Thursday, March 22, 2007

Media Anxiety - more already?

Been thinking some more about the whole media anxiety thing. (here and here).

I think my media anxiety comes from a desire to be in the know about too many things. I want to read as much as possible, I want to be up to date with the best in movies, TV and other media. And not having a 36 hour day to do this means I'm always playing catch up.
Certainly some of it comes from working at Nostalgia & Comics. From the early days it's always been a place where we were all immersed in far too much media and proud of it.
The situation certainly wasn't helped by being like a kid in a candyshop and loving it. All of those books and comics to read! Like many other people in similar jobs where knowledge of the stock should be of paramount importance, knowing what was happening in the wide world of comics became very important. Unfortunately sometimes you just haven't got the time to keep up to date.
And therein lies the media anxiety. That vast chasm between what you think you should know and what you have time to find out.

The turning point for me strangely enough came from my childhood and my dad's attitude towards books. He's always been a voracious reader but never really a buyer of books. He just uses the library an awful lot.

Thinking about this a few years ago when I was in the financial position to spend more money on books and other stuff I realised that I was just buying the books to have on the shelves, rather than actually loving reading them. The sheer weight of numbers on the shelves unread made me guilty at not having the time to read more.

The solution crept up until it became a defining life skill.
Why do you need to own all this stuff?
Think about it? How many books do you really want to own? What's the point of owning a book, reading it once and then shelving it. Are you ever going to read it again? Bear in mind on answering this last question that every single weeks they release more new books than you can possibly read in a year. If you spend your valuable reading time re-reading something, isn't it possible that you're denying yourself a new book, something that may be the greatest book you've ever read?

The same thinking, subtly altered, can be applied to pretty much everything else; dvds, TV, comics, graphic novels, music.

Minimal possessions eases the media anxiety worry. Acknowledging that there's no point getting more stuff when you haven't time to get through the stuff you already have.
Hence the book buying ban until I finally get through all the great unread books sitting on the shelf. By which time all the great books I've been told about will be available at the library.
Join one of the ever cheaper dvd rental clubs; you'll be amazed by how many films you're happy just watching once and not owning there are.
Graphic Novels was a difficult one when I moved up to Pocklington, since I felt completely cut off from the medium I loved. Luckily for me, getting the review gig through Propaganda at the FPI blog has eased that problem. And having friends and colleagues ready to supply new suggestions for stuff to read helps as well.
Music is the big sticking point though: I'm still gripped by the big fear of missing out on great new music. Although in this case what you need is a good circle of interesting and varied friends with vastly different tastes to guide, suggest and recommend stuff to you.
But I always feel like there's too much to discover and there'll never be enough money to buy everything I could possibly want to!

It works for me.
Of course it did lead to the joke going around Nostalgia & Comics that one day Louise would come home to an empty house, completely white rooms and me with a beautific smile, confident in the knowledge that I'd minimised our lives completely.

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