Trying To Make It Better


Hey, Jude, don’t make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.”
— Paul McCartney







Recently I wrote something called “Interruptions,” reflecting on the continuous drumbeat of tragic stories that emerge from the daily news.  Every day, it seems, we hear another new piece of bad news piled on top of the unraveling stories of bad news from previous days.  I read “Interruptions” in public at The Whistlestop Writers meeting here in the Tri-Valley.  From the reaction, it seemed to have resonated with members of the audience.  However, on reflection, I think even my central question — “What should I do about it?”  — only made us feel worse about the things happening in our world these days.  Gretta asked me, and I had to ask myself, “Was it a good thing to inflict such thoughts of harm and futility on my audience?   Were they any better for it?  Was I?  Or did I just contribute to how bad we all feel about the world around us?  One day’s bad news may distract us from yesterday’s bad news – or last week’s.  More often, I fear, the accumulation of stories has a “multiplier effect.”  In short, did I just make it worse?

Yep.  Maybe so.  I decided not to publish it on ConVivio.



So, the resulting “Writer’s Block” (pictured here) has me looking for something else to think about and something else to write about.   So, here is a quick start — just a start.  Just little things.  It’s brief.  We’ll see if this approach leads anywhere.





Some News That’s Not Bad

Caught on “smart doorbell” camera, kids return wallet with $700 inside.$700-inside/3835550/

Small American town welcomes refugees with Southern Hospitality.

There’s a new Alzheimer’s/dementia drug that’s showing promise in slowing memory loss in early clinical trials.

A generous anonymous donor reveals her identity. She gave millions to artists without taking credit for the gifts.

A British supermarker chain is introducing a “quieter hour” for autistic shoppers.

An experiment with a four-day work week is a surprising success.

Tourist accidentally pays 100 times taxi fare— driver tracks him down to return it.

Riders of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, illegal in most cities, have found a community.

Recovering addict anonymously pays for ambulance crew’s breakfast.

Surprising solution: saving a country from wildfires with goats.

There’s a lake of liquid water on Mars.


A mother duck is caring for 76 ducklings on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota.



Today, right now, across the world, something good is happening — whether or not we hear about it or acknowledge it as something good.  And, as Walter Cronkite used to say at the end of The Six O’Clock News back in the 1960s, “And that’s the way it is.”

And, there’s more …

Your comments on this topic are welcome.  

7 Responses “Trying To Make It Better”

  1. Jeannette says:

    Funny thing, that. The gentleman who taught my grandchildren to golf in Livermore sends me and loose strings of what-not that he has poached
    from the Internet. Some of it is wet your pants funny and some of it makes me scream “What the trump??”

    So last week, after getting one of his hair raising emails, I googled the term “people behaving well”. Tons and tons of sites popped up called (drumroll please) “people behaving badly.” What a surprise. So I challenged my friend To start a website called, … Well… You know

    Last Saturday, I drove to Northern California to spend time with Michelle’s children and we went to visit the golf instructor. I asked him how his little site was coming along, and he responded that he would get right on it. Bahahaha. I could tell you lots of great stories about my grandchildren, but I have a feeling that is not what you’re looking for. Let me keep working on this. I’m sure I will come up with something That will make the world a much better place. Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it.

  2. Dorty Nowak says:

    Thanks Dan – I needed a reset. I’d made a vow last year to only read the happy news in the NYT…that worked for a while, but I confess I fell into bad ways.

  3. Lew Bell says:

    We just returned from a cruise to Denmark and Norway. We had a wonderful time and one of the best perks of the trip was that we didn’t look at a newspaper, TV news broadcast or listen to any radio while we were gone. It was delightful.

  4. Daniel says:

    Dorty, I suspect that you, like me, are torn between a life-long need to know what’s going on in the world and a more recent desire to escape the awful stuff we see in the news every day. I though it was useful to take a look at some good news in some of those some news sources (like the NYT). Thanks for reading. Dan

  5. Daniel says:

    Lew & Rita — Glad your trip to Norway was such “GOOD NEWS.” Thanks for sending the beautiful pictures. Dan

  6. Nancy says:

    Hi Dan,
    Thank you and Gretta for holding back on publishing the bad news and looking for the good. When I was down in the dumps an old friend of mine said to always think of one thing each day that I was most proud of. She said that most people are always so critical of themselves and need to work hard at thinking of the good things as there are many things to be proud of. Your message reminded me that I need to do more of that. Good luck with your writers block and thanks for sharing as you inspired me to reconnect with the good stuff.

  7. Daniel says:

    Nancy, What a great thought! I have been amazed at the attention this little ConVivio piece has received. I;m glad you found it useful.
    Regards, Dan