Yeah, I know, every day you hear about some new thing you need to read, do, participate in--and you're already overcommitted and tired of input. Everyone tells me this, and I hear myself say it too--"too much input--enough, already!" But I've been thinking about this whole matter, and I think we're tired of the wrong input.
Bad news is a lot of what we hear from the media, because "if it bleeds, it leads" as we all know. So you'll have to make a conscious choice to open your ears and eyes to the world of positive news, and the ever-growing list of books and blogs and other media that are trying to make a positive difference.
Okay, I hear you--that's just one more thing I'd have to do, you're saying, and I'm tired...I'm overwhelmed, I've heard enough, I've had it. But you know as well as I do that good news is always a turn-on, new mail is always a possibility, the ringing phone is always the call that might be the one call that changes everything. Think of the media in all its myriad forms as a friend who can recommend a great book or film, or who can give you the right advice at the right time.
I highly recommend "Ode" magazine--I always put it down thinking that the world is a better place than when I picked it up. They have a great online community and this page of their site has only good news--you can even sign up to get "good news emails daily". What could be better?
I also love ArtsJournal, which you can check out at their site, or sign up to get daily in your inbox as I do--a great way to start the day. Cool arts videos, stories, and links to propel you into the day, thinking that if that many artists are doing that many cool pieces, performances, and projects, then there's hope for us all.
If you just need a lift, check out this site, THXTHXTHX, an ongoing projects about thank you's for all of life's little unnoticed wonders...or go to YouTube and type in "puppies", and see if you don't smile.
Or, if you insist on intelligent world-changing though-provoking stuff, read Seth Godin's blog here (I loved the latest column I read, on "elites") or read Jon Carrol's always enjoyable column on SFGate.
Lastly, rather than picking up the latest mass-market paperback by some Rich Author who was once cutting-edge and is now cranking out Formulaic Follow-ups, set yourself the goal of finding a book you haven't heard of--that isn't stacked in piles right inside your nearest booksellers windows. Try GoodReads to hear from "real people" about what they are reading, or visit RedRoom (where you can read and write!).
I've been reading books as a judge for the San Diego Book Awards, and I've been impressed, as always, by how much good stuff is written each year that never gets written about or reviewed in the big media outlets--some of it barely gets published...
So take the time (sometime soon) to simply browse in your local library, or in your favorite bookstore, and find a book by someone who is new to you--if, in doubt, try asking the bookseller or librarian what they'd recommend. Or try one of the books in my "recently read and recommended" list on this blog.
You'll be glad you did.