Empathise

A few days before the EU referendum vote, someone close to me said that they were probably going to vote Leave. I was flabbergasted.

First, I could see no logical reason for it. They were intelligent, comfortably middle class, apparently liberal-minded and entirely unaffected by immigration. There was no protest to be had. When pressed, they spoke of ‘tradition’ and ‘British values’. I was lost for words.

That person changed their mind at the last minute and voted Remain. But my eyes had been opened. It made me realise that far more people (and types of people) than I thought possible simply did not think like me. As the reality of Brexit emerged, I saw that England specifically was and is at least half full of people who lack empathy.

I’m being generous when I say that the Brexit vote had undertones of racism and xenophobia. The US election and Trump in particular has taken those things to the next level, made them very public and thrown in a deeply repulsive dose of misogyny and homophobia too.

It has been and will always be disgusting. Truly deplorable.

I’ve found myself increasingly fascinated by the US election over the last couple of months. I’ve watched a lot of Youtube. I’ve read a lot of think pieces. Even before the result, I thought about how happy I was that my children are not yet old enough to understand what’s happened. I don’t know how I’d be able to explain.

Trump is terrifying, no doubt. Even more scary for me, as we saw in the UK only a few months ago, is how many people seem to care so little about other human beings. How completely unable they are to even try to understand or put themselves in the shoes of people who are not like them.

So, what now? I’m not sure. Some people in the US will be heavily affected and rightfully afraid. I’d say we’re more than a little anxious over here too. If you feel politicised and ready to speak up and campaign, that’s a constructive use of any anger or energy you currently feel. I have friends who’ve been inspired to take similar action.

I’m trying to do two things. First, to vastly reduce the amount of rolling news I allow into my life. I’d like to find a way to stay well-informed, but without letting the relentless bullshit impact my mind and mood. I need to let less in and put more out.

Which leads me to point two. Writing, music and all forms of art are built on the idea that it is good and right to explore the other. To try and see then show the world through other people’s eyes. I’m not really sure what else to do right now but hold on tight to that notion. And to do the following.

Read, listen, watch, create, share. Empathise.

Everything Burned

The EU referendum and the absolute carnage it has created in the UK has been on everyone’s minds. It’s impossible to escape.

I’ve wanted to write about the situation, but found it very difficult to articulate how I feel. I’m just so angry, dumbfounded that a group of incompetent politicians, born into wealth and blinded by ego, have waltzed our country into so much economic uncertainty. It’s truly unforgivable.

There are so many blog posts and opinion pieces on what has happened. So instead I’ve written a story.

I published it in the latest issue of Shelflife – my weekly newsletter.

You can read it here too.

You can find out more about Shelflife right here.

Every fortnight, I send a collection of interesting links from around the web, some thoughts of my own and short, original fiction. It's completely free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

#159: Red Horses

In the last ever episode of the Write for Your Life podcast, me and Donna talk about our feelings as the show is ending, as well as potential book titles for equally potential erotic novels. We also fill in a few gaps in both our writing stories.

Visit the page for episode 159 on 5by5 to listen, subscribe and find show notes.

A huge, ginormous thank you for listening to the show over the years. Watch this space for what's next.

#158: Plough Your Own Furrow

So this is it. The first of our two final episodes of the Write for Your Life podcast. We discuss our decision to end the show at length and touch on some of the reasons behind it. We also answer a range of listeners' questions that sees us cover my pre-Christmas 'writing retreat', our long-term writing aims and the concept of writing 'greatness'. Pop your headphones on. Listen up.

Visit the page for episode 158 on 5by5 to listen, subscribe and find show notes.

#157: Frantic Underachievers

In this episode of the Write for Your Life podcast, me and Donna talk about Author Day and whether publishers really care about us writers, social media and its various pressures and problems, taking your audience with you on your journey, and the idea of wasting time and being better at it!

Visit the page for episode 157 on 5by5 to listen, subscribe and find show notes.

#155: We Want Our Poems Back

Episode 155 of the Write for Your Life podcast is available now. Topics include Donna's two-person book club, The Martian, Matt Damon's Face, my favourite album, the concept of favourites in general, Game of Thrones (again), poetry and plagiarism, writing manifestos and reader entitlement. There is plenty to chew on.

Want to talk to us about the show? Use the hashtag #wfyl on Twitter and feel free to mention us both. I'm @iainbroome and Donna is @theflyingpoet.

Visit the page for episode 155 on 5by5 to listen, subscribe and find show notes.

#154: Iguana Thumbs

The Write for Your Life podcast is back! After six months on maternity leave (mainly Donna), we return with a wide-ranging show that includes the end of nudes in Playboy, the end of e-readers, physiotherapy and daily exercise, being a different podcast, book clubs for two, and author parties and bowel movements. It's sure nice to be back.

Visit the page for episode 154 on 5by5 to listen and find show notes. And don't forget to subscribe to the show in iTunes.