It is a chilly Wednesday evening. I have just managed to finish my supper. It is my absolute favourite, ‘Lancashire Hot Pot’. I just love eating a stew made from meat that I cannot identify and vegetables that are overcooked. However, the onus is on me, I should have booked a better meal.
Anyway, a zillion things are running through my mind. The semester portfolio that I have to hand in for writing and editing being one of them. My heart stops every time I think about it. I do not have the greatest confidence in myself as a writer and blogging seems like a punishment more than a fun activity, but I must soldier on!
But, before I do that, a trip to Pick ‘n’ Pay is in order. I need the walk to calm my nerves. When I arrive, I instinctively go to the aisles that will provide me with important supplies. Cereal. Check. Milk. Check. Chocolate. Check. Tea. Check, check, check!
When I get to the till, I whisper a prayer in my heart to make sure that there is enough money on my debit card after I enjoyed a little shopping spree from the day before. Cringe!
Even though I am anxious, the teasers on the covers of “You” and “Grazia” magazine hold my attention. I am so tempted to pick one of them up but before I do, I scan my surroundings to make sure that no one from the journalism department is nearby. I grab Grazia hesitantly and give it to the cashier who is looking at me impatiently for my indecisiveness.
Inside I am embarrassed but I feel less insecure when I know that my guilty pleasures are stuffed in the plastic bag. I cannot wait to get to my room and indulge in all of the latest gossip.
So, I know what you are thinking. I am shallow. I have a fat assignment waiting for me yet here I am reading junk. But it is all I can do to distract me from the work that awaits me. At least I am not at the Rat and Parrot okay?
I am not the ideal writing and editing student. While most of my peers are either reporting for the student newspapers or steadily building their portfolios by working at reputable media houses. I am clicking away at E! Entertainment Online or HollywoodLife.com.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy a good book and the last one I read which I must say inspired me was the Catcher in the Rye. I love books that make you think but the setting also has to be right. It has to be in a situation where I am calm and not anxious (I have General Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Reading tabloid magazines is a kind of escape from the world that requires me to persevere against all odds.
I do read the articles with a lot of caution and often criticise the nonsense I have just read. I despise Hollywood’s obsession with celebrity moms who have managed to lose their baby weight in a matter of weeks and although I watch their show religiously, I cannot keep up with abundance of Kardashian selfies on instagram.
Tabloids are synonymous with superficiality and trash, however there is something about the design that they use to grab your attention. Let me be clear, I will only buy these magazines when I am in need of a moment to not use my brain cells, otherwise I do consume matter that is more wholesome and informative and useful.
At home however, it is the same. Instead of clicking the remote to find eNCA I will be watching the Style Network or yep you guessed it, E! Entertainment. Fashion Police is my favourite.
To balance the equation, Sunday evenings at 7pm are reserved for Carte Blanche. I have the upmost respect for the quality of investigative journalism that they produce.
I often feel that I am not worthy to be a Rhodes journalism student because of my interests in tabloids and celebrity news. I console myself with the fact that it is not my dream to work for any tabloid magazine or newspaper. I want to produce material that can engage readers critically even if it is in the realm of lifestyle reporting.
I believe that this is possible because let’s be real, the rate at which myself and others consume this kind of news is not healthy and I want to show the world why. I want to help people turn their focus to things that do matter like the benefits of having dinner at the table with your whole family or how social media is turning us more into narcissists.
I know, I sound like a hypocrite but when I read this junk, I do know how to distinguish between the things that matter and the things that don’t. I hope for more growth and maturity as a reader and as a writer so you could say that this is part of the process 🙂
A solution would be to stop reading these magazines all together, which is what I have been considering lately. A new chapter in my life has begun and I need to meet it with a fresh attitude. Growth is on the horizon and when I get my degree I want to be a writer with integrity and I writer that I can be proud of.