Your TV Life Map

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For this week’s Life Mapping activity relating to our weekly topic of Television Better Endings, I invite you to map a history of some of your favorite television programs for as far back as you can recall. Map those shows or series that have been most meaningful to you, perhaps those that you have personally identified with or that represent for you a chronology of your own development or of your generational heritage. This can include news events—like JFK’s assassination or the Twin Towers tragedy—as well as TV series or episodes, TV movies, and documentaries or special features.

You don’t need a long list of TV memories, just a representative sample.

After making your list, look it over to see if you find patterns evident in your list of favorite television programs. What does your list—or segments of it—say about you?

Leaving that question open, let me try this myself as an example, at least with a selective sampling from what would be my own TV Map. By the way, feel free to arrange these shows or memories in any format you like. You can just use a list, or make a pie chart, or clouds in a sky… any arrangement that feels meaningful for your reflections. In fact, I think I’ll cluster mine in a collage design with clipart icons representing the TV program types, rather than use a linear, simple chronology.
So, here’s my example:

Capture

My TV Map Collage reveals a progression of my interests from childhood to Now and shows how earlier interests have led to later career and personal preferences. Early programs (like Flipper, My Friend Flicka, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin) oriented me toward animal stories which I often shared with my best friend, Karen. (She is represented by the childhood friends image and the violin, as we learned violin together.) Then came JFK’s funeral, a significant generational marker event ‘grounding’ my childhood’s otherwise mainly imaginative focus. News stories form a thread throughout the mapping as historical ‘punctuation points’. But later came Star Trek series, travel and adventure stories, and more pet stories until college days, when Saturday Night Live and several sitcoms involving psychologists (Bob Newhart and later Frazier) and programs about family-like friendships, plus a documentary about Native American activism, held my attention while I was studying comparative literature, psychology, philosophy and anthropology. Since the Twin Towers tragedy and, in Colorado, the Columbine massacre, more recent TV preoccupations have included Physics and other science programs, lately the Big Bang Theory, and–as I begin to dream of retirement plans–Treehouse Masters.

Spirituality, instead of politics, is an underlying focus throughout the whole Map, associated with a search for truth and a sense of creative adventure and friendship/family/pet connections of unconditional love.

Childhood reflections:

Animal companions, Friends

Show me Love, not War.

I invite and welcome your Comments, insights and stories!

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Television Better Endings

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By now we have applied Better Endings as a principle to a wide range of topics, ranging from creative revisioning of movie endings and historical events to personal decisions, childhood events, and conversations.  We have been finding that putting this principle into action in one domain can carry over onto others.  Better Endings as a general principle can help us to be more mindful in day-to-day life as we realize we always have a choice, moment by moment, to proactively construct a path to the most desirable outcomes for all concerned. This allows us from our present vantage point to be cognizant of the past while attentive to where we wish to be heading from Here (and how to get there). If we go back to one of our earlier realizations from this blog, the Present is a doorway to alternate future ‘worlds’; so our choices Now can adjust the aperture or likelihoods for future conditions.

Door to new reality

This week we return to a creatively playful theme of Television Better Endings. When I was in my teens I remember maybe the first time I ever thought of the principle of ‘better endings,’ when the television series The Fugitive ended. Finally Dr. Richard Kimball could get back to his life; the one-armed man who had ransacked his home and murdered his wife (for which he himself had been wrongly accused and imprisoned) was captured. Kimball’s innocence was affirmed; he was a free man. Well, that’s a good ending, if fairly predictable; it tied up loose ends of the story so the series could end. But I thought it would have been deviously fun if at the very end, after the newly accused man was safely behind bars, Richard Kimball might be walking along a private California beach near his home in the moonlight, and he would unscrew his own prosthetic arm and fling it into the sea!

So, Better Endings as a principle applied to television doesn’t necessarily have to be ethical; but still, what might my The Fugitive ending say about me (or, one you might write or ‘right’, about you)? Maybe I just saw Richard Kimball as a man of mystery to the end. For him to have finally, once and for all, outsmarted the deputy marshall Girard who had hounded his footsteps through the whole series would seem to have been justified, albeit in a twisted way.  As a teen I suppose I wanted Kimball (or the actor David Jansen)’s freedom more than anything else.

Most of the television I watch these days is either informative (e.g. Through the Wormhole, The Universe, programs on Stonehenge, etc.), sci-fi oriented (re-runs of Star Trek NG), or historical. The only series I pay any attention to any more is The Big Bang Theory, which I have become rather addicted to since my last cross-country drive.  I’ll have to play with these a bit to be able to offer any fine applications of Better Endings to such fare or others.

How about you? What television shows or series hold your attention these days, and why? How might they or a particular episode end ‘better’ or how might earlier TV stories or series have ended more to the liking of your creative re-imagining?

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Have fun! I invite all Comments, story suggestions, and Stories!