Weekly Ramble #117

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while and now I feel ready to let it out because over the years of being a published author, on my own back, I have come to realise there is nothing worse than gate keeping. As my profile has grown on social media a certain portion of folks in the same industry as me have very obviously not appreciated that growth or successthere aren’t that many of them because the mute button is a wonderful thing but as a reader of tenure and a writer who knows dialogue, I can tell through those words and interactions you have on social media that your stance is of old bullshit gatekeeping. Old words as I call them and I call myself New words. This isn’t an age thing but more of a ‘I’ve been around longer than you so I am entitled’ type of deal.

Anyone who works hard and keeps going deserves success that should not be governed by anything other than that work and yes that may sound naïve to an extent but that is how I have got to this point along with wonderful support on here and across social media. I’m loud and proud about all the good things I have achieved because there have been more crap days than good. I have always tried to embrace the good and block out the bad with my ‘carry on regardless attitude’ and for it I have reached that success.

When I do share that success with an aim to help or at least inspire, there are normally two reactions.

‘That’s awesome, thanks for sharing, I’m glad to see someone doing better than they were yesterday’

Or and looking at me down their nose ‘How did you do that? I tried all the things you do and get nowhere near the success you’ve had.’

That’s because you’re an asshole and I’m not. Sometimes on here I will just lay it out plainly. This is my patch and I’ll treat it that way. My core philosophy is to support and help others on their writing journey while trying to carve my own path to some success. More importantly I am open to anyone being successful in writing regardless of who they are as long as they work hard and have manners. It sometimes isn’t what you do or say it is how you do or say it – execution.

In the arts and in many other places, gatekeeping is unfortunately rife. For some weird reason it has always been who you are that defines your success and not what you produce – something I will always try to fight. In the literary world particularly I near enough every day see some snooty literary wannabe type looking down their nose at those who might not appear to fit within their ‘standards’ or the ‘standards’ that have been around since the dinosaurs ruled the earth. Art is supposed to be interpreted by the individual so let that interpretation happen.

You can tell by my tone that this is quite an emotionally charged subject but it hasn’t been motivated by anything in particular I just see quite often folks appear to look down on me or have to question things – whether it is jealousy or the fact I am more successful than them without a single literary qualification, although I have nothing against anyone who has studied in the field of English/Literature or anyone who has been around longer than me. Perhaps it just ruffles their feathers but you cannot beat a good attitude and hard work over time – that will always always win. I don’t sit within any group or clique in particular, I’m a lone wolf just doing my own thing just comparing myself to yesterday’s version of me. You’ll find me supporting books and art that gatekeepers try to shoot down because if I can find something in that art which I enjoy, then that is enough. Those that do follow me on here and around the socials are mostly decent and none of this is aimed at you. I write one spicy ramble a year and this is that one.

I long for a day where the art and the art alone will do the talking. Being ‘someone’ should not be the sole reason why an artist has success.

Don’t take this personally but I probably won’t be approving any comments on this post, as I said, my patch.

‘A Diary in the Age of Water’ by Nina Munteanu – Review

A truly important once in a generation read that flows like a wild river right through your imagination and heart.

This captivating book doesn’t hold back in presenting readers with the potentially damning path humanity is going to take and how we might lose our most important resource; water. You’ll find the subject of water flowing everywhere in a story that is sometimes heart wrenching but also wonderfully informing, it’s metaphoric, symbolic and even a character.

Everything that surrounds the subject of water or limnology as it’s technically defined has been woven into a wonderfully researched plethora of information and fiction. Fact and fiction merge flawlessly in this story that takes readers on a dramatic and eye opening voyage. Just what will this planet be like after our footprint has done all the damage it can do? Well that’s how this story starts in what appears to be a far off time after this world has healed itself from us.

We are then taken back to how we got there and the years much closer to our present through the eyes of a Canadian woman who relays her years from childhood to retirement. From the inspiration and spirit of her mother all the way to her daughter growing up in a world of water rationing and stricter controls. This tale of motherhood is just part of a rich story all told through these diary entries which all begin with some wonderful definitions that relate to the ecology of water and the nature of our wider planet – there is information everywhere and all of it points towards us failing to preserve our most precious resource. It began to open my eyes and also pierce my heart that we seem to be wasting and slowly destroying this planet’s eco systems that all provide us with life. The politics behind water are particularly on point in relating to today’s leaders and corporations but it’s not just empty statements or finger pointing to bad leaders. This book stands up and in the face of those who do not care for our ecological future, for that it’s one of the most important books of a generation.

“it will slip through their fingers. That’s what water does…”

There always seems to be a big time corporation pulling the strings for control and that’s the same in this situation which as the diary moves forward in time so does the struggle. From mass droughts to the technological advances of weather control to even punishing those who collect rain water, this future is both a potential reality and also quite scary. History is being erased or adjusted to suit the less informed society who are ignorant to the struggle. It also maintains this story of a mother concerned for her daughter, a parental tale much like what is going on in the world and future, sometimes you have to just let the next generation go. Perhaps we are too busy trying to save ourselves when really we should be focused on the place we live.

“We’re turning into migrants, condemned to wander the earth in search of a nirvana that doesn’t exist, all because we didn’t treasure the nirvana we had…”

Nina Munteanu has put together a story about the pitfalls of humanity while also being wonderfully informative and inspirational towards highlighting the importance of preserving our water and wider planet. It’s beautifully original, modern and even patriotic in some senses which tells me the author proudly cares immensely about a story where there is so much more underneath the shimmering surface.

5 Stars – Exceptional, relevant and important. This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Erase history, erase the lesson…

France – June 10th 1944 

On a sunny Saturday in a rural farm village known as Oradour-sur-Glane 642 innocent people were massacred by the German 2nd Waffen SS Panzer division. They just turned up out of the blue that morning. Women and children were herded to the local church and then grenades were thrown through the windows. The men were split up and put in the many barns that surrounded the area. Those barns were set alight and any one trying to escape were immediately shot. The small peaceful village was then practically levelled by German grenades and fires. A harrowing tale of unnecessary violence toward fellow man. War has always been the same and the survivors were less than 10.

Instead of bulldozing the wreckage, it was decided that a new town be built very nearby and the current remains left as a reminder, as a monument of the harrowing destruction and loss of life war brings upon this world. And trust me, I know this because I have been there twice, and it’s poignant, quiet and sombre. You can feel the atmosphere among the silence. The still charred stone of buildings along the high street. A doctors car still left with it’s door open, rusted and sunken into the ground. The church, now without a roof or stained glass in the window frames. Bullet holes in the walls and many more plastered over a WW1 monument. The museum that straddles the monument puts everything into context, without it, maybe the place would be wrongly conceived as just a ruin, because new generations forget, but within those crumbled bricks and a growth covered tram line is the truth of what history really serves, a reminder and lesson of where humanity went once, and a hope that we can learn from it.

Oradour-sur-Glane, France: Remember. – Rick Steves' Travel Blog

Statues fall and so does the lesson…

Every now and then a moment in history moves many people toward a desire for change. As humans we should always be trying to better ourselves. Regimes fall and over time they are forgotten mostly, or at least their context is. Those people who died on that sunny Saturday are forever immortalised by the wreckage of their home which serves as a monument. If the French authorities were to tear down this monument, or if a mob of protesters looking for change suddenly invaded it, then there would be public outcry.

I see the news and what is going on right now. I can only think the same thing when I see these mobs tearing down statues, some of people who serve important moments in our history. There is no thought, just spray paint and tear it down. Of course some of these statues represent people and a time far gone. Slavery or even genocide, people who probably shouldn’t be paraded in public places, but removing that statue and that name entirely is erasing history. Erase the history and you erase the lesson and again we lose our humanity. 

Not for one moment should you think I agree with these statues and what they stand for morally once upon a time, I agree that they should stand as a reminder of where we were and where we are now. Like Oradour-sur-Glane in 1999 they opened that museum and gave everything some context, because people of that age were rapidly passing away, time takes away good people and memories of a certain time.

Put these statues in museums with some context beside them. People have lost reasoning because there is no context and they are desperate to see something done. Why is there a statue of this person? And more importantly why was it re homed to this particular exhibit.

You keep the history, you keep the lesson and eventually you reinstate humanity. I know what happened recently is terrible. And Black Lives Matter very much so, even more now than ever because racism needs to be stamped out and we can only do that via education and history. I’m 100% with everyone who’s feeds have become activist feeds recently, keep flying that flag, keep being proud to call bullshit on racism, but remember the history that got us here and view it in the context of modern day. This year alone has been the true test of humanity and we need it more than ever!