I've Never Been Afraid to Speak ... Before

Hard to believe, but public speaking is still the #1 fear of American adults. Twenty-five percent still list this as their biggest fear – greater than their fear of heights, bugs, snakes, drowning, blood, needles, claustrophobia and flying. As one who has taught public speaking and done a lot of it herself, I can only conclude that people afraid of public speaking might overcome that fear simply by engaging in some good instruction and coaching.

But that’s not the kind of “speaking” to which I’m referring today.

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Watch TV and Count your Blessings!

Boy, it feels good to watch TV these days! I know, I know – I’ve recently trounced TV programming for offering little uplifting entertainment, as it did in a bygone era. And last August I boldly reported (perhaps “complained”?) that I’d watched 250 commercials in seven hours of television viewing (which was true). I noted that NBC Nightly News aired 34 different product commercials in 30 minutes of programming! In that same article I also reported that, according to my data, 15% of commercial spots are sponsored by pharmaceuticals, which seemed a much smaller percentage than I’d expected.

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A Quiet Sanctuary in a World Gone Bonkers

Drowning in words, overwhelmed by thoughtless tweets and angry posts, consumed by conjecture that spins out of control as the day unwinds, deafened by TV “news reporters” who no longer even try to differentiate between hard truth, allegations, guesses and opinions… That’s communication today. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk… Say, tell, opine, assert, claim, blather… Not much time for listening. Not much interest in reflection. Noise.

How amazing, then, to be plunged into the world of communication by touch. Tactile talk. Messaging via proximity. Shoulder to shoulder, cheek to cheek, arm in arm, chest to chest – hugging!

That’s right, communication by hug!

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Take Refuge in a Book

Retreat from the crush of communication.

Take refuge in a book. That’s the best I can offer, and I offer it with confidence that it is, indeed, the best advice you’re going to get today!

I’ve been wounded (perhaps not mortally) by the use of language over the past year to bully and frighten, cudgel and cajole the great unthinking masses. And it continues, as if neither the losers nor the winners can be satisfied with the results. It is hard to bear.

Now for the good news: I have borne it with the help of one of North America’s most fabulous novelists. She’s a Canadian, not an American, which is grimly humorous in a time when so many Americans have been talking idly of defecting to Canada. This amazing author launched her series of intelligent, highly literary, compellingly sensual and intriguing mysteries in 2005. It’s called the Inspector Gamache series, and it includes, counting the masterpiece released in September of this year, 13 novels. Today I’m going to tell you a little about this author and this series. If you’re still casting about for a harmless, temporary escape from the madness that has been America in 2016 (and nothing in a bottle seems to be a good option), here is your antidote.

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Election 2016: Take Two

Where do we go from here?

When I wrote “The Election: Who Stands to Lose the Most?” last week, after agonizing about it for quite some time, I really expected people to voice their opinions, share their perspectives, post some comments of one sort or another. Frank Robinson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, posted a most substantive comment (and the only one), building on the case I had made and further explaining it from a psychological point of view. (The comment is there; you can still read it.) So I did get a response – just not a public one. And, you know what? It wasn’t the response I expected

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The Election: Who Stands to Lose the Most?

 

How communication has failed us 

I’ve agonized a long while over writing this article, for two good reasons: I’ve committed not to allow politics into this space, and this is a weighty topic, requiring research on my part and a real commitment to understanding on the part of my readers. What finally drove me to take on the task was actual fear that, due to the way humans quite naturally make and defend their decisions, our country might be torn apart or at least face an ugly, painful period of violence and dissension. And there’s more: I suddenly realized that the outcome of this election is going to allow both candidates to win – and possibly all of us to lose.

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Can We Have Too Much Communication?

I suggested this a few days ago, and so I feel obligated (and enthusiastically so) to return to that assertion to expand and clarify. So, can we have too much communication? You know, we probably can’t. Human communication probably cannot ever be excessive, but that assumes that communication is actually taking place. And I think the “exchange” and the “streaming” far exceed the sum total of actual communication. Permit me to explain.

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This Batcher is Streaming

"To Stream or to Batch" - a response

Responding to our guest post of a few days ago (“To Stream or to Batch”), I hate to say this, but might this streaming and batching stuff be “generational”? (Why does that always feel uncomfortable, as if the real meaning is “You’re just too old”?) I do admit, though, that my generation couldn’t possibly have streamed communication as young people do today. Consider, for example, how children, teens and college students used to communicate with each other in perfect batches. (Warning: If you’re a millennial, this might frighten you.)

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