It took a long time for me to realise that I'm an unusually sensitive person. I assumed that everyone else could see the pain in that woman’s smile, or sense the loneliness rising at the bus-stop, or feel the despair of a dying forest like a long shuddering collapse of life force.
It took me even longer to realise sensitivity was not a weakness - as society had claimed - but a strength. Not only am I drawn to create but I am particularly sensitised to the human condition and the condition of life. My job is to reveal, through story, through witnessing, and I cannot be a fiction writer without being an activist in some sense.
With the challenges around us, it is easy to pull down the blind. I for one cannot think too much of the current world or I just become less productive. But issues find me. They fall in my lap. I read an article and my entire being is electrified and I dive into research.
Take nukes. Americans are building a missile-bomb 20 times more powerful than Hiroshima. Each of these missiles can travel 6,000 miles, and kill hundreds of thousands of people. The US Air Force plans to order 600*. Step by step gradual mutual disarmament and verification/monitoring is not a pipe dream - it is a realisable goal. It will take time but we can have a nuclear free world. It is our voice that is missing.
The fossil fuel industry is destroying our very home, and life as we know it. Fossil fuel executives have known for decades the consequences for the climate and have used the tactics of the tobacco industry** to prevent change. Many of us unwittingly swallow their subterfuge, and vote for their politicians.
We have much more power than we think. When we accept the 'hopeless' narrative (a narrative employed by those who benefit), we hand to the profiteers of destruction just what they want - the disempowered weary watching cat videos. Nothing against cat videos mind, nor Netflix binges. But if we don't engage in the world around us, we may well lose it.
Those who profit from harm, do not want us to hope, to stand, to collaborate, to build a cleaner, kinder future. They don't want us to get off our sofas.
But is that truly who we are and what we are capable of? Even after all I have seen, there is only one answer, and I feel deeply inspired when I think of the world, enough of us, can create, together.
At my desk, I work on my craft and enjoy where it takes me, and I hope one day, someone is inspired by what I write. If I can pull that off, then I can really laugh and really play and maybe even fall in love again. But I dream of looking in the public’s eye and seeing people alive, aware, clear, human, and conscious of the love between us all. We are not fodder. We are not anaesthetised. We are not divided. We see what you are doing. And that’s not the world we want.