Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

You said it would be fun. Where’s the fun?

Recently, Colette and I have become blogging acquaintances and have shared two or three rounds of commenting back and forth. She had read my piece Tune Out and invited me to read hers, The Bad News Won’t Stop Coming, so Then What? Both posts deal with media, the policy “if it bleeds, it leads” and how to protect ourselves from the bombardment.

In her post, she wrote

From here on out, it’s going to be one unfortunate thing after another. I mean specifically, in terms of what goes on in the world, in what I get exposed to through the media. Sure, there will be occasional positive, human interest stories that will be encouraging and make us all feel good. But they won’t be the bulk of it.

In my comment to Colette, I snipped that one paragraph as something that I recognized from my experience. Essentially, though, I could have cut and paste her entire post.

The issue of feeling overwhelmed by all of the bad news came home to me after the inaugural meeting of our new Women’s Institute. We had booked a speaker to talk about water conservation and the role women play globally and at home. We felt that it would tie in nicely with other events taking place around the world, like Earth Day and the World Water Walk. Locally, there is concern about a proposed gravel pit and the threat to a natural well head near the Grand River. Our speaker was articulate, passionate, and intelligent.

But her talk was a flop.

Feedback from our members was swift and to the point. “You said it would be fun. Where’s the fun?” they complained.

While no one took issue with the validity of the topic or the ability of the speaker, our members didn’t want to hear any more negative. They were there to escape it, or, at the very least, find enough good to balance the bad.

In hindsight, I can plainly see my error. It was unfair to the speaker and to the members. The night was supposed to be uplifting, a celebration.  To include a talk about water contamination and potential threats… yeah, bad idea.

We rallied the troops to help plan the next meeting.

On the agenda:

  • Photo Booth (see gallery of images below – photos courtesy Avery Kloss)
  • honey butter tasting
  • Bee’s Knees cocktail
  • Roll Call “Bee Thankful”
  • Awards for best costume

We had some business to attend to and I tried to keep things moving. Wasn’t completely successful, but hey, we didn’t run into overtime too, too badly.

Bees and other pollinators, as you no doubt know, are threatened by “neonics.” The final item on the agenda was our guest speaker, a local beekeeper. We ask Kari Raymer Bishop to talk about her experience as a novice apiarist. She was an absolute delight. She was articulate, passionate, and intelligent. Her devotion to her bees was plainly evident. As written in the minutes, There were many questions and lots of “buzz.”

Her talk was a success.

I’ve learned a good lesson, here. That is, you can share information in several formats. One way will leave you trembling and down, the other will leave you laughing and uplifted. I know the type of feelings I prefer.


Categories: In Other News

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31 replies

  1. Ah, yes, sometimes we just need an escape from the negative, and people dressed in bee costumes seems a great way to go! 🙂


    • I had to re-think my default response that a serious issue merits a serious response. Not necessarily the case. Well, d’uh. Look at all of the comedians who make a living at being funny at the expense of difficult material. George Carlin comes to mind, as does Rick Mercer.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Those costumes were great – the “bee’s knees” (as the saying goes. . . ).

    I agree with you. There are ways of delivering “bad” news so it inspires us rather than depresses or scares us but there is an art to doing that.

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is not always the message that moves us or feel uplifted,but the fun and delivery of the message. Such a fun post, plus learned about bees.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly it. As one woman said to me when she offered feedback about the water talk, we are all informed and aware of the issues. Many of us work in social services and see hardship up close on a daily basis. Who needs to have more of that when we gather to “have fun”?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely!! There is so much doom-and-gloom in the world but focusing on the good stuff – no matter how small – inspires more. Kudos to you, Maggie for hearing the message from your members.

    … and I for one look at bees with an entirely new appreciation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Joanne. The message was direct and to the point. No pussyfooting around.

      Some time ago I read that if you get feedback/critique on something from say, two or three people, you can extrapolate that number tenfold or “a lot more” fold. Considering that, about half of our membership felt the same.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Presentation is everything. You look so darned cute, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do agree, water is our most precious commodity and we need to be aware. But the bees knees looked a far happier affair. I admire the way you participate in these rich endeavours Maggie.


    • It’s a huge change for me, Barbara, thank you. Most of my life I’ve not wanted to join, or haven’t had the time or opportunity to join clubs, groups, gatherings like this. After my three years stuck to a desk doing my school work, I needed some social therapy, desperately. This fills the bill.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Gosh you’re so adorable and smiley in that photo! 😀
    Yeah, depressing is depressing in any format, but it’s part of education, isn’t it? We often have guest speakers at church, which are good for our education, but bad for our desire to be uplifted. So, often, I avoid the guest speaker mornings. I feel educated enough about certain topics, if ya know what I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such darling photos, Maggie, and a thoughtful lesson in the process. You little honey bee so sweet 💖


  9. Maggie, thanks you so much for including me and my post here! Awesome! Your point is well made. We hear so much bad stuff, we feel overwhelmed, especially when there’s little that “regular people” can do. (“Write your Congressman” isn’t the most inspiring advice.) Your bee talk works because it’s not just another thing to worry and feel helpless about. People can do something and it’s meaningful. (Your post led me to look up what we can do.) Great post!


  10. I got nervous when I thought you were heading into a situation of fun and frivolity only and simply avoiding any issues. People do love their warm and fuzzies. But I think you’ve found the right balance of conveying important information but allowing people to have fun at the same time. I think people often take things on board and are more ready to do something about it if they feel energised to do so, rather than just depressed at the enormity of it.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great admiration for you. I would have gone home and cried after the first feedback. No–probably wouldn’t have made it home. Would more likely have embarrassed myself by tearing up in front of those giving the feedback, and pretended a bathroom emergency, fooling no one.

    That group could not have a better person looking out for their interests, Maggie. I’m so glad you are receiving great benefits, as well. As long as you get as much as you give (please, please watch for that, Ms. ICD–“I Can Do”).


  12. Great post! Your “Bee” event looks like it was a blast!! 🙂
    I agree whole-heartedly about the media and negative news. My husband and I were (blissfully) without cable for 2 years before being coaxed back by a “bundle” deal. I was immediately struck by the bombardment of bad news, both locally and nationally. Some stories actually had me saying aloud, “Did I REALLY need to know this??” I think you get almost immune to it when it’s on every day. Our time away sort of “cleansed” us and gave us fresh eyes.
    So now the TV news stays off, and I stay informed through NPR and on-line sources. And I’m happier for it!!


    • oooh, those sly offers for bundles. Better yet, the more desperate invitations to sign up for three or six months free, or for two years at insanely low rates. Very tempting. I’m waiting until the time when I can design my own bundle. It will probably cost me a bundle, too. In which case, the TV stays off.

      Thanks for reading and responding!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Well presented. Good example of some of the basic principles of Mass Media. Mass media constructs a reality. That reality conveys values, beliefs and ideology. All Mass Media convey intended and unintended messages.

    May the good buzz continue. 😉


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