Finding Hope

Just been to THE most inspiring and amazing talk I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. It was by Dustin Lance Black, at the Oxford Union. I had thought about maybe leaving early to go and finish coursework, and boy am I glad I stayed. I met him and Tom Daley beforehand, and immediately felt him to be an incredibly wise, grounded, experienced presence. I can see what Tom sees in him: he’s almost magnetic in his immense interestingness. He answered my question about advice for writers; championing individuality over commercially popular routes or genres of writing.

Then came the talk. He held a moment’s silence for the Manchester Arena attack of last night, which set the tone for an hour that held in it all the gravitas, and, importantly, hope, of a speech of one of the world’s most famous activists of times both past and present. He said it’s more important than ever that we come together and feel equal, but also that it’s time to hit out at those who don’t celebrate togetherness, *cough* Trump, and never to give in to fear. He addressed us all with such poise, never faltering his words, never doubting his argument or his purpose. He told us about the importance of stories, telling a few of his own along the way, including his first introduction to the word ‘homosexuality’, and his move to California, his first insights into what great leadership is (power and belief, passion and grace) and when his mother, a conservative Southern, Mormon woman, first truly accepted him for who he was, after his gay friends had told her their honest stories. He told us that the way to make change was to speak from the heart, to show people something through the power of anecdotal evidence, rather than argumentative and violent words or actions. He told us that you have to be yourself, as no one is like you; if you want to be a successful writer you can play the game, but once you’ve shown what you can do you should do your hardest to push what you actually love writing, to show that you’re the only person who can write that thing and write it well. He told us that you must be passionate about change, and not become complacent if something doesn’t affect you. He told us that in order to create diversity, you need a diverse team, sometimes comprised of unlikely allies, to create it. He told us his life story, and gave us hope for ours.

He addressed us as students of Oxford, showing us that, although we’ll come away from here with amazing knowledge and experiences, what’s really important is empathy, passion and curiosity. I asked him how to stand up to your peers, and those close to you with whom you may disagree, especially as there’s a rise at the moment of conservatism in those a bit younger than us. He told me to be patient as they inevitably have a reason to believe the thing they do, and that being ‘right’ isn’t everything. He told us that we shouldn’t help people to have their deserved rights because it’s charitable or the politically correct thing to do, but that it gives us power. Power against those who set out to create division and fear. It’s one step closer to a world that is ‘we’, and not lots of separate groups of ‘us’ (a paraphrase). He even had hope, as movements nowadays are comprised of black and white, gay and straight, male and female, showing that rights are no longer the main goal, but equality for all, fought for by all.

Above all, he taught me to push for what I believe in. There’s no point waiting for someone else to do it because you could end up doing it best. Classic me, but I couldn’t help a Harry Potter quote floating through my head: “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”


new beginnings

Welcome all to my brand new blog!

This is my second blog – I was a somewhat haphazard blogger until a year and a half ago, so I’ve had a prolonged absence from the world of blogging. How I’ve missed it! (Note how when you say the word ‘blog’ too often it begins to sound odd)

My old blog (there it goes again) had no particular format; it was mainly centred around my tendency towards random rants and over-detailed descriptions of the many embarrassing situations I’ve unnecessarily got myself into in the past. It may indeed transpire that this one will be much the same, but I’ll definitely attempt to make it as interesting/varied as possible along the way.

It seems fitting to call this post ‘new beginnings’, and, indeed, to start a new blog, as I’m currently in the interim between my last day of school and my last school exams. I’ll hopefully be starting uni later this year; AKA a massive new beginning *much much excitement*.

Now, I should quickly present you all with a disclaimer, the kind that you always accept without reading so that you can carry on with your enjoyment (this is a self-assured assumption that you’ll actually want to continue reading this blog, and I accept, dear reader, that that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case!!… although it would be v nice if it were). The aforementioned disclaimer reads thus: (how Shakespearean of me)

  1. there will be lots of really bad jokes  – brace yourselves
  2. I will talk about reading, and books…a lot (who can really blame me though?!)
  3. my posts will be irregular – I am currently revising for my A-Levels, so please bear with me if I don’t make a stellar post on a routine basis
  4. it will almost certainly take me a while to figure out the main subject matter of the blog – I may never come up with a set one…
  5. prepare yourselves also for a plentiful amount of random, interesting (debatable I suppose) grammatical/linguistic facts: for example, cast your lovely eyes back to point 3, and see the word ‘bear’. Despite my status as an English student and affirmed vocab nerd, I had to double take over the spelling of that word – was it ‘bear’ or ‘bare’? I promptly searched it into good ol’ Google, and an answer came up stating that it was ‘bear’, and that asking someone to ‘bare’ with you would be equivalent to asking them to undress! With you! Shock horror! Too British! Such cheeky! How will we cope!

So there you have it. I hope you can put up with my slightly erratic and odd writing style, and that you’ll come on this highly metaphorical blog journey with me (I stress the metaphorical, because, let’s face it, I’m not actually going to be going anywhere/doing actual exercise when writing am I, unless I become the all-time literary-lifestyle multitasking champion*)

Thanks for reading,

Until next time!


PS: the photo I’ve attached is from a recent trip to Germany, of a particularly aesthetically pleasing lake. And, to be honest, that’s the only reason I put it with this post. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Perhaps this should be a regular addition to my posts? An utterly irrelevant photo? Excellent idea me!

*challenge accepted (and not just for me – other mystery writer friend, you know who you are)