Hello, blog-botherers, and apologies for the lack of blogging recently. I've been neck deep in novel but I've sent it out to play for a while now. I just thought I'd come on here and wish you all a happy new year, and to say that what I'd really like for new year is something new. I don't mean a new dress or a new phone or a new book to read. I'd like something where I go - ooh, I haven't seen that before! I mean, something actually NEW.
I know I've grumbled about this before but I feel a certain stuckness out in the world. A sort of political, cultural stuckness. I'm fed up of reading the newspapers because they all seem to sing the same tune. Right-wing, 'everything is terrible, and it has to be because people have been bad.' Left-wing 'everything is terrible, and what's terrible is we can't do a thing about it'. I'm fed up of politicians: 'Everything is terrible, because it has to be in order to stop everything being terrible. PS you deserve it.'
Another thing I've ranted about before is that many stories seem to be the same thing all the time. Now there's a limited number of stories to tell but every time I go to the cinema all I seem to be offered is a hero who is a white man with special powers who rescues everybody. I find this endlessly repeated trope pretty dull because I've never seen that happen in real life, and I'm not a white guy, and I live in a network or a web of things and people, which is a lot more complicated. And I just want a bit of acknowledgement of that, since I'm not spending my life waiting for the superhero to stride in and rescue me. I find it all a bit fascistic, frankly.
Also, there's another narrative I see in books and on TV and sometimes left-wing progressive people like it. It's about how everything is terrible (did I mention that before?) and soon we will all be living in the sewers because of the nuclear fall-out/global warning/genetic modification/evil corporations turning us into food, and so on. Bit bored of that, too.
When I go to the bookshop about half the books seem to be about a woman who moves to the country and uncovers some kind of dark secret.Or maybe they aren't, and they just recycle the blurb on the back. But why are all these things so familiar, so comforting, so reused? I'd like to witness something discomforting, just as long as it isn't in the tedious violence-and-cynicism-for-the-sake-of-it vein.
As for art that isn't about anything, don't even get me started on that.
The oddest thing is, it's not ever true, all this doom and gloom. We
are mostly at peace. We are mostly richer than we used to be. We are
able to talk to each other in ways we never did before. And outside the
window, at night, if you look, you can see humans crawling out into
space, like our barely-human ancestors crawled out of the plains at the bottom of the
Rift Valley, and looked around, amazed.
But we don't talk about these things,
and ever say how wonderful it might be, or how terrifying, or what we
might do with these things at our disposal. It's like we frightened ourselves, and won't look at the future, like a cat that's scared of a mirror.
We don't talk about what might happen, or what we should do, at all.
I think that what we've forgotten, is that back in previous decades, things got better because people had ideas about how things might get better. They were like: what if nobody had a leaky roof? And we had two whole days of weekend? What if we built a park, and a library, to do cool stuff in all that free time? What if we got a payrise? What if we governed ourselves, instead of letting those funny foreigners do it? And of course, people thinking about and wanting and trying to get these things caused a lot of upheaval. Some people didn't like the upheaval, and some people got damaged on the way. But up it heaved and some of these things happened. Not because people talked about how everything is shit, but because they talked about how it might be better. And I wonder, when did we stop having those conversations?
I worry that we stopped dreaming.
I want to be told a story I haven't heard before. I want to be told how things might get better, for everybody. I am fed up of living in the dregs of a failed experiment. Of listening to the same voices speaking the same tired ideas. I'd like something amazing and awesome and startling to happen. So there.