Wednesday, 17 March 2021

The Sarah effect

The shocking murder of Sarah Everard has unleashed a torrent of emotion around male harassment of women. Abductions of young women are tragic but thankfully rare - I reminded my teenage daughter of this when she told me a friend was worrying about walking into town. However, the case has shone a light on the commonplace fears that many women experience throughout their daily lives. 

White orchids
Darkness and light:
In memory of Sarah Everard
 ❤️
For the most part, these fears have become normalised: don't walk down a dark alley, spike keys through your fingers for protection, be ready to press the alarm on your phone, walk confidently, send texts to make loved ones aware of your whereabouts, etc. 

It's just common sense, right? Or have we learnt to subjugate ourselves to the threat of violence?

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Screen life: the films I've loved

Today I'm sitting at my computer in three jumpers, looking through the window at snowflakes swirling around the garden. As ever, I'm peering through a screen at the real world beyond. The pandemic has turned us into a nation of voyeurs, gleaning our entertainment from Zoom, television, mobile phones... and now windows.

A snow globe in front of a window
Living in a bubble
Not that I'm complaining. I've had my fresh air this morning and it's chilly enough in the house, let alone outside. I'm also quite a fan of Zoom and its ilk. Without video conferencing, I wouldn't be able to read Jacqueline Wilson to my nieces, catch up with family/friends, watch live theatre, enjoy Arts Society talks or take part in an upcoming Chinese New Year quiz this weekend. This is life in 2021.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Imagine a world

Here we are again in Covid country. Either I've become habituated to lockdowns, or I secretly crave a quiet existence, as I'm not finding it too hard this time around... as long as I ration my consumption of the news. Occasionally, for my own buoyancy, I need to think about something other than mounting Covid cases.

A photo album showing the World Trade Center
Photos of the twin towers in my album
The big distraction for me in lockdown 3 has been my writing. I'm inching towards the finish line (first draft) of my latest novel about New York in 2001. When I conceived this book in the summer, it was intended to be a light piece of escapism, based on my own experiences of living in Manhattan during the late 1990s (more City, not much Sex). Inevitably the story has become a shade darker as September 11 looms in the latter stages of the plot line.