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  • Writer's pictureMike Gould

Firing up

Gosh. My last blog post was in July, so something happened, or more accurately didn't happen. How did I become blocked in this my most personal but also most public space? What condition of stasis did I enter?

I think anger has something to do with it. As we approach the Christmas season, my thoughts always turn naturally to Dickens and how he came to write 'A Christmas Carol' as a way to strike a blow against the complacency of inaction he saw all around him. But I think I slowly slipped into a parallel mode of hopelessness. Hopelessness allied to anger. Because while I'm firing off angry tweets, writing to my MP, shaking my pen at the bosses of Southern Water or our feckless and lazy PM, it also feels like I'm doing nothing. I'm not blocking roads; I'm not digging tunnels; I'm not door-stepping the bosses of the fossil-fuel businesses.

There is a fundamental question to answer. Is this just me? Is this a personality flaw? Because I'm quite good at getting other stuff done: expediting work projects, cajoling fellow-writers, designing concepts for new books or plays, or delivering whatever is on my plate at the time. But real change defeats me. And while it's nice to point to a student who might have found my books helpful or a teacher who finds one of my approaches to learning useful, is this enough when the checks and balances of a life are added up? Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing general kindness to others, or questioning the value of living your life unselfishly. All I'm asking is how to do more? How do I free myself from the materiality of my own life - and step outside it and into a sort of new one?

What I do know is that I have been running away from action for five months, and my silence on this blog is evidence of that. I hope that by the next time I commit words to screen, I will have settled on a path which will not erase anger, but instead use it as a fuel to light a fire.

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