Thursday, 25 August 2011

News: I "Published" Something!

I’ve just joined the website “Women’s Views on News”. I am a “co-editor”. My mum was well impressed by that title!

It’s has had a great reception, where “great” means a couple of people on twitter liked it, and all feedback has been positive. I’m really happy about it, I won’t lie.

Now, here’s what I’ve realised from “publishing” my first piece: it hasn’t changed the world.

In my previous post, I mentioned how attending UK FeministaSummer School taught me that it’s not enough to understand something for it to change. It sounds silly because it is. I always knew this on a conscious level, of course I did. But something clicked during that session on reproductive rights: my understanding of an issue does not make the issue go away.

A similar thing happened yesterday: I wrote about something, but the world didn’t change. The problems I addressed (and they weren’t many) are all still there. Somehow my subconscious seemed to convince itself that “once I publish my ideas, the world will change and everything will be much better”. Again, a silly thing to believe, but that’s the delusion my subconscious seemed to be under.

Never fear, though, for my subconscious seems to have come up with a solution: I shall keep writing. Surely after I’ve written lots and lots, the world will change.

I am pointing all this out because I am worried about the mismatch between “knowledge” and “change” that is prevalent in our society. We seem to “know” what is wrong, but we have no idea how to change it.

I don’t have an answer to this dilemma and believe me that in itself has caused me enough suffering. What could be more painful than knowing that your writing is essentially useless? Furthermore, I don’t even know myself how to go on about changing the world. So what good could my writing do if I can’t say to people “this is how we change things”?

What I’ve done is to settle for “explaining” things rather than “informing” people about them. I have always been eager to distance myself from the word “journalist”. I am a writer; I don’t just inform people of what is going on. I want to explain to them the whys and the hows. For instance, we all know that the economy is “effed”, but people don’t seem to know why that is the case, or how we can change it.

I’m beginning to realise that I like explaining politics to people, so who knows? Perhaps that’s what I’ll devote my life to.

And if you have come across a way to deal with this dilemma of “knowing what is wrong but being unable to change it”, then please let me know about it. I’ve been searching for an answer for a really long time.


A said...

Well, one sort of buddhist-inspired thing is, let go of the outcome. If you knew for sure that certain actions would NOT change the world, would you still do them anyway, because they are the right thing to do, or because they are in you to do? Then what difference does it make if they do or don't have the impact that you want, if you would do them even if you knew they had no impact at all?

Sorta like that.

Mary Tracy said...

A, that actually makes a lot of sense.

I guess I keep obsessing on how to get the outcome I want, ie: change the world. But I understand where you're coming from: change or no change, I'd stil write.

Doesn't mean I don't want the change to happen, though!

Anonymous said...

Loved your article on "erotic capital"(on the other site). Dynamics around this are happening intensely all the time, everywhere, and yet our real personal (and inter-personal) experience of them is rarely discussed. To start with the Catherine Hakim/commodification set of values leads to a dead end (in terms of making our experience of each other more meaningful and caring). But to start with your approach could be a beginning to an endless number of conversations about things like managing our own emotional responses, influencing workplace culture, how to talk about these things to children etc etc. Its all ultimately about finding ways to engage with each other at a deeper level than the external plumage. Michael Biggs.