Wow, it's been a while.
Quite a few things have happened since we last posted a blog, some great, one quite a distance from being great.
Of the great things, well, let's start with the very first ThankBookFor event: Social Up Your Media.
I know what you're thinking, that name. Social Up Your Media. It's awesome, isn't it? Anyway, the lovely Suzie, of WWW.SUZIE81SPEAKS.COM fame, (and TBF PODCAST fame, of course) gave a number of TBFians (Oh yeah, there's a moniker for you now) an insightful and well presented look at how to make the most of your social media outlets.
I know from speaking to the people on the day that they took a lot away from it, and a good time was had by all. If you've heard Suzie's podcast then you'll know her rise to fame has been a pretty rapid thing, and she has a way of breaking it down to make it seem possible for anyone. Thank you to everyone who attended, particularly Shelley Wilson who, as well as calming my nerves in the build up to kick off on the day, has also agreed to record a podcast with us next year about her own literary successes.
If you missed the event but would like to know more then you're in luck, Suzie has just produced an online course about how to make the most out of Twitter. You can find it HERE.
Then there was the Ghost Hunt podcast we recorded for our Halloween Special, with paranormal investigators Simone Taylor & David Ball. We met them at the The Station Hotel in Dudley, a location notorious locally for being resident to several ghosts. So much so, in fact, that about 10 years ago there was an episode of Most Haunted recorded there.
We accompanied Simone & David down into the cellars of the hotel, where they'd previously had 'an experience' a number of years ago. In the dark the cellars in that place are like a rabbit warren and I must admit it got a bit eerie at times. When they last came they held a séance in one particular part of the cellars and we thought it would be splendid to recreate that experience. You can listen to THE PODCAST HERE, or, and what a beautiful segue this is, you can WATCH IT HERE.
Because, yes! Another piece of news for all you TBFians ... we now have a YouTube channel! It won't be updated anything like as much as the website is, and podcasts are still definitely the priority, but IT'S HERE, it lives and breathes, and I quite like it.
Then there's the ThankBookFor Special we have planned for next year. Series 2 will take us up to Christmas, near as damn it, then we'll be on a podcast break for a short while. But, we'll be back, and when we are it'll be with a 5 part special focused around … well, that'd be telling. Tune in early in the New Year to find out!
And so, we move on to the not so great thing that happened.
Now, I'm no expert on politics, not in the UK and certainly not in the US, but Donald Trump? Really? I like to think I'm a pretty decent judge of character, but I did not think he had this in him. And yet, the scary thing is, I can see exactly how he did it. He appealed to people's baser instincts. He targeted ignorance, fear and social unrest and he made those things do the work for him. He said certain things in certain places, then moved on and said different things in others. And you know what, in that respect he's a lot like almost every other politician on the scene.
Not that I'm implying every Trump voter was ignorant or scared, a lot of people just wanted change. Much like plenty of Leave voters had sound, sensible reasons for voting as they did in Brexit, well a lot of Trump voters did that too. It just seems like for so many people it was a case of the devil we knew not being good enough any longer.
My main concern is the other elements that voted him in. The far right, intolerant extremists who have gradually been pushed to the outskirts of society, but now seem to be forcing their way back. It's the validation it seems to give people who think they're better than somebody else purely down to where they come from or what they believe.
And then there's Hilary Clinton. How she beat Bernie Sanders, when I'm trying to credit part of the Trump vote to a need for change, is beyond me, but she did. And then she went on... Well, I won't go into details here, mainly because I don't know enough of them. I'm sure you've all seen and heard enough about that election to last a lifetime. And you've probably heard more than enough opinions on what will now follow, too.
So let me offer you one more.
The last couple of election results have me a little concerned, especially as they seem to be coupled with a rise in far right extremism in other countries around Europe. As I write this, my daughter will be two years old tomorrow. The world she inhabits in ten years time, when she's starting to figure out exactly who she is and starts making decisions that will influence how she lives the rest of her life, will be a world full of the ramifications of these results.
These seem like dangerous times. I've always had an overriding optimism in humanity and what it's capable of. I think it comes from reading so much Science-Fiction and Fantasy in my formative years, but I firmly believe that on the whole people are amazing and will help others out where they can. There will always be short sighted, greedy, corrupt people amongst us, and some of them will always prosper, but for me the most important thing has been about humanity as a whole moving forward. And whilst I'm aware this view is held by someone who has grown up in the developed West, all change has to occur first somewhere.
I believe my daughter and her generation can be part of the solution. She'll be brought up to respect other people and their beliefs. She'll be brought up to treat everybody the same, and to expect that kind of treatment in return. She'll be brought up, indeed she's already being brought up, to share her things, and to try and look out for other people. She'll be raised knowing everyone has their own story and wanting to hear it.
My wife just purchased a children's book called Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The
World, by Kate Pankhurst. It's wonderful. It's a little too old for our daughter right now, but she'll grow into it. It talks about women from many different backgrounds and ethnicities and about how they have had an impact on how we live today. There's white women, black women, Asian women, Indian women, though I don't know why I'm explicitly pointing out their race, the book doesn't. It's just women, being human, and being fantastic.
Can you imagine a book like that being made 100 years ago? Even 50? Anywhere you care to think of, England, America, Japan, Australia, anywhere, can you imagine that being published? The books it allows to be published are a good indicator of how far a society has come and how tolerant it is of those who are different. In which case, with children's books like Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World around, I believe we're in better shape than we think we are.