My TEDx Talk: Embracing the Global Village (in a skirt)

On the spot (photo D K Powell)

On the spot (photo D K Powell)

Well I got through TEDx somehow. Despite all my fears and worries as I’ve been writing about over the last few weeks, I manage to survive the event and lived to tell the tale.

In fact, the TEDx Whitehaven team put us all at ease. Myself and six other speakers turned up the evening before to ‘try out’ the stage and stand on the ominous ‘big red spot’. As we got to know one another the lighting and sound crew checked details, our requirements and went through making adjustments, so we relaxed and started to think “you know what? We might just pull this off!” Well I did anyway, I’m not sure about the others.

Preparations for the big day!

Preparations for the big day! (Photo D K Powell)

The speakers came from all walks of life with a range of experiences. All their talks were fascinating, if not actually heart-rending at times. From good advice on how to run a small business well to dealing the crisis of the Cumbrian floods, we all took our own take on the overall theme of ‘Human connectors’. I would love to tell you about each talk but I don’t want to prattle on longer than necessary nor would I do justice to the speakers themselves. But when the talks come online I will make sure I post and give you all the links.

I was fortunate (or unlucky depending on your point of view) to be given the closing slot of the event, I think because mine was the most global of the talks and made a ‘big picture’ of the day. ‘Big pictures’ are my speciality really…

Over the weeks leading up to the day, on Facebook and Twitter, I made a bit of a thing about ‘wearing a skirt’ and while that was deliberately provocative, it was also true – well, sort of. There was a reason for it and some of you, when you see the pictures below, will understand instantly what I was doing. For the rest of you, you’ll have to wait for the talk itself to find out, ha ha. What was funny however, was that during the rehearsal there was so much talk of my skirt-wearing that the other speakers began to joke they would wear skirts too. At one point I thought the men might just follow through! Thankfully they didn’t; after all that would have upstaged me something rotten.

So what did I talk about? Well, in summary, my talk traced a little of my journey from coming from a very white-centric upbringing which was fearful of other cultures to living in Bangladesh and learning from a culture so alien to mine that it actually helped me see my own culture clearly. From this I went on to argue that we all need to embrace the ‘Global village’ of which we are automatically members and lay aside our small-minded nationalistic and cultural boundaries.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a slideshow of the best pics from the day, some professionally done by the amazing Gary McKeating and others either by myself or the speakers. My thanks to all who took them. If you want to see the full set of pictures by Gary then you can see them here.

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Posted in Bangladesh, British, community, Life, Philosophy, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why Schools need a radical re-think and why the British Government fails to understand

In the news yesterday and today is the UK government’s announcement to bring back more Grammar schools – in essence schools which can select students based on academic ability.

On Wednesday I gave my TEDx talk and although the subject was ‘The Global Village’ I touched briefly on education and how working in Bangladesh challenged my preconceptions as an educationalist.

I’d like to expand on this a little and present my view on why the Government is continuing to go down the wrong route with this latest news. To be fair, it’s just a long line of wrong moves which have been followed by preceding governments too. No one, it seems, really has a clue. It’s a shame because if you asked the teachers on the ground floor – not the heads or those who’ve worked their way up the career path but those who are just classroom teachers day in, day out – you’d probably come up with the right answers; some of them at least.

And that’s an appropriate point, before I begin, to mention that in no way am I criticising the good work carried out by teachers all over the UK. I’ve been there and done that and know it’s a shitty job at times while also being the most rewarding work in the world. Teachers have to jump through the hoops they are told to by those in power above. All they want to do and care about is give the children the best educational experience possible.

That said, after too long in the system, teachers can fall into the trap of believing the rhetoric that government bodies preach. As I said in my talk, I came away from Bangladesh questioning why I was teaching in a UK system which demands qualifications at all costs. Am I providing children with the means to a happy and secure future, I asked, or am I merely churning them out because society and politics demands it?

This is the heart of the problem with the announcements today. There is this assumption that there are ‘good schools’ and there are ‘bad schools’. While there are, no doubt, exceptions, the whole idea of such labels is a nonsense. There are schools where you have elite, well-educated and well-brought up children often from affluent areas (but not always) and such schools inevitably do well in results tables regardless of the quality of teaching.

Today Teresa May said she wanted ‘all children’ to have the opportunity to go to ‘good’ schools. That’s absurd. All children all at so-called ‘good’ schools instantly makes all schools ‘good’ and we know from history that this is simply not allowed. OFSTED and the like immediately reset the boundaries when this happens. While I was still teaching in the UK, OFSTED declared that ‘satisfactory’ for a school was now no longer satisfactory and actually meant ‘failing’. It’s really very silly. No, the reality is that the afore-mentioned elite go to schools already perceived to contain such children.

Then there are the schools which are left with those who don’t fit such categories. Those schools are usually where you find the very best teachers because they have to work bloody hard to teach at all. I was at one such school for eight years and loved every minute of it with the kids (not with the politics among the staff however). It was hard work but while I was there the school was just getting better and better (why I’ll explain shortly). But in some schools (and even within schools getting it right like mine) the atmosphere is more like a prison – in terms of how the kids behave and how they are treated.

This where the Government gets it wrong. It’s all well and good allowing schools to select on ability but when you do that you guarantee both excellent schools (those that select) and the schools from hell (those that are left with the rest).

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not actually advocating schools which are completely mixed in ability – that can work but it can be bloody awful too! I’m saying that the powers that be are aiming at the wrong goalposts.

Interestingly, what I hear from those in the business sector (and indeed at the TEDx day one of our speakers touched on exactly this point) is that schools continue to fail to train students in the qualities businesses actually need. These kids may well have the degrees and other qualifications needed but they’re hopeless in other areas – such as the ability to work with others without being, as Dr Brian Little puts it, a complete asshole. Why is that?

In my experience, those that are going to do well academically are naturally going to be teach themselves. At least, that’s the best way to do it. A teacher’s job with such students is to open the door, provide the materials and stimulants needed and be mentor and guide to facilitate their own self-learning. When this happens and parents support too you’re more or less guaranteed top results all from the student’s hard work and self-motivation.

It IS possible to force a student to obtain higher grades – pushing with extra classes, one-to-one sessions, additional coursework and so on. But the results are inevitably awful especially if one push leads to another. I’ve seen this at its worst in Asia where there is a determination among parents that their children must be doctors or lawyers and so on. From kindergarten through to university many children are pushed onwards with the expectations that they will be the best and obtain the highest marks. These children buy into their parents’ dreams and even though each step of the way gets harder and harder they try to live the dream as though it’s their own. the lucky ones buckle at the pre-university stage where they simply cannot obtain the grades needed to go on to those high-level courses at university. At that point the dream ends and though it is painful at the time this is a good thing because then they get to go on to courses more suited to their own characters and interests – as well as more appropriate for their academic ability. With a bit of luck they go on to have happy careers.

While such intense parental pressure is less common in the UK, still similar things occur – students either creating their own pressure or bowing to parental or school pressure to be brilliant. I believe that the reason we have (some) incompetent doctors, teachers, lawyers and so on is because many of these people should never have been attempting to work in these professions in the first place. My handwriting is truly appalling and I always used to joke with my students that I should have been a doctor (the medical profession being known for its illegible medical notes) but added “had it not been for the fact I would have killed patients”. The last part isn’t a joke! I don’t have the kind of brain that can handle remembering everything a doctor needs to in order to make proper diagnoses. I would have made a terrible doctor – thank god no one in their right mind ever thought otherwise! In truth, I’ve seen too many kids grow up and lead miserable lives because of making a completely wrong career choice. The pressure to try and keep up in an area just not your thing must be immense. Depression and feelings of ‘not being any good’ well up until something has to go – either mental stability or the job.

I do not believe in pushing for the highest qualifications as the goal of education. I believe in giving children a positive and rewarding experience which results in lifelong learners, people who love learning and to equip them to be the best they can be – but nothing more.

When I was a teenager, just embarking on adult life and feeling particularly socialist and anti-elitist, I was determined I would never go to university and instead would get a job as a binman. It was my local vicar who, wisely, pointed out to me that I had a mind that wouldn’t be satisfied with that kind of job for long and instead I would be taking the job of someone for whom being a binman was the right level. This is not to denigrate the intelligence of those involved in waste disposal but to say he was right – I had an academic brain which would never have suited that kind of job – I’d have been rubbish at it (excuse the pun) – and I would have stolen the job from someone who would have been right for it. For once, I listened to good advice and did (eventually) go to university. I found my niche and I’ve worked within, pushing boundaries where I feel so inclined and not allowing anyone to dictate what kind of person I’m supposed to be as a result.

In 20 years of teaching I’ve seen this work time and again. Help students be the best that’s right for them so that they’re equipped (and, yes, qualified) to be in the right place for them in society – whether they be doctors, politicians, cleaners, farmers or even lead alternative lifestyles with which they are happy.

On the whole, schools are doing this. Where that fails though hits hard and not necessarily in the so-called ‘failing’ schools. It goes wrong in the top schools too. In fact, though I don’t have statistics to prove it, I would guess it goes most wrong in the public school sector. I’ve met hundreds who went through public school and my own two children experienced it for a couple of years so I do at least have first-hand experience. What is it I think goes wrong? Well that leads me to the title of this post: what the real radical shake-up is needed in the UK education system.

Schools have more than adequate systems for monitoring progress and qualitative development of school children. It doesn’t matter how many times you reinvent the goalposts – it just isn’t going to get any better than what teachers and schools already do. So forget league tables based on SATs and GCSE results. They tell you nothing other than how clever the students are.

What’s ignored by measures and society in general, is the well-being of students. I don’t mean how current OFSTED measures look at how much the kids ‘like’ the school or what the parents think of the teachers. I mean actually changing how the whole curriculum is delivered and conceived.

What is needed are ways to monitor and develop inner confidence, love of learning, supportive natures, citizenship, team-working, approachability, inner security. Make these the priority over development and results. 

I said earlier that the school I worked in for eight years in Cumbria got better and better while I was there. Part of this was a brilliant discipline system they introduced in the last few years where consequences for misbehaviour were firm but also very clearly laid out and gave opportunities for students to walk away from where their disruptive behaviour was leading; and rewards for working well and cooperatively were also clear and supportive and available for all types and ranges of ability. The result was everyone felt safer.

But there was also the community feel of the school. My department was the Music department and myself and the other members of the staff made it a place for family and friends, not students and teachers. Time and again I was told by parents that their children had found a home within the department where they felt safe and valued. Ours was not the only department to be doing this and as a result the school grew in friendliness and, at times, joy.

This was a difficult school, in an impoverished area with lower working class students often from very broken home backgrounds. When I first arrived at the school I was verbally abused by some of the older teenage boys (whilst truanting lessons but remaining on site!), a lot of the school was vandalised, I had students walk out of the middle of my class with a “fuck you” at top voice and one student was expelled after a long list of misdemeanours over several years when he aggressively shoved through me in the corridor on the way to classes. Many other students were expelled for much worse. I even had one kid throwing rocks at my car as I drove in the streets in an attempt to make me crash.

I don’t think there was a conscious management decision to work on community spirit. I think I was lucky to be there at the right time (in recent years, that same school has suffered a great deal and from what I understand is now in a worse spirit than it was when I first worked there which I think is a great shame but shows what happens when management loses its way). But as the kids felt happier and rules were stuck to, so their development soared and grades improved. When children feel safe and valued, then they want to work. The results will always follow. Every year for eight years I worked there, I enjoyed my work more and more thanks to the improving positivity of the environment. I left out of the frustration that management didn’t want to do more to foster this. There was more work to be done and it’s a shame that years later, the school seems to have lost much of what was built up.

This is what Teresa May et al need to concentrate on. There are many students in some of the top schools who feel miserable, under pressure and worthless. They may or may not come out with top grades but sooner or later, whether at school or in adult life, they become depressed and unable to handle life. Some commit suicide or attempt it. Others turn to drink or otherwise soldier on for years or decades with their souls destroyed. It’s awful to see and I’ve seen it too often. In the schools from less affluent areas, the effects are crime, vandalism, unemployment and a general inability to function in society. The lives are just as disaffected and miserable. Again, I’ve seen too much of this – even more of it, in fact.

Forget selection by ability – actually nobody wins in the long run with that. Turn instead to nurturing and monitoring how well students cope with life. If little Johnny is struggling with handwriting, sure give him extra support. But if he is struggling to know how to interact with his peers, support him and train him in that first. Teachers are doing this but the pressure to turn out results overwhelms the desire to make sure their wards are doing well within themselves. Johnny needs to feel good about himself much more than he needs good handwriting. That boy may just grow up able to work with others in a career as an adult in ways which are rewarding and fulfilling. And if his handwriting is still bad? Well, he can always become a doctor.

students and teachers gathered at the cars for a meal out in 2013

students and teachers gathered at the cars for a meal out in 2013

Posted in Bangladesh, British, children, community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My TEDx is ready. How many ways can it go wrong?

Over the weekend I finally got my talk for TEDx Whitehaven written and put together in final form and all the accompanying photos chosen.

You’d think that would be the point where I was relieved. Far from it. Since completing it I’ve been stressing over everything that could wrong.

Some of that is pure imagination. What if I trip over the steps leading to the stage (are there any steps? I don’t actually know) and fall flat on my nose, breaking it and bloodying my face? What if I have an accident the night before and end up giving my talk in a plaster-cast or sporting a ruddy great black eye?

Some of the fear is more real.

The talk, which is videoed, has to run from beginning to end without interruption according to the TEDx rules. So if, in the middle, I get lost and do a “oh bugger! Sorry, what I meant to say earlier was…” then that’s what gets recorded. If I accidentally let out a terrible spoonerism, suddenly develop a speech impediment, my voice starts to go or a wasp, sneakily having entered the auditorium, flies up my sleeve and stings me viciously – all this will be on the video.

Furthermore, there are strict rules on timing. At 18 minutes I can expect to be rugby-tackled off the stage – probably kicking and screaming the final parts of my talk because they’re most important and must be heard. I’ve worked like mad to reduce the script and get it to manageable proportions.

If I read from the full talk then I’m down to a good 17 minutes or less – great but I feel like a robot reciting words (remember Bob Hope? Think of him with autocues. Not good). I’ve made a notes sheet I intend to use which helps me be much more fluent – so much so that the talk is then a whopping great 21 minutes! Oh dear…

So I’m working hard to get the talk absolutely word perfect so I can be both natural and stick to time. Those who know me know this is not my forte.

The annoying thing is that it isn’t like I’m not used to speaking in front of others and sticking to a time limit. As a teacher I did it all the time in classes. Most of my lessons were like prepared shows – I thought it a bad lesson if I had not made a class roar with laughter at least once during the time with one of my anecdotes. I had those stories down to a tee. Over the last 15 years or so I’ve given countless after-dinner or evening talks in a variety of settings and countries. I like being in front of an audience and feel comfortable there even if I do get nervous.

But there’s no doubting TEDx is different, the main reason being that assuming my talk isn’t appalling in the end, it will go on to the internet and be there on YouTube and other sites “forever”. I could actually live with that even if it’s not so good; but this talk is important – and scary – for another reason. It comes with responsibility.

This is the one truly ‘international’ time I get to talk about my beloved Bangladesh. I will be using the country – which regular followers to this blog will know is dear to my heart – as a positive example of the importance of our ‘global village’. I’m going to talk about my experiences there and a little of the people I knew – one in particular.

What if I accidentally cause outrageous offence? After all, I’m a foreigner there and I’m far from knowledgeable about every aspect. What if I say something innocently that it turns out is misunderstood? What if I get some aspect wrong? I’ve checked and re-checked with Bangladeshi friends and others to make sure all is good…but still…what if I’ve missed something?

Well, if so, then I guess I need to follow the advice a good friend once gave me; someone who used to work in Bangladesh himself and, I believe, got this advice from a Bangladeshi friend in fact.

The advice is this: Do it, and ask forgiveness afterwards.

Sounds good to me.

talk on desk

Posted in Bangladesh, Life | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

How to be a bigot

I love working from home doing a job which actually requires me to interact with people socially both through social media online and in so-called ‘real life’. The fact I also get to chat with friends, skype calling those further away and going to see those who are nearer means that the work-play boundaries blur a great deal.

For most of the time this is fun – no doubt about it – but sometimes this blurring can be more uncomfortable. I really don’t see much difference between friends I’ve met online (once you’ve got to know them and made sure they’re not fake) and ‘real life’ ones (ditto) and I’ve proven this to myself repeatedly from the number of times I’ve met up with online friends and turned them into ‘real life’ ones. They’ve always been exactly what I expected – and found me the same, I’m glad to say.

But there is one difference about people online generally which is well-known and about which this post is mainly concerned: online people are rarely gentle, they speak their mind and they betray their real thoughts and feelings with utter ruthlessness. The worst of them we call ‘trolls’.

Comments from such people can lead to frank, interesting and challenging discussions which illuminate and enhance life. However, it often leads me to despairing for the human race. The world, from what I can see, is full of bigots. I know, I know, the argument goes that the kind of people who like to get involved in debates online tend to be more opinionated and extreme. True, but I’ve also seen people I’ve known in real life maybe as much as twenty years also reveal themselves as bigots in the context of online discussions. Over the last two years I’ve removed several of them (or they’ve removed me) from both my social media circles and my real life ones.

But…I’m also opinionated. I hold to views which, in my cultural circle at least, are not popular. In that sense it’s possible you could say I’m an extremist (and some do). So perhaps I’m a bigot too? I’ve been accused of being one just recently actually.

It’s always possible of course, but I don’t think I am; not because of the usual ‘bigot’s answer to why they’re not a bigot’ – that I’m not bigoted but just correct in what I believe – but for the very opposite reason. I’ve been wary of my own views for a long time and constantly check, research and reassess my views. The reason I engage in many debates online is not to push my own view (though I happily do so without a moment of guilt) but to be challenged by the views of others. I’m not scared of the counter-argument, I welcome it and even if I continue to remain unconvinced, I am always altered or better informed by the presentation of an intelligent argument.

Recently I got back in contact with an old school friend on Facebook. He hasn’t changed – he’s just like me and will argue about anything. I value his input because I know he always tries to find the flaw in my argument. He does so with charm, grace and often great wit but never with abuse or ridicule. And if he gets something wrong, he admits it. Such a person I can respect hugely, and I do. He is welcome to disagree with me any time he likes and fight his corner to the end.

I’ll defend my own strong presentation of an argument here because it will be relevant in a moment. I don’t like to force my views on others but where I see a weakness in an argument I will challenge it because I assume it will sharpen the thinking of the other person. To this end, it amuses me just how often I end up arguing completely different sides to an argument depending on who I’m talking to at the time. As I say, you’ll see why this is important to me shortly.

But first let me tell you a short tale of when I came to realise the danger of bigotry in myself and why ever since I’ve tried to avoid it at all costs.

When I was a young man, in hist first job and finding his way in the world I dated a girl who was studying at Cheltenham University. I travelled to see her often, as you do, and got to know her friends very well. I remember us all hanging around in the bedroom of one of her girlfriends and we were all discussing intellectual issues. We got on to the topic of abortion. In those days I held to strict black-and-white views based on ideological standpoints and I fiercely attacked any stance other than abortion being completely and utterly wrong. It was the murder of an innocent child and life began at conception as far was concerned. Any view suggesting abortion was okay was evil in my book and I said so forcefully. I cringe to remember it now.

Later on, my girlfriend took me to one side and berated me. I had failed to notice the uncomfortable atmosphere growing in the room. I knew little about women back then and had no idea that everyone in that room already knew what I was about to be told. My girlfriend told me that one of the girls – a young woman who I already adored for myself as a remarkable person – had been raped by a member of her church only a few years previously and had to go through the agonising wait for her period to happen to find out if she was pregnant by him or not. Although it transpired she was not pregnant, she spent weeks considering if she would have an abortion or not if she was pregnant. Would she abort an innocent child or carry and love the child of a rapist? In such a situation, Biblical theology becomes hard to deal with.

My life changed that day. I felt sick to my very core. It wasn’t that I now believed my views to be wrong – I still believe that, on the whole, abortion is not a good option and that it is a much abused practice becoming the contraception of choice for some – but that I realised my intellectual, ideological view had just stamped over the feelings of someone who had lived through the reality of what it meant in a way I could never ever experience. I vowed then that whatever my views might be on a matter, people would come first. I would always respect those who know firsthand the issues rather than loftily decide from my own thinking that I know the absolute truth.

To this day, not only do I check and recheck the evidence for any opinion I hold but I listen to the opinions of others and give the greatest weight to those who know what it is really all about. If those who know, or whose opinions I value, differ vastly from mine, then I will reassess what I think and at least temper it. Most of all, I do my best (though I don’t always manage it) to not trample on the feelings of others – at least where their feelings are relevant. Bigots I have no time or patience for and when I start getting firmer with someone you can usually be sure I have lost respect for their argument. But I try, as much as possible, to respect those who are actively involved.

Specifically the reason this has come to mind to me today is over the debates raging online about the so-called ‘burkini’ incident in France. When one fellow writer posted on his Facebook timeline criticising the Western obsession with women’s head coverings being wrong, he received a number of criticisms from followers who were determined that burqas, niqabs, hijabs and so on were about the oppression of Muslim women and were wrong.

I tried to point out that I know a lot of Muslim women who wear head coverings and not one of them is oppressed in any way (God help the man who tries in fact). Some of my very best friends in all the world are hijabis and I respect and admire them greatly. I would not stand for it if I thought they were being oppressed. And nor would they.

But no. Apparently, I’m wrong. I was repeatedly told by non-Muslim men and women that head coverings are tools of oppression and should be banned. The fact I actually know and listen to Muslims simply made me ‘biased’. Sorry, but I’ve done my best to listen to these people for the simple reason that I am not, and never could be, a Muslim woman. The one people who know if hijabis et al are being oppressed are…you guessed it…Muslim veil-wearing women. So forgive me if I’ll listen to them first and not you.

The annoying thing with these views is that they are so bigoted they become neo-colonial. “We have a better idea what is good for you than you do” is the message they send out. This would be fine if there were no problems of oppression in the world, but there are. I said earlier that sometimes I like to argue both sides of an argument depending on with whom I’m talking, and that’s because things are rarely black and white. Few people – not even Donald Trump – have opinions which are completely baseless and have no good, sane reason for believing.

In taking stances like this, such people build walls not bridges. They isolate their targets (in this case Muslims) and reinforce bigotry in the other direction, which doesn’t help anyone. I’ve also suffered occasional verbal abuse from Muslims who have decided because I’m white and non-Muslim I must be against them and part of a ‘Western-oriented scheme to dominate Islam’. Both sides scare me because both sides aren’t listening.

Every intelligent Muslim I know is well aware there are many abuses in certain ‘Islamic’ societies and that these need to be dealt with. They are much better aware of it than most of us Westerners are aware of the abuses in our own societies. Generally speaking we blindly believe ‘West is best’. We couldn’t be more wrong. It is vital we let Muslims sort out their own problems instead of telling them what those problems are. We really ought to turn our eyes to our own prejudices and injustices.

Yesterday I spoke to someone dear to me – she’s a Hijabi living in Bangladesh – about all this, feeling upset at how many bigots there are who think they can speak on behalf of a whole group of people they clearly know nothing about. She said this to me which touched me deeply:

“Some men or some societies oppress women because they lack a true concept of Islam…they end up doing things which are totally against it. I am so happy that you know what even some Muslims don’t.”

It was simple and she said much more than that but what was important was that she validated my stance and encouraged me so warmly. Yes there are problems, but no they are not about the oppression of women through wearing head scarfs and so on. Oppression in Muslim society is as much an abuse of Islam as it is an abuse of human rights. If my friend, who knows what hijabi life is like on a day-to-day basis, says I’m getting it right, then that’s good enough for me.

And that’s how you avoid bigotry. You go out there, to those who know, and you listen. You don’t have to blindly follow, you can still hold your own opinions which might differ in some way, but you alter your stance to either incorporate theirs or to have a ready argument against it. It doesn’t matter which. What matters is you listen, not dictate.

Posted in Bangladesh, community, Culture, Philosophy, Racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big picture meets the nitty-gritty: the struggle of writing a TEDx talk

It sounded like such a good idea at the time. Yeah of course I’d love give a talk at TEDx Whitehaven!

And I did want to – I do want to.

But, that old, old problem which faces most writers has arisen as I’ve struggled to write my talk for the last few weeks: having a big picture which is perfect but the details terrify you into doing nothing.

I’ve literally ummed and ahhed over single sentences for hours. Do I put this in? Oh THIS MUST go in! But is it too much? Maybe it shouldn’t go in. I could put it in then take it out later. But what if it is too much and detracts from THE BIG PICTURE? Maybe I’ll leave it out and put it in at the end if it still seems appropriate? But what if I forget about it? I’ll just note it down here…with the thirty or so other MUST HAVE ideas I’ve come up with…

And so on it goes.

Day in. Day out.

I can’t help it, you know. I’m a ‘big picture’ kind of a guy. I can see the vision, grasp it and lead it to fruition. But the details…well that’s not so easy for me. I’ll get them done but it would be less painful if I took out my kidney with a spoon. Really. It’s THAT painful a process.

But – there is light at the end of the tunnel. The secret weapon that works for some writers at least, though not all. Thankfully, it works well for me: The TEDx people have given me A DEADLINE!

Thank the maker! Now I have something to work against; a galvanising push to get the bloomin’ thing written. Admittedly, I’ll be working right up to the last minute to get it in on time. But it WILL be written. In fact, I’m so inspired I’m going to get on with it now.

Or I could write a blog post about it instead. After all, the deadline isn’t quite YET. And I have a perfectly clear BIG PICTURE of how it’s going to work. It’ll be a cinch to write…

Screamin Ken

Posted in Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments