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      Okay, so I admit it: I do not own a television, and, at this writing, I doubt I ever will. The last time I owned a television was back in the early 80's, probably before many of you were even born.
This isn't to say that I have never watched t.v. As a matter of fact, by 1950 we owned the first television in the Stockade District of Schenectady, NY (Fun Fact:Schenectady is where the first regularly scheduled t.v. broadcast was generated on May 11, 1928).

     Every Tuesday after dinner my father would crowd our upstairs flat with homemade benches, carefully placing them in front of the t.v.—rather like an altar. By 8 p.m., the benches were filled with families from surrounding neighborhoods—all there to watch Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle.
      Later, I blamed this ritual for the incident that took place the first time I attended mass at St. Peter's. According to family legend, I looked to the altar for the customary screen and became confused when, instead of the comedian, I found a man hanging on a cross. Hysterical, I was carried out of the church screaming at the priest: "What have you done to Milton Berle?"
      In any event, the reason a t.v. isn't part of my home decoration scheme is because as a typically obsessed writer, I often find myself searching for ways to procrastinate: like, jumping up to check whether or not my hair might look better parted on the other side, or, spending 45 minutes watching hundreds of sugar ants on my kitchen counter gather around a drop of orange juice, looking like so many tiny cute mammals gathering at the ol' drinking hole at the end of a long, hot day.
      Speaking as a writer, a t.v. would be my undoing. YouTube and all those fabulous cat videos have eaten whole days of my writing time. I mean, seriously, I shudder when I think of all the writing I wouldn't do while I spent days watching Downton Abbey and Doc Martin episodes over and over again.  Read More 

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For the Love of Books and Reading


      Books and reading—feasts for the senses and the mind. Books provide one of the finest forms of escapism - I ought to know. Growing up as a junior insomniac in a highly dysfunctional family, reading was my drug of choice. Even in labor, I read from the first contraction until the moment I was wheeled into the delivery room and the nurse had to forceably remove the book from my hands.
      I love books. I used to own 145 boxes of them which I kept in storage. Two years ago, I cleared out 50 of those boxes, categorized them, and put them out in my driveway for sale - 25 cents each. At the end of 8 hours, I'd sold one book - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

      The next day I loaded all 50 boxes into my husband's pickup and drove them to Goodwill—it was a lot like giving beloved pets to the SPCA.
      Yeah, yeah....I know. Tree Books are becoming a thing of the past. . .but I can't help it—I still love the feel of the paper as I turn the pages, and the smell of the ink and the glue, and the thud they make after I've fallen asleep and they slip out of my hands to the floor.
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