Post Mardi Gras

Now that Mardi Gras has officially come to an end, I just have one small request. Whatever you do, please don’t give up reading for Lent. :)
Having gone through a few Lents as an author, I can tell you that some people claim they spend too much money on books, but then when they deny themselves these books, they spend their money on something more frivolous. And are still left unsatisfied.

People, reading is GOOD for you. Giving it up would be like giving up broccoli. Chocolate flavored broccoli!
Reading uses more of your brain than any other stationary function, (math uses the least, FYI), it strengthens neurons, and believe it or not, it burns calories. It is both food AND exercise for your brain. Not only that, but if you give it up, you will be hurting the authors who depend upon you to make a living. And you’ll probably just fill your extra time with TV or video games or eating, which makes you a worse person, not a better one, and betrays the entire purpose of giving something up for forty days.

On that note… I honestly believe people focus on the “vice” thing way too much. Life is hard. Sometimes life is really, really hard. Many individuals literally have Lent every day, and not by choice. It’s a struggle to get from one morning to the next. Giving up something that gets us through these moments may not be an option. So why not take another route this time? Why not take this as an opportunity to make the world a better place? Why not?

Give up being stingy with donations, give up yelling at your loved ones, give up honking your horn at the car in front of you (you know nothing about what is going on in their lives; what if they’ve just lost someone they love?), give up talking on your phone or texting while driving (for the love of God and all creation), give up smoking in someone’s walking path, give up forcing your employees to work unexpected hours or cutting their wages. Give up evil. Give up unkindness. Give up wrong. There’s no better time than the present to turn this from something selfish or pointless into something that’s actually worth a damn.

Just an author’s plea. 🙂 xoxo

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2 Responses to Post Mardi Gras

  1. Bb says:

    I am a big fan of yours Heather, or at least I was until I read that part about brain function posted in the section above. Where did you come to know that math uses the least possible functions of the brain? I understand that you do not have any science background, but that just put me off.
    FYI the brain consumes around 500 calories every single day, wether you spend it eating potato chips or doing math. Only when we think more actively, we get a better blood flow to the brain. This is why people cannot burn calories more effectively just by sitting at their desk and doing original intellectual work!
    You are a talented writer, but next time please get your facts straight.

  2. HRKW says:

    I’m sorry – but you really are absolutely wrong. My husband is a neuroscientist who performs fMRI research on the brain with other top scientists, and through him, I have been fortunate enough to come to know quite a bit about how the brain works. He is where I got this information, in fact: Straight from the neuroscientist’s mouth. So you can better understand this information, let me give you a bit of background on what happens when you read compared to what happens when you do math.
    When you read, you involve several areas of the brain at once – Broca’s area, Wernicke’s area, the visual cortex, etc. Activity lights up throughout the brain because you are having to see the letters, convert letters into sounds, convert sounds into meanings, and then the entire meaning of a sentence into an image. Picturing that image uses more of the brain, imagining the feelings and senses based on the images uses more, and so forth, in effect utilizing vast reaches of the brain.
    In comparison, when you perform math functions, as long as you are not doing so while reading them as word problems in a book, you are basically only using the visual cortex (but not if you’re doing math in your head – in that case, cross out the visual cortex), the anterior singulate cortex, and the prefrontal cortex, which are small parts of the brain really only used for error monitoring. There is no sense perception (unless you see numbers in colors or taste the number two as a banana, which does happen with some very unique individuals).
    As a result, much less of the brain is allocated to math than to reading. In fact, few people realize that the reason so many find math difficult is because such a small part of the brain is allocated to solving these functions. Getting those small amounts to work as hard is much more complicated than getting a larger part of the brain to work on something like reading. FYI.