Thursday, 13 February 2014

Do I want to change the world?

Sounds a bit ambitious! This question was asked at a recent writers' meeting held at Gladstone's Library where most of the Malinding series of books were written. It gave me rather a shock at the time but I've thought about it and I've decided that, yes, I do want to change the world!
Think back to your days at school; the bullies picked on what they thought were differences between children - red hair, perhaps, or perhaps some one who wore glasses or the 'wrong' type of clothes - and made their lives a misery. It occurs to me now that in fact people all over the world have far more in common than is usually thought. My friends of whatever colour or creed want to live in peace, provide their families with a home, enough food, and to manage to keep them healthy and educated. They want to be able to greet each new day with a smile and know where the next meal is coming from.
 It seems that our politicians want something different - power. Yesterday's paper - The Guardian - had a centre-page spread showing that Britain has been at war, somewhere in the world, every year for the last hundred years. Surely that's a record to be ashamed of?
 My books try to show people in my two favourite countries living at peace with one another. 'Empty Bananas' has an old, sad, white man finding love and a reason for living in Malinding village (which, as I often point out, does not exist but it might do!); 'The Mechanical Girl' is a story about an uneducated girl who achieves great things and sets about improving the world in her own way; 'Mussukunda' is a story about a middle-aged, unemployed white woman who changes the world (and her life), by volunteering to work in a refuge for women; 'The Alkalo' is the story of a woman - the lady who married the sad white man mentioned a few lines above - and rises to a position of great responsibility in her village (no prize for guessing the name of the village ...).
 The book I'm working on at the present is intended to show the truth of the saying "for evil to flourish it is only necessary for good men to do nothing" and tells the story of how a tiny nation saves civilisation by acts of kindness. I like my books to have happy endings!
 Rant over. Thanks for putting up with me for so long.
Best wishes,

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Actions or words?

I seem to have grumbled on about cafes which are writer unfriendly just a bit too much perhaps. Maybe I should just get on with the writing? I've been spoiled by having the use of three wonderful writer-friendly cafes in the past. First, Borders Bookshop in Warrington. Somehow, it was just right (write?). Friendly, full of interesting people (not only writers) and sympathetic to GOES - the collection box was always full.
 Next, Hatter's Café, in Hatter's Row, Warrington. I was so very sad to see it close. The staff, and many of the customers, had become friends and were interested in GOES and the work it does in The Gambia. Hatter's too provided a home for another collection box - which in turn provided education for many Gambian children and medical care for their parents.
 Finally, of course, the place where much of the 'Malinding' series of Kindle books have been written, Gladstone's Library at Hawarden in North Wales. If you haven't yet discovered this delightful place Google for it. William Gladstone, four times Prime Minister, gifted his own library to the Nation, so that books without readers and readers without books may be united. It's only disadvantage - I've already written pages about its advantages - are its distance from home and the expense of getting there. Remember, I'm trying to raise money, not spend it!
 So, the search goes on. At least, it's an excuse to drink coffee and eat cake, and it does get me out of the house! The search goes on - but I have managed to write a few hundred words here at the desk in our spare room at home!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Research - hope it produces results!

Our favourite café has closed (fellow writers will understand the importance of have a comfortable place to write!) and the search begins to find another place which provides good coffee and cake, tables large enough to hold the coffee and cake and a laptop (and a socket to plug it into) and a couple of reference books - and without canned 'muzak' blaring out. The management of the shop should also be willing to let GOES have a collecting box on view. 'Hatter's Café' was perfect in all respects and we are sad that it's closed. The friendly staff were a delight to meet and we wish them well in their search for new jobs.
 Our visit at the weekend to Gladstone's Library produced 2,737 new words for the fifth Malinding book, good cake and coffee but as the Library is itself a Charity we can't expect them to display our collecting box - and it's a bit too far to drive to every day.
 We visited another café in a large chain store yesterday - if had large enough tables but everything else was terrible! The research continues ...
 On a more immediate front we continue to support the young woman who is having medical treatment, school fees for the youngsters have been paid, we have sadly had to decline help to several other people, even though they have good reason to request it - we just don't have the money. And we don't pay out for shopping sprees in Senegal either!
 We're co-operating with the humanitarian aid of another organisation which operates in The Gambia, and we're going begging among our friends for more reading glasses, first-aid stuff and mobile phones.
 Thanks for reading my ramblings again!
Best wishes,