My Anti-Boredom Formula

Whenever my son says, “I’m bored,” my response these days is “un-bore yourself.” I picked up this phrase from a friend’s mother, but I also have a few of my own, such as What’s wrong with being bored? and Good. Maybe you’ll read something now.

It’s great to be bored. I write when I’m bored. I get my best ideas when I’m bored. I’d say we all need time to be bored, because it’s only when I’m bored—aka I stop leaping from frenetic task to task—that I read literary novels or poetry, go to films that challenge me, or watch TV that addresses my own questions about society and family.

My anti-boredom formula is to be bored—or at least to start out in that dreamy, questing way.

With that in mind, I’m pretty sure all the end-of-year “best of” lists that litter the media stream are attempts to ward off boredom—to make sure we’ve always got a list of distractions to hand.

So this December, I tried to approach the “best of” task a little differently. I had a lot of fun coming up with 2012 picks for my favorite book, TV show, and film at the witty online magazine Punchnels.

The criterion I used? Each title had to be more than a pleasant distraction or rip-roaring entertainment or an old shoe. It had to engage my imagination, to stick a thumb in my beliefs—to be one of the most un-boring things I’d encountered all year.

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