I haven’t written so much as a word for ages. It isn’t due to writers block; but things have and are getting in my way and blocking any opportunity I have to sit down and do.
Some of these things, and I am going to list them shortly, will be instantly recognisable as prevaricating excuses. Others, I hope, will be seen as genuine reasons for not writing. Yet more are less tangible, but no less real, constraints which I feel I am under. Here goes:
I have a cold. Oh, OK, man flu. But it has left me knackered and streaming.
My mum came to stay, (whilst I had the cold-double whammy), and naturally I spent time with her watching the X Factor and Deal.
I was away with work in South Africa. Actually, I hope to write a story based on this, so we’ll call this one RESEARCH.
There have been lots of things to look at on the internet: catching up on fridayflash, reading blogs and digesting the newspaper.
This last leads me to what I believe to be the root cause of my silence: There is just too much bad stuff going on around us. Yes, I mean us. Not me. All of us. It is beginning to overwhelm me and I think it should be overwhelming all of us. Where to start? Well, there is the wholesale deconstruction of society as we knew it. You know, all the good things that helped make the country trot along and allowed us to enjoy a bit of time for culture and giving others a helping hand. Personally I am terrified to even look at the Spending Review tomorrow. It can only be worse than expected. Then there is the growing sense of hate of anything ‘other’. It’s not immediately obvious, but it is there, and I’ve been noticing it a lot. Examples? How about growing racism, fear of immigrants and attacks on gay people. There was a terrifying report last week about rising homophobia in New York, even an attack inside the Stonewall bar. INSIDE. This is where gay liberation started for most people. How have we got to this? Politicians are playing on people’s fears about otherness at a time of economic weakness and instability. Mmmm, where have I read about this in history……….Oh yes, 1930’s Germany. You know. Country in economic meltdown. Hungry people desperate for anything, willing to cling on to words from anyone who will listen, or who pretends to listen. Enter opportunistic politician with agenda of their own. Enter Hitler. The Nazis. Kristalnacht and all that. The politician in this example is Carl Paladino who is running for New York Governor and who has ranted publicly against gay people. He plays on fears and ignorance to get the votes. He is part of the truly frightening Tea Party movement in the US. The really scary thing about his recent speech was that it was in front of an audience of Orthodox Jews. What he said to them about gay people was no less hateful than what Hitler said about Jews to the Germans. Be afraid people. And it could happen here too. Europe is not immune to wildly extremist political opinions.
So, there you have it. My despair with the way things are going out there is preventing me from writing. I am angry. I feel I can’t do anything. I would fly to France and join their marches against the French Government’s plan to increase the pension age. Only, they have no fuel left so there are hardly any flights. How is it the French are willing to do something positive? They probably won’t achieve their aim, but the fact they have tried does offer some hope.
There, I feel better already. Actually, if only one person reads this, and let’s face it, it will probably be someone who I force ask to read it, then I might have made a difference too. They might bring it up in conversation and maybe it will get someone else thinking.
Martin Luther King Jr. said a couple of things about silence:
‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’
‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’
Having had my little rant, I really do feel that I have climbed over that obstacle. I might even write something today. Everyone should get a little angry sometime. It’s good for the soul. And the storybook.