW’s The 100. Total television crack, a complete hodge podge of stolen Scifi tropes that I CAN’T QUIT WATCHING. It’ll die.

Generally, a big rule of writing is ‘Turn off the TV and write’. I consider the rule more of a guideline. I like to have my brain occupied while part of my brain produces. My classroom was never totally quiet. If students worked, music filled the background. Most days, I have music or something streaming. It’s particularly helpful if I don’t have to pay too much attention.

I don’t mind silence. Halloween night the Beard fought for some music, but I said, “What’s wrong with the silence for crying out loud?” For the record, I’m writing this blog in complete silence.

Noise keeps the sludge in my head occupied so my creative genius can get humming. Also, there’s a lot to be learned about pacing from both television and books. You can’t write if you don’t read and I’ll say it, watch TV. Clair Forrest writes a much more detailed article about learning about writing from television.

I know on the occasions the boys come home, they’re thinking, “She’s just sitting around watching TV.” What they don’t know, is I’ve done five loads of laundry, picked up dog pooh, cleaned the kitchen, killed two chapters and three blog posts AND watched TV. That was just today’s list.

Don’t get me wrong, when Son 2 asked me yesterday what I did, I had a moment’s thought I hadn’t done much of anything. I felt like a total loser. Once I told him all I’d done, he said, “Wow, you had a productive day.” You know what? I did. And I’ll have another one today. Sure, I’ve let The Twilight Saga: New Moon play in the background. I even fast forwarded through the boring, whiny parts, but when Son 2 asks what I did today….I’ll skip the self-doubt and simply feel accomplished.