Thursday, 30 April 2015

Tame the prejudice in your mind

I see your racist transphobic homophobic sexist extremist behaviour rather the same way I see babies who are scared of eating greens. Pushing it away simply because it is.
You are just untrained. In your infancy. Underdeveloped. Primitive.
You have a chance, not many, but a chance to change your mind and be kind.

Being different challenges you. The same way any small animal hides behind its parents legs when it is unsure of something it has never seen before.
You hide behind ignorance and aggression.
Its fight or flight. And you are in fight mode because you hold prejudice against anything not being like you. 
But that’s not how life works. 
You must think you are unique in your own way? 
And you are. 
So why cant you see that everyone is unique in their own way.

Basically you are being childish, because you are scared of the unknown.
Everybody starts out this way. We are born this way to protect us from putting poisonous things in our mouths, letting predators near us or falling off the edge of cliffs. But we no longer need to live like the Neanderthal man, which is what you are being.
You need exposure. You need to understand.
That although things may be different, unusual and even challenge the order of the world in your head and your head only, you must accept that being different is OK.
It is you not being ok with it, that is not OK.

 Most people are as harmless as a brussel sprout, that green vegetable that as a kid, you swear you hate. After all green is a weird colour to be eating right? But, once you get to know it, to understand it and even to try it a bit for yourself. You soon learn it is ok.
Like training your taste buds. Which can be done by the way. We develop a taste for food when we are young by trial taste repeat, and it is how we continue to extend our palette as adults. 

Ever heard the theory to try something 14 times and by the end you will like it? 
Well it is true. 
I’m not the only one to try this. But I can assure you it works. Just one little mouthful, every time you can handle it. Eventually, through exposure, through being willing to try because you want to like something, you find your palette gets used to it and you eventually want to eat it.

Understanding diversity is a little bit like trying your vegetables.
Its all about exposure in bite size chunks until you get it. In most cases you will accept that actually, it is ok, and in the best cases you love it.

Now I’m not saying, to accept all people you should try being like them, but do read about them, try to understand them, be kind to them because you want to like them. 
It is a great start. Eventually through exposure to something new and through exposing yourself to the truth and not believing the fears in your head, you will be accepting of it.

Fear is built on thoughts. Thoughts are not actions. Thoughts can be ignored, changed or unvoiced. You don’t have to carry out your thoughts. It is your actions that count.

So if you find yourself repulsed by something, or insulted by people being unusual, or even scared that someone means you harm just by being different. Then don’t worry. You have discovered something new to you and this initial feeling is natural. Even more exciting…You can change. Just
keep your bad behaviour to yourself, sit and consider your thoughts and educate yourself. Next thing you know, you will realise that we are all just simple humans.

Most humans mean you no harm, they are all incredibly unique, beautiful spinning collections of the same matter as you. And if you understood anything about the planet you live on, you would know that all people are you, they were you, and when you are dead you will be them.

So do yourself a favour. Learn to eat your greens. Tame the prejudice in your mind. Turn fear into openness and learn to love your own species. Accept that people are different. And marvellous in their true identity. Revel in the marvel of the different colours of our skin. The tribal talents and tongues we can hear. The cultures and creations we can share. The incredible fact that for every weird and wonderful human being there is another perfectly matched weirdly wonderful soul to love them.

And by accepting all people. All those people love you.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

What's my genre?

Not one to like putting people into pigeon holes, or stigmatising, or putting labels on people, although I do LOVE sticking labels, preferably colour coded ones, on anything that generally needs organising... but this is not about that.

I was recently approached by a journalist showing an interest in the articles and (unpublished) books I have written and I was asked:

  • What do you write? What genre are you? 

To which I pulled a puzzled face and have been pondering ever since.

Factual gritty life stories, I told them at the time, a little unsure if any of those words would qualify as a genre and what does it say about me as a writer to not know how to describe myself?!

What would you say, you read my stuff?

I have been asking around from those who I know read my stuff (poor souls) either through obligation or because they appear in the story!

Members from my tribe of besties were asked…

My BF said: factual...Gee thanks for that! Not strictly true and disturbingly simple. Does he read my stuff?

My oldest (length of time not age) best friend said: Eclectic musings on life as you see it, sexy stuff that shocks, humorous in the moment snippets, poetry, autobiographical stories, reviews, creative and thoughtful wider thinking…

Amazingly insightful, here have a badge for No 1 fan of the year darling. But like my own musings, wordy.

My Scottish bestie said: You are a master mood catcher with a freakishly good memory for events that would otherwise be lost in the fog of the moment…

Amazingly thoughtful, here have a badge for No 2 fan of the year darling. But as much as I love 'master mood catcher', it is alas all still too wordy and not genre realising.

And that’s just thinking about my writing.

My personal development path, where I am going could also be queried in the same way at the moment. I am traversing a huge change in lifestyle. And I often ponder my qualities, my purpose, my ‘self.'

What genre am I?

Does it really matter? Book sales I guess so. But personally, Nah! I would rather be a little of everything than a specified type of anything. Its obvious really isn’t it? I mean who wants to label themselves introvert and never be able to have a crazy day off, just being outlandishly generous or loudly exclaiming the wonderfulness of the day?

And who wants to be constantly extrovert? With expectations of a continuing ability to be weird and wonderful and never accepted when you want to be quiet and sublime?

There isn’t much about me that I cant change. Thankfully I dont want to.
I am white. I am 39.
I will never be a black 24 year old. Ever.
I am female. I am pan sexual. And I suppose I could change those things if I felt I needed to . But I don’t. I am happy in the soul I was given.

But genre? Gets me thinking. If my life was a book, what genre would it be?

Worthwhile is not a genre...

“Hello Mr Bookshop Owner, I would dearly love to purchase a book with a worthwhile story please!”
“Errr...can you be a bit more specific?”
“Well something that is generally good, has good intentions, but is also a wicked slice of crazy, unusual, funny, creative, with some involvement of cooking, surprises, animal rights, tomfoolery, fast cars, slow campervans, disco dancing in roller skates, adventures, soirées, double dares and falling up stairs, with dashings of good and bad luck. Oh and a mystery! And true love! And a map for all those déjà vu moments please. Oh and preferably under a tenner.”
Mr Bookshop Owner frowns with exasperation,  “So that would be what genre?”

And also! What if the genre gives the story away? For example, what if your main character is going to discover all these weird and wonderful things that have been happening are because of Aliens, then would the Sci-Fi genre not give you a teensy headsup to that?

So after much pondering.
I have decided.
I write modern day mysteries.

Its a mystery where it comes from.
Its a mystery if you will like it.
Its a mystery what will happen until you read to the end.

And I guess you can fit anything else (drama, murder, action, thriller, aliens) into a mystery.

So mystery it is!

Rather like my life. How can I put a genre on me when I have no idea what will happen or what will be the outcome (drama, murder, action, thriller, aliens)? Its all a marvellous mystery.

Modern day mystery writer. That's me. Ta-da!

The one I held back

Generic rhyming voicemail – for when your friends are asleep and you aint.

You are a sleeping, the sand man is reaping,
I am creeping and sleeking onto your phone.
Leaving a message to remind you just a little bit that while you slumber neatly I am alone.

It is my duty to remind you and point out pointedly, with my pointy fingers all jauntily jointly, that while weekends are here you are always on call, and if not coming out, in, round, down, up to party, you must answer your phone! Thats your job smarty!

To hear my hilarity momentarily spontaneous rants...

Coz you are missing out on the architectural wandering of my mind simply pondering,

And I end up thinking if you were here we would be drinking, and singing and stating that really life IS much better when dancing and prancing – isnt it....I said isn’t it?

Yo Yo YO! Where’d you go?
No no no drifting into the white sleepy snow. You need my kinda snow, on the high tempo, make you go go, silky soft snow white glow, snoooooooow.
Hey ho lets go!

Its all about the happys,
Tipping to ya the bees knees hatties,
Them weirdly cramping flappies,
Hanging onto life by the boot strappies,
Over excited camped up hand clappies,
Pumping arms and riverdance toe tappies
Slow motion face slappies
Looking up travelling road trip mappies
Jumping from behind curtains and making you pant crappies
Laughing crampies
Babies nappies
Branch snappies
Ridiculous happies


No seriously...if you were here you would have stopped me by now.
Its one thing to Rhyme, but you gotta know the right time?

Ya know?
So shall I go?