So i’m a writer, which means I try my hardest to get out of doing as much actual work as possible, while fooling people into paying me to make stuff up. That comes with a lot of sort of work (Not really) involving lots of reading, writing, and the occasional existential crisis, which are all important when attempting to pursue your dreams.
2016 was a very eventful year for me, but as I was only starting on this career path, it was also rather haphazard, and unfocused. 2017 is being attempted with something slightly resembling a plan. Part of that involves writing a blog post every day, reading a short story, and trying to spend at least some time enjoying life away from the computer. The last point may sound counterproductive, but over the course of 2016 cabin-fever had dug its claws in more than a few times.
Last night, at around 3am, when the insomnia had well and truly established itself, I came across the short story “-And The Moon Be Still As Bright” in the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. The story hit home with that extremely well known feeling of loosing ones history and culture in the face of advancement.
People all over the world are threatened by constant shrinking of our understanding of the Earth and its boarders, and some see this as a huge threat to their way of life. I can understand why people fear change, and want to fight for it with every breath, but as I read over this story I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the fear of the “What might be”.
I grew up in a small town in Northern England, where discrimination wasn’t so much about colour or religion, but thoughts and ways of life. I struggled in a place where day dreaming, imaginations, and creativity were considered secondary to the advance of the warehouse industry.
I remember days where i’d take my younger brother to school early in the morning, only to be accosted by a band of goblins, which would force us to climb through the patchy grass, and sharpen our imaginary swords behind old walls on cobbled roads. I also remember getting told off a lot for being late to school, despite leaving an hour before school started, and the walk only taking fifteen minutes. In my own way I was rebellious, but I like to think that I was just having too much fun being a kid.
As the years passed and people would stare at me with a skeptical, unnerved expression, I knew I was to say the least “odd”. I couldn’t explain why exactly, but it might have been the fact that I just didn’t understand what was so interesting about throwing bricks at cars, getting into trouble on purpose, and kissing girls. I wanted to be a wizard, an astronaut, and more than once a Pokemon (Blastoise I think).
The more I tried to explain myself or fit in, the more people disliked me, they simply didn’t want to know, and in a lot of ways it signalled the start of my self-discovery. I knew I was an outsider to the people around me, but I couldn’t understand why.
The older i’ve become, the more I realise that i’m not so different than everyone else, only I realised who I was, and what made me happy very early on. I was a curly-haired boy who loved to write poetry, and dream about dragons. As a result of my departure from the norm, I could see the cogs working in so many groups, who like me, wanted to be themselves.
I know that things have gone from bad to worse across many issues and groups, and I understand why everyone’s so scared, but there’s nothing that brings quite a big smile to my face, than seeing people standing up for the right to let everyone be themselves.
Reading “-And The Moon Still Be As Bright” reflected for me the genuine fear that each corner of the world feels towards some other part. The invaders and their detrimental ways, and I think it’s important to remember that if we’re going to really develop a world where people can safely do as they please without fear of prosecution, then we are going to have to learn to trust.
It seems that trust is one of the hardest things to come by. I still marvel at the homeless people in the streets of Manchester, and when they ask me if i’ve got any money, I open my wallet and even the moth that lies out looks tatty. The thing that gets to me is the reaction I get when I talk to them, and apologise. I’ve been told on several occasions that just talking to them like they’re real people helps (not as much as a hot sandwich), and it reminds me of just how closed off we’ve become in this wonderful age of technology.
Every year thanks to technology the words getting smaller, and people are able to make a different with just a click on supporting refugee sites and pages. I am not cynical when it comes to the advancements we’ve made, I am completely in awed at how far we’ve come in such a short distance, but the confluence between society and technology seems a little mismatched at times.
Never before have we been so accountable and capable as an individual, nor reliable as a species. We can help each other, even if it’s just taking the time to talk to someone who has so little. I take a lot for granted, I can’t deny that fact, but I also know when to acknowledge that we can do more.
I am excited to see what 2017 brings for me, and I can say that I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family, a supportive and understanding (as much as she can) partner, and a chance to do something that matters to me. I know that not everyone has that support network, or opportunity, but for those of us who like to say we’ll do it tomorrow, start now. People will come along and tell you how to think, what’s right, and how you should be, but as long as you try it will be a good year.
In other news it’s also my Father’s birthday. When i first told him that I wanted to start a blog, where i’d point all of my crazy behaviour on him, he told me that wasn’t fair “Your Mother was the one who let you dress up as a bear for six months”. He’s right of course, and in their own ways both are to blame me for being the man I am today, but as he hates it when I talk about him in a nice way (He’s your typical Alpha-Male northerner) I have to.
This is a man who would spend his time with a head in a book, dressed in his usual red plaid shirt, and large animal slippers. He taught me that while it was important to think and speak my mind, to do so and make people laugh was the best feeling of all.
My memories of him were always a mixture between passionate words I couldn’t quite understand at such an early age, and him kicking his feet in the air as he read his book. He would tell me to read, in that parental way all children know is a way to get you to do something that might involve work, so i’d tell him i didn’t want to read, and proceeded to read in secret.
He always seemed to know the right thing to do whenever I struggled to grasp the complexity of people, mostly he’d just listen and give me a hug, which as a Englishman in 2017 is still rather strange.
Since I first decided to pass up a career in the Equestrian field (Which took me a degree and several years and bruised bones to acquire) and go after my dream of writing for a living, my Father has always been the first to ask to read it. Even when it’s terrible, which first drafts always are (Sorry new writers), he would always tell me what he liked and it helped.
We’ve had out issues over the years, and once or twice had some titanic conflicts, but as i’ve matured and moved away from pleasing people and going after what makes me happy, we’ve developed something that has strengthened my resolve and pushed me to keep going.