Welcome to my Writers Blog

Feel free to read, comment, argue or complain. I would prefer complaints to be amusing rather than trivial.
Ideally you would like to read more, buy my book, ask for help, maybe commission me to write (I can dream). Email me at norristeve@gmail.com - I would love to hear from you. Otherwise just click the social network tabs, so more people get to enjoy.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Returning to the fray

 I took a few years off from writing seriously and blogging.

Part of that was circumstances with a busy job but also lacking confidence in my own place as a writer, my level of skill and whether I was playing at it or not.

Plus following my last dig into politics in Death of a Kingdom, the political debate around these topic lines went toxic and difficult to navigate. I commented on much of the matters in the books I wrote with an anti-nationalist verve and anti-hate. But following Brexit...the consensus I felt existed around this anti-nationalist sentiment was blown apart. I couldn't understand how much hate there was around, particularly for foreigners unleashed in open conversation. I confess to not being able to answer that question and probably never will. People call it 'woke' like it is kind of insult to look for good in people and try to be honest around our historical/national flaws. Nothing is ever perfect but the chance to learn from mistakes is what makes us intelligent beings. Plus the assumption that our neighbours only exist to rob us or possess us... where does that kind of paranoia leave us? See I'm doing it again.

But I have learnt to moderate my thinking, to accept that a different view of the world is prevalent. 

In writing, I have always found my heroes at the back of queue for greatness and used my words to give them a status they would never have found. I've broadened the net now and will try to talk more about that in this blog and try to avoid the bonfire of debate in the toxic hell of divisive politics.

I've also travelled a fair bit in last five years and my outlook is broader and more inspired. If that doesn't get me writing, what would.

Lots more to come in new blogs but for the moment will reinstate myself on the landscape and say hello once more

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Obama lights a fire

I’ve enjoyed the EU referendum debate for the most part because I’ve been wanting to argue the remain side as passionately as Exiters have dismissed our European neighbours in the superior, we know better tone, they love to use whilst wrapped in an Union Jack and a rack of military medals. I do find it odd that the instinctive military formed nationalism certain media love to portray is based around hatred of the continent many thought hard to defend. Our world war two heritage should give us moral authority in Europe but instead we wasted that with paranoia and a superiority complex. The world has moved on without caring for the opinions of the British.

That’s why it’s good to see Obama light a fire under the debate and tell us all, it’s not just about you little Britain. It’s about everyone and it’s about time you woke up to see that the civilised world does not stop at the white cliffs of Dover.

So now the debate has extra vim and gusto as the US tells us what’s right and Brexit screams in lame protest. It’s ok for the Daily Mail and it’s off shore media moguls to make up twaddle about the Europe and tell us what’s right but the US President… no way. His opinion doesn’t count at all.

American arrogance decorates his words which is often the thing that most winds us up across the Atlantic. But swap Obama for Trump or Clinton and do we really think the message would be any different. It’s only a few months ago we debated Trump's arrogance and blatant racism in Parliament so don’t expect him to be reaching hands across the water. I am confident American high opinions don't have any overt influence over us but it is worth remembering that if we are not in the EU we will need America more and more. To say differently is nonsense. Shun and hate it all you like, but switch on the TV, and flick through the channels. Tell me they don’t already dominate our language, our media, our lives. The price we pay for more trade will likely be on terms we won’t enjoy. The US may even demand equal employment terms for exporting companies. There goes the minimum wage. Take annual holidays. Many US corporations give employees two weeks leave a year. In the EU it’s a minimum of four weeks in most cases. I know what I’m voting for.  

Obama has waded into the debate with heavy boots but take heed not of the threat, but the reality of a world where we are on our own. Yes nations will want to sell us the same and more than they do today, but don’t pretend those nations will give a toss about our marvellous history. Think of Tesco’s doing a deal with a lowly farmer as they screw them into the ground and that’s pretty much how others will see the UK opportunity. Think of China licking their lips. Soon they will have influence over every major investment the UK has. No longer dominated by the EU but bought and paid for by China.

Like any bully, a threat says more about them then it does about us. But like most bully’s we can’t ignore them. We can reach a hand out to shake in friendship but the US is just as likely to pull a raspberry in our faces as reciprocate the handshake.

Vote remain, is about good sense not fear.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

2nd May – The great GBSD day out!

The political landscape changed forever. The clowns can no longer be ignored. The British people have spoken and the politicians of the major parties must listen. The day where the politics of GBSD came to life.
UKIP stand’s for UK independence party but also equally works as GBSD, the Great British Self Delusion. When you read a manifesto from the UKIP, which if you have, good luck to you, because it’s more than most of the party, you get a real handle on the extent of the delusion. To be honest the manifesto is pretty much taken from the editorial highlights of the Daily Mail. Pick up this journal every day and you’ll get the picture.
The question of why the 2nd May is such a big day comes back to the message of GBSD. This is a lot more than a protest vote, GBSD offers much more than that. It is the belief that somewhere on earth there is a place where we are better than anyone else. That because on our Island we are clearly better by breed, as long as we keep everyone else away from the shores, then we will do very well thank you very much and the rest of the world can drown in its own vial un-English hell.
Why do we believe this shit? It’s not like the established parties don’t peddle the same hogwash every day, but because we have a fresh nob saying it who doesn’t have to dress it up in pretty pictures we suddenly believe it. Why do we suddenly believe one pompous arse can do better than the pompous arses that are already decorating our TV screens? The only advantage Farage has is that he readily admits his own ridiculousness. For this 25% of the folk who could be bothered to step out of the comfort of their own sheds this is a message worth listening to.
The media essentially created GBSD as the alternative world of anti-everything. The place where everything you don’t like is taken away and you’re only left with whatever you like. GBSD is the party of perfection perception. The pretend world where reality is locked away in a Europe shaped box and the key thrown away.
GBSD works because reality is hard to manage. Dealing with the world as it is, recognising that decent people exist in all shades and languages, and that the bogeyman is far closer to home would break open the fallacy of GBSD.  But we don’t want to hear that. So GBSD sounds far better. Good luck to Farage for generating the GBSD debate. Perhaps only when reality breaks open the GBSD mould, we might start listening to politicians who deal with reality as reality and people as people.
We can hope that next time the 2nd May big day out occurs, it’s something to truly write about. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sitting on the Fence

I wonder whether I’ve sat on the fence too long. I have tried to write books with reasoned arguments, with characters displaying passionate arguments for their point of view then fighting it out to the death to see who’s right. Yes it wouldn’t take long for the reader to work out where the author’s sympathies lay even though every character gets a chance to offer a reasoned defence.

That’s all well and good, I guess the book is called A Hierarchy of Reason and what’s that title worth if it is not exploring reasoned arguments for the things we do. My question is more specific than that. I look at some of the bloggers and political activists that litter the news and wonder whether I’m actually being soft. Like supporting your football team. Are you a shirt wearing, no-holds barred, fan who is convinced beyond doubt that your team is the absolute best and every other team is not worthy to be who they are. Or, as I’ve always been, liked my team but rather enjoyed watching certain others, retaining any denegration purely for current rivals. For instance I always hated Arsenal when I thought they could get the Title off Man Utd, but now I know they are unlikely to in the near future, I can appreciate watching them.

So it has become clear that I’m not a heart of my sleeve type of person. I like exploring viewpoints but won’t nail my colours to the mast. So what am I scared off? To return to the football analogy it’s because I was scared of getting a bloody nose, especially living on the wrong side of the Pennines these days for my football origins. I also think I’ve been scared of upsetting people. That goes to right to the depths of it. In writing terms it would suggest maximising your audience, something for everyone kind of thing, but am I failing myself by doing this.

The great writers were known for their ability to write with passion about a subject. They had a sense of their own righteousness and flogged it to the rest of the world whether they wanted to hear it or not. By reasoning your theoretical enemies perhaps you give them more credit than they deserve. If you think something is wrong, it’s wrong! You can listen to mitigation but you don’t have to be an independent judge. You’re a writer, the only opinion in your story that counts is your own. Of course this is high risk. A proportion of your audience will not appreciate it, but maybe you will be more respected in the literary world for your passion and defiance in your writing. The worst example for me of this was a strong catholic enjoying A Very English Revolution, my first book. The truth is, it was meant to be uncomfortable reading for a Catholic, not to be enjoyed but endured (maybe there was a little Christian kindness/politeness being offered in her response). By allowing my Catholic bad guy a forum for his individuality and separating him from his brethren I had let the enemy of the hook.
So it really is time to get off the fence.
Passion requires a clarity of viewpoint… but then isn’t it good to listen and learn. Make your mind up….

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Writing and the Real World

The question begs from my recent blogging absence, am I a writer or someone who plays at it whilst doing a proper job? A proper job in this case meaning something that whilst having its moments of interest, largely features in the means-to-an-end category. I do it because I have to.
So what does that do to writing? In the last few months, pretty much killed it stone-dead. I have written a few words but hardly anything of consequence. It saddens me a little, but probably not as much as you might think. Yes I have these big macho targets that I will write this and I will write that and in a year’s time, I can give up work and sell a million copies…. And yes I am still dreaming.
Writers, like every other dreamer, do live in the real world, at least for the moments when they are not exploring their odd fantasies on the page. Full time writers, except those living in the sales stratosphere or sitting on some other privileged pot of money still have a job of work to do. Everyone has to pimp and negotiate their way round the next pay cheque, much of it at the bidding of publisher with massive sales target expectations.
We all need to earn money to eat, including publishing sales directors. How much largely depends on how expensive your tastes are or how many dependents with expensive tastes you’ve created along the way.
It’s probable I have expensive tastes and possibly there are others around me drawing on that fund in some way. Therefore I have to earn money to cover that cost. The fact of life! The most effective way to do that is the day job and consequently the balance of writing time is lowered in proportion to it. Sad though might seem that way, it really isn’t. This isn’t a plea for sympathy but an acceptance of the choices you make. I could be the full time writer and make a business of flogging my wares round every shop in the country eeking out a living from random sales. No more day job, I could be the frugal artist. But I choose not to be because this is my getting away with it balance. Writing therefore is my indulgence, my passion but not my job. I do it when I can and I hopefully enjoy that indulgence and get to walkaway whenever it gets too hard or other things are more fun.
So yes I would like to write more and to achieve things in the literary world, but only when the time is right.
For the moment I will enjoy my job, smile at the hassle as it batters me with each day, and then indulge in the continuation of expensive tastes. I can finish the book tomorrow.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A Hierarchy of Reason - Launch Party

I will be launching A Hierarchy of Reason at a new PopUp Events store in Brick Lane area of London.


                                                     28 Cheshire Street, E2, London
                                                          18 August 2012 14:00 

If you are in London that day please join us

Store and other event Details http://popupevents.co.uk/signature-events/ 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Book Store Opportunity for UK Authors

I'm working with a friend anna@popupevents.co.uk  to put 15 independent British Authors in a new popup store in Brick Lane area of London. Anna is setting up the store for up and coming designers. 
The shop is on Cheshire Street, just off Brick Lane, opening on the 15th of August (although the launch party is likely to happen a week later, simply too many things to organise at once).
There will be a mix of design products, including fashion, accessories, jewellery, prints, photography, home ware and interior design. In terms of books I would like to create a shelf dedicated to new British writers and have between 3 and 5 titles there each month. The shop will stay open for 3 months so there will be an opportunity for max 15 writers to get involved.
 In order to create interest Anna is giving authors a special deal (only for writers though), £87 per calendar month (£20 per week) per title. She's not VAT registered yet so won’t add VAT on top of this. Please note there is a charge 10% commission from sales to cover the cost of card terminals and transactions. You are welcome to bring in as many copies as you’d like as I have a large basement for extra stock.
This is a great opportunity at not a lot of money to put your books in a store and get exposure to a captive market.
If you are interested and want to get involved please contact myself norristeve@gmail.com or anna@popupevents.co.uk