How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts and the literary world to hear their answers. This piece comes from an email interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, best-selling author, columnist, and the NBA's all-time leading scorer. He will also be the subject of an upcoming HBO Sports documentary.
I don’t like to read first thing in the morning, because it interferes with my writing. I try to work on my novel in the morning before I’m exposed to the world’s natural disasters or Kim Kardashian’s fashion disasters because they can distract me from thinking about the story and characters. If I read about the FUBAR at the Veteran’s Administration, my outrage bleeds into my writing and suddenly I have my fictional middle schoolers marching on Washington.
Once I’m done with my fiction writing, I grab that day’s New York Times and read the entire edition looking for my name. If I don’t see it, I send an angry email demanding that they fire the editor. Actually, reading the Times in the morning is like plugging myself into the rest of the world, making me feel as if we’re all part of the same community. News is like a language that we all speak. It’s like a discussion we’re all having about how to make the world better.