Talking Philosophy with the cold caller

So yesterday, a young man knocked on my door.  I live in the suburbs and work from home, so his happens from time to time.  I always answer the door, because about half the time, it’s the postie delivering something and I really don’t want to have to go to the post office to pick it up.  Occasionally, it’s even a friend or neighbour!  But often, it’s someone who wants me to do or buy something (and yes, I consider changing electricity providers as ‘buying something’).

flowers

Beautiful photo courtesy of my friend, Alexandra Oke, Soprano (multi-talented human)

If they are collecting for a charity, I consider the request.  If they are kids selling school fundraising chocolates or the like, I buy some.  (It’s only neighbourly and I am, after all, a writer.  Coffee and chocolate are necessary adjuncts to the creative process.)  If they open with ‘I’m not selling anything,’ they get short shrift, as I object to being lied to.  (The politeness or otherwise of the short shrift depends on whether they let me get a word in edgewise and how well the writing was going before they interrupted.) Continue reading

Feel Good February

Further to my post on Thursday, here’s a primer for how to do some good in your community.

feel-good-feb-2

This graphic came from my new friends at Feel Good February.  A friend put me on to them the other day I thought it was a fabulous idea.  The graphic below explains the concept, but you might want also to visit their website or Facebook page. Continue reading

Fighting the good fight without going mad

So Donald Trump is the President of the United States and a lot of people are very frightened.

I am a student of history (literally, I studied it at university) and I see very alarming parallels between the actions of the Trump administration and the early days of Hitler and the Nazis.  I’m not alone in this. The tweet below went viral this week, because many people can see the same similarities.

holocaust-museum

I am worried about where this is going and I am worried about what is happening right now. Continue reading

Encouraging change. Or, how not to be a dick about things that matter

Okay, I’m going to make myself unpopular here, I’m sure.  Because these days, it seems that everyone has a cause and the way they show their social responsibility is by being a giant pain in the arse about it. And dog help anyone who dares to suggest that they should get off their soapbox for a second.  But I’m still under the influence of the Honesty Ferret, so what the hell, I’m going to suggest exactly that. (At some length, too, because it’s taken me a while to tease out these ideas, so consider yourself warned!)

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am the last person to say that one shouldn’t have ideals, causes and campaigns.  As someone concerned about the environment, poverty, women’s rights and social justice – and far from quiet about any of those issues – it would be very hypocritical of me to say anything of the sort.

And I’m not going to mention a certain person, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there are changes happening in the corridors of power in 2017 that are making a lot of people very edgy.

But I’m here to say that it’s precisely because there are important issues in the balance – vital issues, matters of life and death – that we have to be nice to each other. When the world appears to be going mad, we HAVE to find ways to talk to each other, even when it seems we are on opposite sides of a chasm.

Let me explain.

I think that, if you truly want to change something – a big complicated something that requires a society-wide change – you need to change people’s hearts and minds.  Continue reading

Ebook or Paper? You Decide!

Every now and again, the ‘battle’ between ebooks and paper books rears its head again, in the columns of media outlets with slow news days on their hands.  I think, as I have always thought, that it’s kind of silly, so I wrote a silly thing in response.  If silly is your jam, I think you’ll enjoy it.  🙂

Ladieeees and Gentledudes!  It’s here!  What you’ve all been waiting for!

The stoush of the century, the showdown to beat all showdowns, the take-no-prisoners death match of all time!

In the red corner, we have the champion, the old faithful, the never-beaten, bastion of taste and quality, the protector of all that is good in storytelling, the… PRINT BOOK!

And in the blue corner, the upstart challenger, the take-on-all-comers, cheap and cheerful bringer of the apocalypse the… E-BOOK!

It’s going to be an epic battle, one for the ages, so settle in and…

“Excuse me…”

The man with the microphone halted abruptly, startled into silence by a tug on his sleeve.  He wouldn’t normally have been put off his stride by a trifle, but this was no normal tug.  The hand on his sleeve was made of words.  Or, more accurately, one word.  The word ‘hand’, swelled in some places and twisted in others to make a workable finger and opposable thumb.  It was supported by the word ‘arm’, elongated to cover the distance between him and the screen of the e-reader in the blue corner.

He rubbed his eyes, but the hand didn’t go away.  Then he heard the voice again.

“I think you might be misrepresenting our relationship.”

There could be no mistake.  The voice was coming from the e-reader.

Continue reading

What I learned in 2016

US Two 409

This year, I have discovered that roses reward even a small amount of care with great beauty.  Which, come to think of it, is a good metaphor for the self-care I talk about below.

If I had to boil down 2016 into a single lesson, for the world at large, as well as for me, it would be that you shouldn’t take anything for granted.  Life can knock you down, knock you sideways or just end, when you are least expecting it.  So cling to the things you care about and fight for them!

But it also taught me, personally, a bunch of other things.  These are the ones that come to mind this hot January afternoon…

Continue reading