Extra, Extra, Read All About It–Lessons From Your Daily Newspaper

I’ll confess, I rarely find time to read the newspaper.  This shames me to admit it, so I’ll quickly add that I do read stories online every day.  On my iGoogle homepage, I get the highlights from the New York Times, the Washington PostThe Huffington Post Blog Feed, BBC, and Time Magazine.  However when I take the time to actually read the Washington Post section by section, I’m always amazed at what I find on those pages that scanning online headlines didn’t give me.

I knew how horrifying the recent swath of tornadoes were for people in Alabama and beyond, but reading this story put a human face on that disaster for me.  Two families, connected by the excesses of Mother Nature, one in Alabama, one in Tennessee.  The Tennessee family finds a pay stub brought to their home by the winds, the Alabama family, to whom it belonged, is contacted.  The Tennessee family, which has so little in the way of resources, finds it cannot let go of what’s happened to these strangers so far away.  The story’s about the best within us, and the way we sometimes reach out in the most personal of ways.  I was mesmerized and happy to be human.  Read it.  You will be, as well. 

Then there’s the atheist who’s planning to capitalize on the Rapture (coming to a town near you on May 21st) by signing contracts with those religious folk  who believe they will be among the  “raptured” and are worried about the pets they’ll leave behind.  Said atheist, Bart Centre, promises that for a fee paid up front (because hard cash will likely be scarce in the Great Beyond) his caregivers, who must be atheists themselves–lest they be raptured too–will  find homes for the pets when the owners disappear in a flash. 

And no, I am not making this up.

And here’s a little snippet from an article about sunscreen protection.  “She (refers to Olga Naidenko, a senior scientist at Environmental Working Group) adds that since the Food and Drug Administration has yet to finalize sunscreen regulations (a process underway since 1978), manufacturers are not required to show that their products work or to substantiate claims about them.”  1978?  Somebody’s joking, right?  In 33 years they can’t finalize sunscreen regulations?  Who knew even the government could be that inefficient?

I spoke about my writing career yesterday and as always, I was asked where my ideas come from.   One morning with my favorite newspaper is all it takes, folks.  And I haven’t even mentioned the obituaries. . .  Stay tuned.

I’ll be away from home for the next two weeks, but I’ll continue to blog.  Next Friday I’ll tell you what a week of brainstorming with fellow writers, this time in Cleveland, OH, has taught me about the book in progress and writing in general.  At least, that’s the plan.

On a separate note?  Don’t forget to send a pie recipe, story, reminiscence, etc. to enter the Great Pie Giveaway.  More details on my contest page or here.


  1. Liz V. on May 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Retired, I no longer read newspapers as I should–more time but less access. Your blog, however, put in mind the retired Am-Brit in Helen MacInnes’ Ride A Pale Horse, who always read the fine print in newspapers.

Leave a Comment