_T-MINUS three days before Christmas. Once again, Charlie Brown has kicked us in the gut with his wimpy-sad tree, reminding us that the season isn't supposed to be about consumerism. And yet. And yet the hubs and I are counting the rechargeable batteries we need to stockpile, since Santa's official policy is "batteries not included." (Oy. Santa. That's a whole 'nother post.)
Got me thinking, as it always does, about consumerism. I wrote this article for Friends Journal, "On Potty Training and Consumerism," and thought I'd share some of it here.
My article (apparently from a time in my life when I was much wiser) concludes thusly:
"... Ultimately, consumption doesn’t only mean buying things; it connotes an illness of taking in more than we put out. Consumption, to me, includes watching too much TV, eating non-nutritive foods, being too lazy to hang the clothes outside to dry, reading celebrity magazines, gossiping, driving a gas-guzzler. Consumption is that which distracts me from the real work—and joy—of life: connection, creation.
The opposite of consumption is creation: giving, generating, being generous. Connecting to myself and others. Examples? Hiking, yoga, writing, sharing wholesome dinners, playing with my family, spending time with friends, making gifts, attending Meeting for Worship, gardening, voting, camping, being intimate, caring for the Earth, reading good books, praying.
My goal has become to put out a bit more than I take in, on a daily basis. It’s the days when I give Sam my full attention, when I eat well, when I garden, when I really listen to my husband, when I walk in the woods, when I write a new chapter of my novel—when I then fall into bed exhausted, with a content heart. That, to me, is the opposite of consumerism. That is valuing creation more than consumption. And that’s what I want to teach [my son]."
What do you think? Leave a comment; I'd love to hear from you.
CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO READ MY "ON POTTY TRAINING AND CONSUMERISM" ARTICLE --->
From the TEEN WRITERS BLOC -
blog and book reviews from MFA students at the New School
read the whole review here:
Excerpt: "... Author J.J. Johnson could have taken us in the standard direction with this—mean girls torment our heroine until the handsome jock comes to her rescue. Thankfully, Johnson’s Evie and the world she lives in are much more unique and nuanced. Johnson spreads a message throughout the book about the value of activism and standing by your principles, but it rarely comes across as preachy. Instead, Evie and the other characters, who include a boy, a cheerleader who’s more than pom-poms, and a creepy teacher too many teens will recognize, are well rounded individuals with real-world concerns.
"One of the great things about this book was that it caused me to think about things I don’t normally think about. Evie, in genuine confusion, wonders why she’s not allowed to use her cell phone or go outside during lunch. I have no doubt that these are real restrictions that kids face, and they had me scratching my head, too. (My high school had an open campus, so even hall passes seem weird to me. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to suddenly being locked inside.) ..."
(Posted on TEEN WRITERS BLOC by Mary G. Thompson, June - 2 - 2011)
My BFF Jen just sent me this photo from when we shared an apartment in college. I usually don't like photos of myself, but this one? Love. Because it pretty much sums up who I was, who I am, and who I (God willing) will continue to be. What I like about it:
1. Good friends. In the photo, I'm smiling not for the camera, but for Jen -- because she's an amazing person, and a phenomenal friend, and she had the thoughtfulness to take a picture of me "doing two of the things you love the most." (Mind you, this was 1994, before camera phones or even digital cameras, so it took some effort --"Wait right there, JJ! Don't move! I'll be right back!" -- for her to take this picture.) If you've got friends like this, you're blessed and lucky.
2. Dance. I'm stretching after rehearsals for a modern dance performance. Whether for performance or just getting my groove on, I heart dance.
3. Yummy food. Love me some num nums. In college, I had the good fortune to room with several women in possession of vibrant, healthy body images and good relationships with food. These women DO exist!
4. Also about the spatula dipped in batter: life's all about measured risk. Small risks, like eating raw eggs; large risks, like professing your love to the object of your affection. Someone wiser than me once said that you'll regret the things you didn't do in life more than the things you *did* do.
Take care, and take risks.A life without cookie dough (from scratch, mind you) is a life not worth living.
Take care, and take risks.
That about sums it up.
_This "authorthoughts" interview by thatcovergirl.com isn't exactly new; I'm re-posting due to popular (or perhaps polite) demand.
JJ: I really didn’t have a sense of what the cover might look like, and I didn’t give any concept input to Peachtree. The only thing I knew for certain was that I did NOT want what I call a “headless girl body” cover: those YA covers with a photo of a skinny teenager, wearing trendy clothes, whose head is either cropped out of the picture or hidden behind some object. I assume those covers are trying to encourage readers to picture themselves as the heroine (“insert your face here”), but I think they’re very objectifying. Our culture already tells girls to think their bodies and clothes are the most significant part of their identity, and “headless girl body” covers reinforce that idea. What does it say when the heroine of a novel doesn’t have a head worth including on the cover? It’s a subtle message, but it’s unhealthy. Readers need to see whole people, with strong minds and smart brains attached to their healthy bodies....
read the full interview: http://thatcovergirl.com/2011/03/17/authorthoughts-jj-johnson-this-girl-is-different/
OR CLICK OVER THERE TO READ MORE ---->
I mean, how freaking cool is this? It makes my smile as big as ... a huge smile. Jack-o-lantern? Cameron Diaz? You get the idea.
Hi, my name is A_____. I recently read your book "This Girl is Different" and thought that your idea for a student led speak-out would be absolutely perfect for solving the bullying problem at my school. I talked to my Assistant Principal, and you wanna know something really cool? He said almost the same exact thing as the principal in you book! Basically he said "I think this would be more effective if it was student led, but I'm behind you all the way." Anyways, if our speak-out is as effective as the one in you book, I will definitely email you back and tell you how it went.
j.j. johnson, author