Saturday, 22 August 2015

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

If Your Life Were a News Site...



If your life were a news website, what stories would it contain each day?

Perhaps the main story would change for each day. Perhaps: ‘Lack of sleep causes our hero to feel lousy’ would be today's headline.

There would also be other stories which recurred in the same way that the world news has recurring themes. ‘Still looking for work’, ‘Still grieving', 'Still sick'.

Then there would be the days that some disaster strikes. ‘Best friend dies’. Or ‘Car crash’ or ‘Serious illness strikes’. Stories which would rumble on for weeks and years and wounds re-opened and griefs which never heal. In the news of our days each and every day.

And you, the hero or heroine. A whole world of stories from small filler articles about headaches through to the quirky and strange incidents which can fill life.

Other characters recurring in the stories. And the persistent tyranny of bad headlines which will not go away. ‘Still looking for a miracle’. Stories so continual that we would bore of them and fail to read them and instead turn towards the better stories, or take an interest in someone else's personal news website.

There would be bad news and good news and mixtures of the two. Each day a whole new set of stories, with the regular columns, mixing fact and opinion. Comment and hard news. All kinds of stories for one reader. An audience of one it may seem.

And perhaps pictures too. And video. Things we play over in our minds again and again, things which make us cringe and things which make us happy. Working under the weight of guilt. Bad scenes, scenes of which we are not proud.

Maybe even there would be adverts in this news site. Maybe the adverts would be just right: ‘Would you like a holiday in Nova Scotia?’ ‘You need kitchen roll, stick to your usual brand’. Things we buy and sell, things we want to buy but can’t afford.

An intrusive pop-up reminding us that our lives are limited and mortal. A copyright disclaimer, ‘All rights reserved’ and thoughts about the rights and needs which we are denied. Or the rights which we assert. Or the right to be unique when there are so many of us.

When every person may have a similar website with similar sounding stories - even if they are in a different language and there is no Google translate available.

And when those other people shared their own websites there would be feature articles which they would be happy for you to read and there would be articles which they would never want you to read. And there would be hidden stories on pages which are unpublishable, archived pages, draft pages. Like the dark side of the moon.

Still the insistence of the rumbling recurring stories which cannot be ignored, which run and run and run with little editorial control. We could simply hope that one day such websites would be full of good news and that the stories of our problems would be settled and concluded, never to be read again.

And we would think back to our childhoods and how the stories were different and sometimes seemed better or worse in those archives, those forgotten editions.

But we get to do the writing and we get to set the agenda. Maybe some stories can’t be resolved, but we can include the gentler stories, we can include the stories we care for, which don’t bore us senseless with their brutality. We get to be the editors.

We may even be able to change the template and the wallpaper.

If every day your life were a news website – would there be continuity?


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