Archive for the ‘Bloggers for Peace’ Category

Recently I decided to share more positive things on social media, so for today I decided to expand that idea to here.

So here’s a quote from the Dalai Lama, which I particularly like.

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

Isn’t that great? No judgement, no expectation; just an observation that we can have an impact over and above what we expect.  That’s positivity to me: no preaching, just explanation.

Happy writing,



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I have spent a lot of time this week talking to people who are unhappy in some way about their state of affairs.  Work, life, politics all figure and in many cases the solution is outside of their immediate control.

It’s a reminder that we rarely know exactly what is happening in someone’s life – sometimes people who seem extremely happy are hiding a deep sadness, or the life and soul of the party goes home to a lonely life.

So this week I need to give myself a mental shake and remember to be kind, to everyone, even – or maybe especially – when it’s hard.

There’s a quote by Mark Twain that I might just put on my wall at work to keep me focussed:

It is higher and nobler to be kind

Let’s be higher and nobler where we can.

Happy writing,



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As you will know by now, I am a fan of Margaret Atwood.  I first read her work in school when I studied The Handmaid’s Tale and have been reading and re-reading her work ever since.

When I saw that The Handmaid’s Tale was being televised I knew I had to watch.

It’s brutal, but it’s a reminder how easily we can lose hard-won freedoms.  Giving up a few freedoms here and there in the name of security from terror may seem a small price to pay but the problem is that you don’t know where it stops, and if it ever will.

This weekend, another response to terror was put forward: The Great Get Together.  This was a series of linked community events across the country, with the aim of encouraging friendliness and social cohesion. It was a celebration for Jo Cox, an MP murdered last year.

Focussing on what is good, I made my way to our local event, and it was lovely.  The sun was shining, there was a great spread, lots of people to talk with and it was a very positive way to spend an afternoon.

It was the kind of event I could imagine reading about in a chirpy romance or a 1950’s comedian the style of The Darling Buds of May. It was delightfully countrified!

I am working on a poem for next week’s writing group but I definitely want to revisit yesterday’s mix of nostalgia and reality in some way. Treating it as some sort of stand against oppression will be a challenge, but there’s no point making like too easy for myself.

That’s all for tonight. Have a safe and happy couple of days and I will be back on Tuesday.

Happy writing,





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There’s a strange mood here, you can feel it in the air.

We’ve just had an election we didn’t need, called to give a mandate to a Prime Minister who thought she could stifle the opposition party – at a time when they seemed to be backing anyone but their own party leader.

The period of campaigning was extremely difficult, with devastating terrorist attacks in two of our major cities.

And after all the arguments, all the debates, all the interviews, we seem to be even more divided on what we want than we were before the election was called.

We are left with a minority government, propped up by a party who only represent constituents in Northern Ireland (which has its own implications for continuing the power sharing agreement there).  We are just about to start negotiating on our exit from the European Union, and the Prime Minister cannot even confirm the agreement reached with the DUP for them to provide support to her party.

There are rumblings about new elections, leadership challenges, votes of no confidence.  It’s a mess.

But… voter turnout increased.  There appears to have been a massive upturn in young people engaging with politics.  The government can no longer push through its own version of Brexit without overview.  People are talking about the election, what it means for us as a country. Austerity economics are being challenged. Shrill voices shouting ugliness are losing their power.

The outcome of this election was unthinkable when it was first called.

I don’t know what it means for the future of the country, but I know we need to build on engagement and enthusiasm, on political awareness. We need to remember that a positive campaign fought well took a party from wipeout to 40 percent of the vote share in a few weeks.

And that is the key thing to remember, actually: people wanted to engage, they just needed someone who they wanted to engage with.

Happy writing




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For the first day this month, I did not write.

It wasn’t intended to be a day off but with preparing for my holiday in the day, and then an evening out catching up with an old school friend, I really haven’t had a chance.

I thought about sharing a picture with you but instead I decided to share a website.

It’s www.actionforhappiness.org and it’s currently one of my favourite places online.  A close friend pointed me in the direction and I think it’s a great place to start if you are looking for a way to build a more positive life.  B4Peace bloggers will probably get a real sense of joy from it!

The purpose is to increase wellbeing and it’s an important cause for me as someone seeking a more harmonious humanity.  It goes back to the Desmond Tutu quote I shared back in January: every person’s effort is part of something bigger.

So, remembering what I have been taught in the search for peace and happiness, I will not feel bad about my lack of writing today, because I was fulfilling other needs.

I will get back to it tomorrow though!

Happy writing,



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I don’t normally write about the deaths of famous people here, for a variety of reasons.

One of these is that I didn’t know those people personally and I feel their loved ones should be given space to grieve without a spotlight being shone on them. Not that this blog is much of a spotlight, but if there are a thousand, or ten thousand, all the tiny lights can become huge.

I appreciate other people feel differently, and perhaps it is a positive thing for a grieving person to see how much their loved one was admired and respected: it shows how many lives they touched.

We each find our own path through difficult situations based on our own experiences and our own responses to loss.  The most important aspect in any difficult time is showing respect to those affected.

In my experience, that means remembering the other goodbyes that may have been said, and the other losses felt by our families and friends; not every goodbye makes the front pages but they are keenly felt nevertheless.

So just for today, this blog is not about writing, or books, or even about me.  It’s about thinking of other people and sending out a virtual hug for times of need.

Anyone reading this will, I hope, be reminded they are not alone.







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I didn’t get a lot of writing done this week. I have been doing some more work identifying appropriate agents and preparing my paperwork, but I have also found myself increasingly focussed on the world at large.

We can all see the news and I don’t feel qualified or able to talk at length about the many lives lost to extremists.  All I can say is that every atrocity makes me feel as though I need to do more – learn more about the situation across the globe, share thoughts of peace, be a better advocate for hope.

I will be making more of an effort to do all these.

Meanwhile, I found a Cicero quote that has withstood two thousand years of the world, and still resonates with me:

Life is nothing without friendship

We have it in our power to love and support one another across the globe, building new friendships.  That seems like a good aim when the world is so divided, and so many people are suffering.

It seems like a good aim, full stop.

Be peaceful,




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I try to read the newspaper on a regular basis, both to keep up to date with the world and also to spur on my imagination, and for long term readers you might even remember the original post of this name, which I wrote nearly 3 years ago!

It seemed time to revisit the idea but this time, it’s more about the impact on my world view than how those stories can shape our writing.

In the newspaper today…

I read about David Cameron’s attempts to convince the rest of Europe to agree with him so we in the UK vote to stay in the EU when we have our referendum. As so much of the discussion seems to be about how much we’re prepared to give migrants in benefits I think it misses the entire point of closer integration, but there you go.

I’ve read about unaccompanied child refugees in the Jungle in Calais, and the squalour and desperate misery of life there, as we complain we are being ‘overrun’

I’ve seen the Pope’s view on Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall, as Trump leads the polls for Republican presidential nominee.

I’ve read about war, murder, the Zika virus, abusive ‘grooming’ of a young woman by a rich and successful sportsman.

I’ve read about a pretty crappy world, to be frank. So here’s a counterbalance:

The Good News Network where the stories include a New Zealand crowdfunding effort to buy a beach for public use and students designing a portable, wearable, shelter for refugees.

Huffpost Good News where there is a focus on love – romantic, familial and friendly.

Dailygood.org where it’s about how we each live our lives to the best.

I need to know what is happening in the world, but sometimes I forget that the media set the agenda.  I only see what a newspaper editor considers newsworthy.

I need to search wider, and these three sites are a good starting point to get a picture of the positive in the world, to hear stories that focus on the positive effects we can have on each other.

I want to read the good news for a bit.

Happy writing,



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This month’s B4Peace post began when I was really frustrated by something and I found myself venting all my irritation in a blog post.  I scrapped it, of course – or you’d be reading that now – but a thought stuck: should we always be peaceful in the search for peace?

It’s a strange one – I am inherently a pacifist, a believer in non-violent resolutions. But I know the peace I enjoy is due in no small part to the bloodshed of the twentieth century.

Still, as someone who watches the battles and wars unfold on news programmes, year after year, we’re not doing well at the moment.  Peace is dissipating, with hate and violence filling the gap.

What I decided (as I struggled to form this post, and my nebulous thoughts, into something people could read) is that I want to foster a sense of closeness with my fellow humans.  Peace is not individual, and whenever we ‘other’ people, we are undermining our chance to find it.

I don’t want to write a diatribe, every time I get frustrated.  I want to build bridges, create a sense of community, learn from my feelings.

I try that online, and I do it in my real life too.  But I think there are many people who are scared, and angry, and venting in their own ways.

I always go back to my mantra now, Desmond Tutu’s quote.  Maybe my bit of good is my willingness to discuss difference and understand fears, whilst expressing my different viewpoint or sharing my belief in, and hope for, peace.

We are often exposed to views and opinions we don’t agree with, but in my search for peace I want to at least understand why someone feels the way they do.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is listen.

Be peaceful,




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I don’t know if I am typical, but recently more and more posts on social media have been rather dispiriting – posts that ‘other’ people, posts about cruelty, posts that make me feel impotent as a citizen and as a human being.

But it signifies something more than a collective need to gripe – it makes me think we have lost sight of what joins us together.

How can we hope to find peace in our world if we don’t even recognise how interconnected it is? And how, as the species doing the worst damage to the planet, and each other, can we hope to find peace when our collective behaviour is the very thing destroying it?

We know we are made of the same stuff, right? That we all came from the same cosmic source.  So why do we look for difference?  Why do we look to dominate instead of coexist?  I’m not just talking humans either, but our need to dominate all life on earth.

I am always saddened to see pictures of abuse, neglect, despair.  I sometimes feel that it would be better to stop looking.  Stop reading newspapers or watching documentaries.  Stop knowing.

But to do that would mean I stopped thinking about what is wrong, and if I stop thinking about what is wrong, I stop thinking about what I can do to redress the balance.  And if we all did that, we’d never have peace.

I recently posted a Desmond Tutu quote:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

which is going to be my mantra going forward.  Every little good we do is a chance to redress the balance.

Let’s get some weight behind peace.



B4Peace Central

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