I think we’re all aware that these are very dynamic if not outright volatile times in politics and that we’re deeply divided into camps. People feel the need to speak out and – whether well informed and polite or raging and ignorant – discussions often seem to reach an impasse.
I’ve been rightfully told I might lose readers over voicing political opinions. Yet, I wonder if that’s important at all. I believe that what some people call my political colouring (whatever that is), that colouring will find itself in my writing one way or another. How you portray the poor or the rich, the privileged and the disadvantaged, how you show human conflict and dilemmas – all that gives your attitude towards others and society in general away.
I don’t consider myself right or left necessarily. You wouldn’t find me in an anarchist bar, nor at a neo-Nazi rally. I side with evidence and reason and drift in both directions from a firm centre position. Still, I find myself called leftie when speaking to the right, and rightish when speaking to people from the left.
Celebrating diversity, integration and tolerance will be integral part of all my work, compassion and reaching out are what I strive to capture in my novels, which are humanitarian values, not political ones.
Now to the second criticism I got recently, which was that I was using politics to sell my novels. (That one did amuse me, because I had just heard that I would lose readers, not gain them through politics.)
The thing is that I don’t write primarily to make money, nor expect to make the bestseller lists. I write novels because I want to tell the stories and in some cases, because I want to send out a message. These messages will probably all fall in a political camp, one way or another, although I personally see them more as humanitarian. For every reader gained through this, I risk to lose one or two in exchange.
I am a writer because I care. I write those novels and messages to maybe help changing perspectives and make the world a better place, in the little way that I can. I’m not promoting policies on taxation or welfare in my books but very basic values. I’ve written about the holocaust not to make a quick buck as someone suggested – wouldn’t I be writing romance and vampire books in that case anyway? – but to make sure we don’t forget and learn from the past. To share what I learned myself.
Taking positions, such as standing up for Muslims, Jews, the disabled, the mentally ill, for fairness, equality and freedom shouldn’t be regarded as political. Through human history it wasn’t just politicians who influenced the world but people in the limelight (and outside of it) who had the guts to stand up and show opposition, show those in need of support that they were not alone, those discriminated that there are people who don’t agree with it, show others that they care. Silence can be read as agreeing and infers complicity.
If the above mentioned values of mine now are left and liberal territory, then there has been a shift to the right that puts me into a corner I haven’t actively sought to be in.
My message today is to be yourself and to stand up for what is right. In times where simple 140 character messages become the answer to highly complex issues, we need to take a step back and analyse, take a breather before shouting outlandish demands and simplistic or simplifying ideas that mask the problem instead of solving it. We need to stop our selfish instincts and not lose our humanity and compassion.
If this is political or wrong to you, you’re unlikely to enjoy my writing. If you hear my voice, then you’re probably already familiar with my views, and being still here, you are likely to at least mildly agree with them. The reason that I say all this again is so that my voice is being heard amidst the voices saying the opposite. Let the hate fuelled shouts not be the only ones filling the air.
Have a wonderful Monday. Here are the final words of Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life”
“Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
[And, finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which it seems is the only way these days to get the jaded, video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment? Bollocks. What they want is filth: people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats. Where’s the fun in pictures? Oh, well, there we are. Here’s the theme music. Goodnight]”