Be the Change

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.Mahatma Gandhi

 

When I was a teen, there was a real fear that the planet was going to be destroyed by nuclear war.

The UK government even produced a leaflet called Protect and Survive, advising people what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. I seem to remember that it seriously recommended taking shelter beneath your dining room table!

Unsurprisingly, Protect and Survive got lampooned by various commentators and comedians but I was terrified.

I can remember lying in bed at night unable to sleep, haunted by images of radioactive mushroom clouds swallowing up my family.

And my family was big. There was no way we’d all fit beneath our dining room table.

But then something happened that made me feel a whole lot better.

I went on a CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) march.

I’d love to say that this was because I felt a burning desire to change the world for the better and bring about world peace, but actually it was because my best friend and I were chronically bored and we had a burning desire to meet boys.

So – because our local youth club / church disco / school playground were for tragic losers we went on a march against nuclear weapons. As you do, when you’re looking for true love.

Although I didn’t find true love on that CND march I did find something that was to change my life forever.

I found that I felt way better about the things that made me unhappy or scared or angry when I got off my butt and actually did something to try and change them.

Going on that CND march dramatically changed the course of my teenage life.

I’d been feeling so bored and demotivated at school. Getting to know fellow activists led to some incredible life experiences.

I started hanging around with people older and more worldly than me – and I drank in their experience.

When we weren’t out campaigning or fly-posting or marching we’d sit for hours, listening to music by the likes of John Lennon, Black Uhuru and The Clash and talking about politics, books, films and art.

I learned more about life from those nights than I ever did in school.

When the miners went on strike I joined the local support group and collected for the miners’ families every Saturday on my local high street.

Some people walking past shouted insults. ‘Piss off back to Russia‘ was a popular one, but I didn’t care.

I’d found my tribe and I was doing something I believed in – life doesn’t get much better than that.

I saw Billy Bragg play at ULU. I hung out with a band called The Redskins.

I helped organise an anti-apartheid demo at a local supermarket that sold South African goods.

It went badly – hilariously – wrong.

We didn’t bring down apartheid but we did gain yet another an unforgettable memory.

I picketed with the printers against Murdoch at Wapping – and almost got my head caved in by a police truncheon and had to be dragged to safety by a BBC news crew.

I learned that the ‘impartial’ news coverage in this country isn’t.

I shaved my head and dyed what was left of my hair.

Some of my school-mates took the piss but I didn’t care.

I’d found my tribe and I was doing something I believed in – life doesn’t get much better than that.

It seems to me that we have a choice: we can sit around moaning about the things we hate in life OR we can try to make a positive difference.

As Gandhi advised, we can ‘be the change that we wish to see.

We might not always be able to bring about the change we wish to see – or not at first – but at least we’ll feel better for trying.

At least we can take comfort from the fact that we didn’t waste our life bitching and moaning from the sidelines.

We can feel infinitely proud that we picked up our banners and raised our voices and declared to the world: ‘not in my name!’

There are many, many things that need changing in the world today.

In my humble opinion, the world needs activists like never before.

That’s why I’ve made being the change you wish to see in the world a major theme in my new novel, Tell it to the Moon.

If you read the book, I hope it inspires you to take action when it comes to the things you’d like to change about the world.

Here’s to making a positive difference!

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Here’s what some early reviewers have to say about Tell it to the Moon:

Do yourself a favour and pick up this series as it is honestly just so beautiful and relevant to our everyday lives. Its inspirational wisdom will lead you to follow your own dreams.Pocket Full of Pages

‘Yes yes yes yes yes…. this series is so heartfelt. I love it. If you are looking for a book with so much love, diversity and friendship then please read this. It makes my heart feel so happy.’ Goodreads review

Beautifully written. Just So Stories

Find out more and order a copy here.

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