Thursday, December 06, 2007

Active Entertainment

The NEA's recent report To Read or Not to Read, reported that Americans are reading less. More surprisingly, it also showed that readers are more likely to volunteer, participate in and patronize the arts, vote, and even exercise than non-readers.

Why is that? The study didn't say, but my bet is that the reason is twofold: First, reading literature produces empathy; hearing someone else's story helps you understand another's challenges and joys, motivating you both to kindness and to improve your own lot. Second, reading, despite appearances, is an active form of entertainment. In order to make these little black scribbles into words and thoughts and pictures and stories, you have to be paying attention and using your imagination.

So, today's suggestion: Make your medium active. If you're on stage, do your darndest to get your audience to talk back. If you're on tv, try to make the viewers stand up and participate. If you're writing, I want your readers to be unable to sit still. If this sounds daunting, but try to keep it simple; Peter Pan is a children's story, but have you ever watched it without your hands just itching to clap little Tinkerbell back to life?

Today's words are: inspire, move, engage.

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