So this week was a great week! I was appointed as Trustee for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature for Equality and Diversity.
Myself and two fellow new Trustees, inspirational women who I can’t wait to meet, are bringing new perspectives to this charity that has already achieved so much as it celebrates its fifth anniversary. It’s a time when Nottingham is bursting with creativity, and also a time that the world needs a little more help to stay positive, inspired and empowered.
I’ve been following The Nottingham City Of Literature for a while. It’s an organistion I admire, for many reasons, all very meaningful to me. Focused on inspiring and supporting the people of my home town, its aim is to “build a better world with words”. I couldn’t think of a more praise worthy goal. It’s one I truly believe in and one I genuinely feel is possible.
This week’s blog is in celebration of this excellent organisation and what “building a better world with words” means to me.
When I read, I educate myself. Sometimes I make an active choice to pick up something that I know I need to learn about. Often, I pick something up because I want to be entertained. No matter what I read, I learn something because I experience another perspective, place and time.
Living through someone else’s journey, whether a fictional character or a true account, puts me into their minds. I feel their emotions and live their experiences. Empathy is at the heart of reading.
Not only do I escape to another world when I sink into a great book, I also escape the echo chamber. Social media, friends, colleagues and family – it’s easy to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us – reading reminds us of the world’s variety and complexity. It also reminds us that some things need to change, as well as giving us lots of reasons to celebrate.
On top of these somewhat worthy explanations, is the simple fact that reading a brings me pleasure and joy. For me, settling down with a book is one of life’s ultimate pleasures, it always has been. Let’s face it, we need to take as much joy as we can, wherever we can find it, at the moment
I have always written for fun, although publicly, only recently. There’s something powerful about writing and I’ve shared my perspective on why it’s become such an important part of my own personal journey recently.
Writing is like therapy. It helps me think, process what I’m learning and order my thoughts. It also helps to scratch the itch of needing to find my own form of activism in antiracism.
Writing “That’s a Bit Racey” has been a source of personal growth for me too. It takes courage to put your name to something. My comfort zone is undoubtedly a little bit larger lately, as well as my circle of influence.
Words inspire. The right words, in the right context, from the right person, can inspire young people to learn and us adults to keep striving. There are so many important voices out there. Writing gives them a chance to reach people. The more people who read and listen to their words, the more inspiration, education, pleasure and joy, they can generate.
I can’t wait to discover more creative talent and I’m humbled to be working with people who, like me, truly believe that by taking these words to new eyes and ears, we can build a better world.