Since I stopped watching television and reading media news feeds, around five weeks ago, I have had only two real focuses (shouldn't that be focii? lol) in my day; apart of course from my delicious wife and my wonderful family. In the mornings I worked diligently at completing my second novel; "Just a Drop in the Ocean", and for the rest of the day I tried to immerse myself in positive, transformational and life-changing information that comes at me these days from every direction. This being my focus these days; it is therefore no surprise that these are the two things that my recent blog posts have been covering.
So, if I can't write about either of my twin passions of politics or sport - as I have very little knowledge of the outside world at this time, what else can I write about? Frankly, I don't know!
Kids often tell me that their least favorite subject in school is history; and I recoil in horror that they should find history so inaccessible and boring. Essentially this comes down to one thing - the education system. As one of my gurus Andy Shaw says; "we teach children what to think; not how to think. For example, when teaching history, we fill the children with USELESS and MEANINGLESS information, such as dates, names and battles (all of which can be quickly accessed by searching Google anyway), without actually addressing the important lessons that we can learn from history. What excites the imagination is to allow our children to place themselves in the period, to think like the people from that time and then to be able to analyse and critically examine the actions and words of the main characters of history. Taught this way, children actually learn how to think critically and with structure, instead of filling their heads with names and dates that they are required to regurgitate, on demand, at some time in the future.
Just as a "for instance", why does our education system not embrace the technology that our kids are so familiar with? One of the biggest game fads at the moment is seems to me is called "Clash of Clans". Now, throughout history, clan behavior, clan loyalty and clan social structure has been very critical in justifying and instigating warfare against other groups of people. Clans are, in fact, still very much an important part of many people's lives, throughout the world. In Somalia, the American forces made a major error in judgement when they dealt exclusively with one clan leader at the expense of other clan leaders in the region. The results of this miscalculation can been read about or seen in the book and movie; "Blackhawk Down".
Similarly, if you were to ask a Filipino where his loyalties lie, I suspect the list would be the reverse of what you might have expected; i.e. 1/ Family (Clan) 2/ Bario 3/ Town 4/ Province and finally 5/ Country. My point is we can make history relevant and important to children by embracing what is relevant and important to them today and using it to help them to think.
The discussion with my fellow writer certainly got me thinking, and got the creative juices flowing in my head. There are numerous periods in history that I have always been fascinated with, going right back to the dawn of civilization. One of my absolute favorite fiction authors in my younger days was Jean M Auel, and her sweeping tales of life and love in early mankind; in such classics as "Clan of the Cave Bear" and "Mammoth Hunters". That period of human development when we went from being "hunter-gatherer's" to organizing ourselves into structured societies, settling in one place and working the land, was an incredibly important time for the development of mankind as a whole, but also of invention, creativity and social building.
Equally the great Egyptian, Greek, Roman, civilizations have fascinated me over the years and much of the literature I have devoured has come from these eras. One of the things that comes through from reading these works is that as a race, the human race has changed little over the millennium. A good example of this can be found in the work of the great Greek storyteller, Homer. His fantastic tales of giant sea creatures, one-eyed giants, vindictive & benevolent Gods, and beautifully, seductive Amazonian women are clearly works of great fiction, but it is the core values and beliefs of the Greeks that come shining through these works also. The attributes that Greek society looked for in its heroes; courage, fortitude, strength, foresight, humility and compassion are still the exact same attributes we look for today in our heroes. Not a lot has changed in the human condition in almost 3,000 years.
For those of us who are now on our own journeys of self-discovery the most exciting thing to understand is that there is a "tipping point", from which, when it is reached, our world can not help but slide into a better, more humane, more caring place. There is an absolute groundswell of people all over the planet who are adopting this new way of thinking and incorporating it into their lives. People who no longer accept that this is the way it is, that this is the way the world actually has to be - a mad competitive scramble for limited resources; where the strong dominate and the weak get crushed or become subservient to their masters.
People who genuinely believe that the power to change and the power to create, lies within the individual - not within the collective. This growing voice is beginning to be noticed and heard within the "corridors of power". To anyone who still doubts that change is possible, I can just say this; if enough people live their daily lives motivated and driven by one thing; love, then amazing things can and will start to happen. It is what gives me the most hope for the future.
With my second book, safely tucked up in its bed now, getting some well-earned rest before editing and rewriting, in a couple of weeks, I have some time to consider my options. My plan initially was to next write a sequel to "The Second Coming". I will probably still do that, but over the next couple of weeks, before I knuckle down to editing and re-writing I am going to ponder on what period of history I wish to set my fourth novel.
It is just too, too easy to take the comfortable, easy route sometimes, and as writers who wish to develop our skills and stretch our imagination and that of our readers it definitely behooves us to step out of our "comfort zone" and try something different.
Thank you Diane, for that metaphorical kick up the ass - I needed it!
Have an awesome day everyone!
Changing the world - one reader at a time!