Black Lives Matter – Helping, links to resources

I might not like writing about politics, but I don’t think people with a platform can afford not to at the moment. Unless you’re already a millionaire, or a member of the rentier class, we’ve all got something at stake, but some groups have far more at stake. Their lives, for instance. 

There are lots of ways that you can help the Black Lives Matter movement, so I’m going to put a big list of the resources that I’ve found useful over the last week or two down below, and hopefully they’ll be useful to you, too.

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In which I make a reading list

I haven’t been thinking about much today; I’ve been pedal to the metal writing, (3000 words before lunch! All junk, but eh, who cares;  some of it was good, and it felt great to make something). 

I have been thinking about the books that I want to read, however. I think this has something to do with the fact that I’m not enjoying my current read. It’s teaching me a lot; about what I value in books, about my aesthetic tastes vs Murakami’s, so I’m going to continue for now. I won’t be re-reading it like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – it’s just too big.

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In which we get a little fermented

Short one today; it’s been a long day.

I was in a terrible mood earlier; I spent hours this morning trying to get Gmail to let me access two email inboxes from the one account. After trying every troubleshooting guide I could find, it just seemed to work, with no explanation a little while later. I’ll just chalk it up to… I dunno… witchcraft?

The one thing that never fails to cheer me up, however, is It’s Alive! with Brad Leone. I watched the most recent one where he ferments mushrooms and it’s both a great idea and hilarious. Brad’s full of energy and enthusiasm for the stuff that he’s making, and the show has developed a really off-beat sense of humour that I really love. If you’re into food, do it at home and mad science, it’s probably for you. That said, if you’re into food at all, all of the Bon Apetit videos are great.

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In which the Twitter addiction sinks its claws in

Last week I said good bye to Twitter for good. It’s been on the cards for about a year and a half; at one point I deleted the account and then signed back up about six months later. I’ve been on some sort of social media for the last… thirteen or fourteen years? Maybe a little bit more? and it’s taken this long for me to come to the conclusion that it’s just not for me. I don’t get any enjoyment out of it, I’ve never really been able to utilise it to boost my actual creative outlets (like this blog) and I can’t seem to use it in a healthy way. I’m either scrolling in a mindless, addictive way, or I’m getting furious at the garbage other people have posted. The last few years I’ve noticed it has a negative impact on my mental health – being signed up to one of those services and using it regularly creates a back ground anxiety buzz in my life that, really, no one needs. I haven’t used my account for about three or four months, except for occasional check-ins, so I decided it was time. Time for the final social media account I own to go the way of the dodo.

Since then it’s entirely been on my mind. It’s the strangest thing. I went weeks without thinking about it, and now it’s gone, it keeps bubbling up in my thoughts. ‘Hey, I wonder what’s happening on Twitter?’ ‘Hm, I’ve got a spare five minutes while the kettle boils and the tea brews; download the Twitter app and see what’s going on!’

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In which I write a letter

Dear Reader,

I hope this finds you well. I hope you’re living a pleasant life under quarantine, and that your biscuit tin is never empty.

Since your last letter, I completed another scene of Halo of Flies. It’s going fairly well, I’m building up a nice momentum that doesn’t feel too strenuous to maintain, and I’m enjoying the writing itself. I’ve always loved coming up with worlds for people to inhabit; I think that’s why fantasy has always appealed so strongly. I’ve been thinking about this world for so long that it’s good to have people to finally inhabit it. If I can maintain my current pace, I should have the first draft completed by the 22nd of June. Mark the date on your calendar and if I haven’t completed it by then, you’ve my permission to give me a good ticking off.

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In which I hesitate to write about politics

I hesitate to write about politics. It makes people (including me), fairly angry, a lot of the time, and when you have strong opinions about something, it doesn’t necessarily engender good thinking or good writing. You have to be much more careful to reign yourself  in and examine your assumptions. In the first draft of this I referred to a certain political appointee as a professional asshole, and while I think that’s true, I recognise that it’s an opinion. Opinions are like professionals assholes, in that politics is already rife with them. See? I did it again. I just can’t help myself.

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Real life Lord of the Flies

It’s easy to imagine that William Golding’s Lord of the Flies speaks to what really lies at the heart of the human temperament, and that really, all of us are a single disaster away from becoming animals again. It’s certainly what motives lots of the prepper mindset, and I should think, lots of capitalist thinking. Rutger Bergman says that might not be the case. He went on the hunt for a real life Lord of the Flies, and found one.

I’m fascinated by this kind of thing; you only have to look at human history to see that we’re capable of truly horrifying things. There are also examples of the opposite; I haven’t done any serious research, but it’s an interesting question. Is there a definable ‘human nature’ we can pin down, and if there is, is it good or bad? Or is that far too simplifying, and in reality, depending on the conditions humans have the potential to be either? I’m curious.