Archive for October, 2012

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am in a quandary. I have been mulling a long time about writing something more substantial. I could say time and energy are against me with a demanding but satisfying job and a busy life. However, there are words in my head and I want to try and get them on paper/keyboard.

I did start writing a children’s story a while back and showed a few chapters on the blog – Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three. I know what I want to write and I know the Chapters I added into the blog need work. I have started on this but we are in the early stages.

The question is what to do? Approach a publisher? I know that most publishers are very risk-averse these days, book sales are dropping and new writers are finding it harder than ever to be signed up. This naturally brings me to the dreaded phrase in social media – self publishing 🙂

I don’t want to be the scourge of social media *weeps quietly* but I do have a inkling how this could be a good thing. If I go for self-publishing then I can make sure that at least 50% of any profits go to children’s charities. When I consider how much time I spend nagging folk to donate to charity then isn’t it time I put my money where my words are? Yes, I donate regularly, both monthly and by never passing a collection box, sponsoring etc. However, if I can raise money with my words then I am putting myself out there.

I will still blog, will still nag you all but there will be time spent on putting this book together and seeing where I go. Even if I only raise a few pounds then at least I have tried. I will use Facebook, Twitter, even Linkedin and Google+ to publicise and we will see where we go.

Why post about this today? Simples. I work better when I give myself a deadline. If I say out here that I am going to write then the pressure is on and a little self-imposed stress can be good for one:) I will update periodically on progress but my initial deadline to me if to have it completed by next summer. Research is needed as well as re-writes and more chapters so this should be enough time to spend my weekends on this. Wish me luck folks, I most definitely need it.

Think of me looking like this!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

Advertisements

October 26, 2012 at 9:56 am 2 comments

Hindsight.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am going to link two stories that are hitting the headlines in the UK today. They may not seem to have much in common but to me there is a thread that links them….

Every day for the last week has seen new revelations about Jimmy Savile. For those of you who don’t know the name, he was a famous UK disc jockey who died last year. He had been famous for decades, known for radio and television shows plus his tireless charitable efforts. He was lauded and admired. However, it appears there was a much seedier side to Savile; he was a sexual predator. Many women have come forward to talk about assaults from unwanted touching to rape. There are ongoing investigations, both by police and within the BBC where Savile worked for many decades.

Some have asked why this is happening now, the man is dead and what good does it do. Some women have said that they went to the police years ago but their claims weren’t taken forward. Many who worked within the BBC from the 60s to the 80s and even today have said that inappropriate behaviour was not uncommon. I read about these times being ‘different’, workplace/life cultures have moved on. As someone who has worked from the 70s until now, whether in part-time work while studying or as now, full-time, I know workplace and indeed life cultures have changed.

Before anyone thinks I am an apologist for this – sexual assaults are wrong. I cannot believe that anyone thinks that the decade provides any excuse for that kind of behaviour. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I watched Have I Got News For You this week and agreed to some extent with Ian Hislop – he said that if people were not aware they couldn’t put a stop to it – the media frenzy that the BBC, hospitals and charities should be hung out to dry over this was not right if those organisations were not aware. HOWEVER, from some reports I have seen there were witnesses to at least some of Savile’s assaults. My question to them – did you report it at the time? If you did then thank you. If you didn’t, why the hell not?  When we see something that is wrong we are supposed to do something about it aren’t we? I have little sympathy with the tears of witnesses many years on if they were silent at the time. Yes, Savile was famous and his reputation as a kind man, a tireless worker for charity would have made it exceedingly difficult to go up against. Difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

I then look at the Lance Armstrong story. To get the disclaimer in place early – Lance Armstrong denies all of the allegations contained in the US Anti-Doping Administration (USADA) report about a systematic and thoroughly organised programme of using performance enhancing drugs and other methods to increase performance. Added to the report we now see fellow riders and support staff coming out to talk about the rigorous processes Mr. Armstrong followed to ensure that he was better than the rest; this would appear to also involve not getting caught.

I accept Lance Armstrong has the right to deny the contents of the report and subsequent news coverage. I am though, personally tempted to stand up, point and say ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’. It seems to me that enough people have come forward to at least partially substantiate the report. I will always be a believer in due process and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Because of this I can only say I am tempted to do the liar, liar action.

However, again I say to all those people who are so eager to talk about the transgressions of Lance Armstrong now but said nothing before – wrong, wrong, wrong. I see no noble actions here, just a tawdry and sorry story about the limits people may go to to win and those who would be content to further this aim whilst it might fit their own ends.

My final point – what do we do when we see something wrong? Do we act or do we allow? I like to think I would act and I hope you all would to.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm 2 comments

Power and Reason?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I have been wandering round the news sites again this week. I like to read the news on that Interweb, it allows you to skim some stories and find deeper opinion articles when you are in that frame of mind. One article in particular caught my eye – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19842100, entitled ‘The psychology of the powerful’, interesting stuff.

There were two main threads to the article. First we had the theory that power can (literally?) go to a person’s head. This came from an extract from a speech from psychologist Guy Claxton at the Royal Society of Medicine conference this week. He talked about “a disorder of intelligence”. Mr. Claxton is Professor of learning sciences at the University of Winchester, has written many books and advised multiple organisations on how to help people learn.

He makes some excellent points, I know I don’t do him justice but my take from his words:-

  • When you gain a position of (Government) power you move into a different world. You are the person who decides.  This different world does not have its core in the day-to-day life that the rest of the world inhabits
  • There is a danger that this (cloistered) world gives a different reality wherein the decision-making and not the decision itself can become more important. You must be seen to act and the speed of your action, not the thought processes behind it will take priority
  • Doubt is a key quality in all of us. It makes us explore more angles before making a decision we can stand over. When we lose doubt we can lose clarity. One way to keep doubt fresh is to have friends who will challenge and even mock you.
  • If you don’t have humour or doubt you will lose the ability to see your own flaws. Acknowledge them and accept the new ones that others may point out. If you don’t do this? You will always be right and everyone else will be wrong. That way leads hubris, wonderful word, scary meaning.

Professor Claxton is well worth a Google or two. I particularly liked the two listed below:-

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/professor-guy-claxton/ebacc-life-of-tests-is-no-preparation_b_1890686.html

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/guy-glaxton-education-morality-character/

I did say there were two main points to the article. The second part covers empathy, another wonderful word and one I love. It is the risk from a lack of empathy that was discussed at the Royal Society of Medicine conference. When we like someone their pain becomes our pain, we empathise. Differing levels of status can impact this. Those in power become, by their position, high-status. This can impact the levels of empathy felt for those perceived to be of lower status; a real danger for all politicians. It brings me back to the cloistered world scenario above. A lack of understanding of how policies impact people is, to me, dangerous. The policy becomes all, the people not so much. I know unpleasant decisions have to be taken. Governments cannot hogtie themselves with hand-wringing and agony. However, they need to account for the impacts their decisions will have on normal people.’ The people’ is not an abstract concept, it is you and me. We have to live with the impacts of the decisions that others make, that is the way when you live in a governed society. I know this, I just hope the politicians do too.

Power and reason need to be bedfellows, arrogance and lack of empathy are normally fleeting in first world politics. Hubris is there but in small nuances. But other countries live with the impact of total hubris, where the people matter not at all. There are countries where it is all about the power and nothing about the reason.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment


Calendar

October 2012
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Posts by Month

Posts by Category