Thursday, 20 June 2019

Being Reviewed

Hello everyone, well, here we are again, hopefully you were all able to enjoy the Strawberry Moon the other night, it seems, it should herald better times for us all - let's hope that's true. Anyway, today's post was prompted by an article I read about how an author used threatening and abusive language to a review blog - obviously because they didn't like the way their book was described. I should stress, the blog in question is not run by anyone I know, in fact, the author is unknown to me too - but it did get me thinking about this whole review process.

As a writer myself, I am well aware, if I put something into the public domain, then the public has a right to comment on it - much like this blog really. Since I began writing it, I have received messages of support, but also, I have been accused of being all manner of unpleasant things, as the reader hasn't agreed with the point I had been making. Naturally, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to reduce the debate to name-calling doesn't seem especially helpful or productive.

I have books available, at the moment, I have to say, it is quite nerve-wracking when I see a new review has been posted, or someone has taken the time to give my work a star rating. Obviously it's lovely when someone has enjoyed the book, but, it seems to me, I can't cherry-pick reviews - only acknowledging the favourable while ignoring the more critical. In order to avoid this situation, I am aware some authors get friends and family to post reviews, so they receive a wealth of five stars and descriptions like 'this book is amazing' or 'this author is a genius.' Now it may well be true, but does the writer really learn anything other than realising they do love a good ego boost? I suspect not.

Speaking personally, I prefer honest reviews, which hopefully are balanced, so the reader enjoyed the book but felt there needed to be more character development or they loved the first part but were disappointed by the ending - both of these are so useful to me when it comes to my next effort. I would love people to love every word, who fill the whole review with superlatives and profess their undying love for my writing style, however, that would seem to be a forlorn hope in the real world - but I will keep trying!

It seems to me, you simply cannot please everyone, so all you can really try to do, is write a good a story as possible, something you're proud to put out there and hope there is an audience for your kind of book.

However, sadly, there are some people who use the review process as a doorway to settle personal grievances - I have been on the receiving end of this kind of behaviour and it is both hurtful and frustrating. I have no doubt, over the course of my life, I have managed to offend some people, caused them upset and perhaps even behaved badly - after all, I have lived and that happens. But I would prefer anyone who feels that way, to approach me privately and explain why,when and how I caused them distress, so we can either find a resolution or agree to maintain a distance from each other. I find this need to attempt to publicly humiliate me, a little sad really but, I have come to terms with the fact, it happens and although their words can cause damage to both mine and the book's reputation, hopefully, it's not permanent.

After a recent incident, I was advised to ignore reviews, but this seems to me to be counter-productive, I want to get better as a writer, if I decide not to listen to anyone,(which smacks of arrogance), how will I improve ? If someone doesn't highlight their issues with my work, what will prompt me to go back and think again ? Obviously, there have been times when I have fundamentally disagreed with their criticism, so I haven't changed a word - but even in those situations, I have been forced to defend my own choices or, at least, have my belief in my work confirmed.

I am currently working on a new book, while doing so, I am aware of being mindful of what reviewers have said about my past work, so I'm consciously trying not to repeat past errors which will, in turn mean, they will enjoy the finished product more. I don't doubt, faults will still be found, but, you know something? That's okay because I will learn something again.

I believe listening to criticism, although hard at times, is an invaluable resource, as anything which makes me think more, which makes me consider more, will ultimately make me a better writer. I should add, personal attacks only make me realise, they usually come from someone who isn't trying to achieve something for themselves - so although their words can be hurtful at the time, they will not stop me writing or, in fact, stop me at all.

Well, sadly my 'real' job needs me to get to work, but whatever I might be doing today, in my mind, I will be thinking about my characters, telling their story as well as possible and looking forward to hearing what the audience thinks when the book is released. Does that thought make me anxious ? Of course ! But the excitement of releasing a book is worth every sleepless night, attempting to find just the right phrase or plot twist.

I am well aware, we are all criticised, as I've said, the trick is to listen to it all, immediately discard the irrelevant or hurtful, but ponder on the positive - none of us are perfect, we are all works in progress, to be the best we can be, means listening....anyway, thank you again for your time today, as always..until the next time....

Take care out there xxx

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Doing things the 'right' way...according to who ?

Hello everyone, well, here we are again, half way through another week and possibly struggling slightly, but, we are all still here (hopefully), so we haven't given up, so that's a positive note to begin this post.

Since trying to become an author, I have read a lot about what it takes to succeed and what the 'right' strategies are, what I've learned, is much like every other part of life, it seems to boil down to priorities. As an example, just before I released 'The Last Day', I was told, writing a standalone novel was pretty much pointless as there's apparently so much more money to be made in writing a series of books. I felt pretty sure this is probably true, I investigated further, I found people were turning out books at a frightening rate - each one about 55,000 words long and appearing within only a few weeks of each other. So obviously from a financial point of view, it does make more sense to rapidly release a series of books - after all, as I was told, you have to treat writing as a business. I have also been shocked by the amount of advertising costs people seem to spend on promoting these series - it runs to several thousands of dollars each month ! Now, I have no shame in admitting, I don't have those kind of resources, so even if I did manage to write at that rate, would I ever reach the mass audiences? It seems unlikely.

I should imagine it takes an extraordinary level of discipline to write consistently high quality books at such a speed, so those who manage to achieve this goal, well, they are worthy of respect. However, I don't feel this is right for me - not that I am saying their approach is wrong, or, mine is better...its just we are on different paths and both are equally valid.

Beyond the writing world, I think people live their lives with different priorities too - some, it's all about the money, earning as much as possible to fund a certain kind of lifestyle. Again, this is the path they've chosen, but I do wonder, what they have to sacrifice - but I guess, what seems important to me would be little more than meaningless to them. Perhaps for them, having the very best of everything fulfils every need, whereas for others, other things seem more worthwhile - again priorities. All life is about diversity, so it follows,if we all wanted exactly the same things, way too many would end up being disappointed.

I am at a point in my life where I am trying to decide what my priorities are, when I look back, its been all about survival - being a single mother is not generally an easy road and mine has had its share of obstacles. But what now ? My children are adults, the days of the school run, having  McDonalds as a treat and going to the park to play on the swings are long gone. So what's right for me now?

In recent years, I obviously thought I could try being an author, purely as an activity in my spare time, just to see if I could actually write a book. It turned out, I could, in fact, to date, I have written four books but what now ? Should I focus on making writing my business ? And if so, how ? Do I write a series, spend hours glued to my little bedroom desk, frantically typing the adventures for a handful of characters with deadlines looming large every month or so ? I originally wrote for pleasure, the scenario I've just described sounds more like a punishment for me. As I said before, I have tremendous respect for those who can work that way, they're obviously enormously successful but I just can't see it working for me.

So what am I left with ? As many women of a certain age, I feel like I still have something to offer the world which entails more than just working to pay the bills. The thought I am going to spend the rest of my time on the planet, doing little more than working, going home, working, going home - well, to be brutally honest, fills me with dread. So what's the 'right' thing to do ? I wish I knew. Like so many people, I am caught between responsibilities and wishes...and it's a dilemma I haven't really resolved.

...oh if only it were that easy, Norman.....

As always, I welcome your thoughts, perhaps, like me, you're at a kind of crossroads in your life and getting very mixed messages about what you 'should' be doing - I would love to hear how you're approaching this phase, have you just decided to strike out on your own with a 'to hell with you all' attitude ? Or are you all too aware of your responsibilities ? Or maybe you're fearful when you think about leaping into the unknown.

I have often thought, it would have been helpful, when you're born, to be given a manual..'How to Live'...that way we would all have a constant reference point, so whatever issue you found yourself facing, you could just look it up and there would be the definitive answer. Perhaps that would make life too easy, but I know I could certainly use such a book, for the most part, I seem to 'wing it' and hope for the best.

Well, time for me to start getting ready for another working day, I'm not going to lie, I don't really want to go,but those pesky responsibilities of mine, won't give me any peace. I'm doing the 'right' thing in the eyes of society, but through my own eyes ? Well, not quite so sure.

Look after yourselves until we meet always,

Take care out there xx

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Taking that first step....

Hello everyone, I hope you're all well and Life is smiling on you..I know it can seem as if you are getting nowhere fast, but as long as you keep moving, things won't stay the same - unless, of course, you're one of those fortunate people who are happy exactly where you are, if that is you then the rest of us are hoping to join you in the very near future.

As you might already have guessed, I am taking a first step too - although to be truthful, this step is just another in a long old line of 'first steps', but despite my previous experience, this one is filled with all the same feelings of anticipation, excitement touched with a dash of panic. The questions fill my mind, what if this is a terrible idea? What if it all goes wrong? What if I end up failing? and, perhaps the most frequent, should I be doing this in light of all my other responsibilities? It's that last one which can very often kill off any thoughts of stepping at all !

I know, it was once said that no man ( or in fact woman) is an island, everything we do impacts on those around us, but it does seem very unfair, we have to end up sacrificing every dream or aspiration, because it might mean someone else has to have a little less of something from us. After all, we only have one life, (I am extremely respectful for those who believe in reincarnation and I sincerely hope you're proven to be right), but if we do only have one trip around the circuit, shouldn't we be allowed to make the most of the journey?

I don't believe I am the only one who has ever suggested something I would like to do, and someone has said 'what about me?' In other words, they try and make you feel as if you are somehow abandoning them and their wellbeing, to selfishly pursue your own goals. The real irony, is the people that say this kind of thing the most, are those who have absolutely no problem whatsoever, in doing what they want -whether or not it negatively impacts you !

And do you know the worst thing? I have often be made to feel guilty and stepped backwards instead of forwards, I have actually listened to their argument and found myself agreeing with them ! It really is true, the only person who really holds you back is yourself, I have allowed this to happen way too many times, and thankfully, I have woken up and seen, I have as much right to a full and happy life as anyone else. I am more than just a support system for others...I am tired of being the cheerleader instead of the star player in the team. (And yes, I know I sound like I'm ranting, I'm really not, I'm just tired of myself not making me a priority in my own life).

Now, I could understand objections if I had resolved to become something detrimental to society, after all, it would be hard to defend an intention to become a person who causes harm. But what these guilt-trippers are suggesting is damaging to those with dreams, with life aspirations - as they are saying, 'it's fine to have these thoughts as long as you don't act on them, or, if you must, you do it at a time when it's convenient to me.'

But, as I expect you've guessed by now, I am done being made to feel guilty, I am also done with being made to feel responsible for other peoples' lives, I have realised, (thankfully before it was too late), my responsibility is to make my own life as good as it can be. Before you ask, I do love those closest to me, I have freely given my time, love and patience to them and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, but I also have to give those same things to myself.

There is so much world out there, so many experiences to be had, so many fascinating people to meet - let us all encourage those around us to have as full lives as possible. I know I would never want to look back and think, it was because of me, someone didn't do everything they wanted to do because that would mean I had stolen a part of their life experience and for all my obvious flaws - I am no thief!

Well, my day is beginning, and today really does mark my first step..thank you all for coming on this journey with me and I am so happy, so many of you are going to continue to be travelling need to know, I am right there with each and every one of you too...until next always..

Take care out there xx

Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Way We Were

Well, its been quite a time, my friends..I hope your recent days have been good for you and hopefully not filled with too much stress. I feel a bit like one of those talent show contestants who say 'it's all been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster'...because this past couple of weeks could certainly live up to that billing !

It began when I released my latest novel, to be honest with you, bearing in mind the subject matter was a long way from the 'Within' series, I don't know if I had total faith in its possible success. But luckily for me, it has done well, in truth, it's done more than I could have believed was possible, which is both wonderful and slightly unnerving at the same time. You know that expression, 'be careful what you wish for' ? Well, there have been moments when I have known exactly what that means. As I know I've mentioned in previous posts, I don't have any great ambition to be 'famous', I would much prefer a degree of anonymity with hopefully some earned respect. But this success, has meant dealing with being 'out there' and I am here to tell you, it's not an easy place to be. I've never really been asked about my writing before, so it's been quite a steep learning curve to have to think of  vaguely intelligent answers to why I've written the stories I have and what motivates me.

So last week, I was working at my usual job, while dealing with this new side of life and I don't mind admitting, it's a very weird combination - but no bad thing as one side certainly compliments the other.

Anyway, this week was supposed to be a holiday away from my 'normal' work, so I had time to get on with my new 'writers'' life - as you can probably guess, this has not gone entirely to plan...the demands placed on forging a new career are nowhere near as simple as those montage scenes in movies would lead you to believe - you know the ones which last about two minutes and take the lead character from the back of the chorus to standing alone in the spotlight. Thankfully, I have been massively supported by those around me, so it's very unlikely I shall suddenly become too big-headed, mainly because, only today, I was wandering around the supermarket, trying to decide what to get for dinner which is something Madonna almost never does..hahahaha

One of the high points of this week was a trip to a local beauty spot which I haven't visited in many years. As I walked through the gates into the most stunning gardens, a flood of memories threatened to sweep me away, as I had spent so many afternoons there in the past - especially when my daughters were young. As I wandered through the lush trees, fragrant rose bushes and stunning plants, I could almost feel those relatives who have passed on, walking alongside me. I couldn't help but wonder what they would think of me now, a published author ! When, all those years ago, when we walked together, I was a young mum who sought out parenting advice from those I knew so much more than I did. As I sat down on a bench, the total peace of the place seemed to seep into my soul, which I know sounds vaguely ridiculous, but it's true ! All the recent stresses and strains, worries and concerns seemed to just be taken away on the warm Summer breeze and I was left with just an
amazing feeling of calm.

I have to admit, I am not generally a calm person, despite really quite extensive effort, I still frequently give in to frustrations, irritations and even downright anger ! I really do try not to let negative feelings take hold, but sometimes, that's easier said than done - especially when I feel hurt by someone close. But for those few moments, sitting on that bench, the sun beaming down through the lush green canopy of the surrounding trees with only the birdsong for company, well,even the
worst of my 'dark side' could find nowhere to take hold.

As I sat there, I thought back to that young mum, I hoped she would be proud of how far we had come and what adventures might still be waiting for us in the future. Back then, I was pretty fearless really, filled with that confidence you only really have when you have no real idea what you're doing...the years between then and now have shown me - too many times - misplaced confidence is no substitute for real strength when times are hard. As regular readers know, there have been some tough old times, like most of you, life has not exactly smiled but then maybe we have to experience the lows to genuinely love every moment of the highs.

I will be going back to the gardens, the memories they invoke are what I need, at the moment, feeling close to those who have passed on and also remembering who I was...especially as I now seem on be on the brink of a new kind of life.

I know so many of us are facing all kinds of challenges, I wish I could help, but even though I can't do much practically, I would suggest going to somewhere which has true significance for yourself...somewhere which doesn't provoke sadness but really helped me...that's all I can say.

Well, the world is knocking at the door so, as always, until the next time...

Take care out there xxx

Monday, 29 April 2019

Being Heard

Well, my friends, as always, I have to apologise for my enforced absence from being here, I've been working longer hours, there's been the usual round of family dramas, the Easter Bunny made an appearance and now it takes an act of will to button anything up ( too much chocolate consumption!) - but most of all (takes deep breath) I've been busy with my new novel 'The Last Day' ! It's now a paperback and on Amazon, so exciting, if breathless times over here chez Turner !

The strange thing with this particular book, it seems it's going to possibly bring me a little more public attention, which, in turn, means people who had absolutely no idea at all, I write, are soon going to find out. For me, as really a private person, facing this reality brings a whole mix of emotions. On the one hand, it will be gratifying to be perceived as more than someone who sometimes struggles with the essential paperwork my job requires, but on the other, it does concern me to be in the 'spotlight.'

I never started writing to achieve any kind of 'fame', in fact, the very idea fills me with a degree of horror, after all, despite the enormous wealth it can bring, you do have to pay a very high price for the level of intrusion. So I write, really, because it helps me make sense of things - some have happened in my own life, others to those closest to me and a few which are completely imaginary scenarios, but through the story I'm writing, I am forced to come to my own conclusions on a whole range of issues. Now, I am well aware this sounds unbelievably selfish, but thankfully, I can disagree - since the release of my first book, I have been contacted by readers who have told me of their own experiences and also how they found some positive emotion through my books. Perhaps this has been particularly evident with 'Hidden Within', as it tells the story of a woman who is 'lost' in many ways and how through a series of events, she finds herself again. I am hoping, the story of 'The Last Day' will have a similar effect - only time will tell.

Anyway, so it seems, people around me, especially those I work with on a daily basis, are going to know more about me and perhaps see their colleague in a different way. Do I want that ? I don't know and that's the plain and simple truth. Obviously my family and close friends have always known about my life away from work, they've been the reason I have kept writing when I've decided it was time to just give up ! They love and encourage me every step of the way and are generous enough to say, I have inspired them to have the courage to do what makes them happy too ! After all, we all only have one life so we may as well make the very best of each day. I was told, you only regret the things you don't do, (although to be brutally honest, when I look back, there are several things I wish I hadn't especially when under the influence of tequila!)

So as I've been thinking about this, it has occurred to me, maybe part of the reason I write, is to be heard, to have a voice - even if it is through the characters in a book. Now I did not have a tragic childhood, but I did grow up being told - and so believing - I wasn't especially bright, in fact, my alleged strength, was having a 'pretty face.' As you can imagine, I found this incredibly frustrating, especially as I got older, when my opinions were dismissed as little more than 'charming' before being told to return to my forte which seemed to be 'standing and smiling.' Several jobs I had, were really little more than doing those two things, as I look back, I can see, I didn't really believe I could do any better. But then, I had children and my self perception changed completely, I realised - for the first time- I was a capable, strong woman who could handle responsibility and, finally, had a voice.

I do wonder, despite my new found positivity, if I am still slightly wary of sharing my own voice with the world, so perhaps it's easier to write..although the long hours of trying to create something both believable and entertaining is a long way from easy at times !

Anyway, I hope you have a voice and you share it, be it through a craft, music or any other way which brings something positive not only for you but for those who hear it...there seems to be a lot of disharmony in the world, anger, hurt, disappointment and downright if we can all find our voices we can try and drown at least some of those negatives out of life..and none of us would look back in years to come with regret, would we ?

Anyway, time for me to get ready and go to work, possibly to come back in 8 hours time, feeling either wildly positive or ready to hide in the nearest keep your fingers crossed for me, it's the first I always wish only the best for all of you..right time to fly so...

Until the next always...

Take care out there xxxx

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Mum's the Word

Hello everyone, as always it's lovely to be here and especially lovely to have the sun shining through my window as I am writing to you - for those of you in warmer climates than the UK, you might wonder why seeing the sun has such a significance, but believe me, it's always a welcome sight here. Anyway, while talking about the UK, last Sunday marked Mother's Day for us, and, as often happens, it also got me thinking about what it means to be a mother. Now, before I go on, I have huge admiration for fathers, they do an amazing job and offer something completely different when it comes to parenting - but because of the recent celebration, this post is about mothers. It also helps that I am one myself, which hopefully, makes me something of an expert ! Although I readily admit, my alleged 'expertise' has not always been especially obvious.

Looking back to when I had my first child, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into at all ! To go from being a wilfully irresponsible person - some might say reckless - to then suddenly be someone's mother was quite a leap for me. But far from being a chore, I actually loved being the mother of a young child, for no other reason, than she made me see the world in a whole new way. She had a fascination with animals, to see even the most every day duck or horse, through her eyes, made me appreciate them so much more. Equally, when she first saw snow, or the sea or even the leaves fall in Autumn, her view took the mundane and made it extraordinary. When you find yourself teaching someone to read and write, when you see the simple joy they feel, as they successfully complete their own name - well, there's not much better. But children don't stay children forever, I think you can forget that reality, when you're awake at all hours of the night, trying to get your baby to go to sleep. They grow, and if you've done a good job, they have the mind to form their own opinions, create their own path and, suddenly, as if overnight, your baby has become a grown woman. They say 'they grow up so fast' and it's true, when you have to let your children go, is so much harder than all the times you just wanted a whole night's sleep.

When my second child happened along, I believed - as it turns out wrongly - I knew what I was doing now, so this should be easy. I forgot, one child is not a clone of another and so what worked for one doesn't necessarily work for them both. My second child wanted independence, right from the start, she pushed herself to walk, to talk, to read a book by herself and write her name. Her mission seemed to be, to learn everything possible so she could do anything - I would look on with amazement, as she took every challenge and, by sheer willpower, overcome it. Her childhood was not the same kind of life as her sisters, sadly, in the interim period, family members had died or moved away, which obviously gave her a very different perspective.

Despite their differences, I am happy, I managed to bring two people into the world, who see beyond themselves, they have a thirst for knowledge, a love of trying anything new and the courage of their convictions. I do not always agree with them, and they, most certainly, are more than aware of my flaws. But I am hopeful, long after I'm gone, they will continue to develop as people and look the world in the eye. One of the few traits they share, is the ability to not really care too much when some around them is negative which means they're not easy to deflect from their chosen path- I am hopeful they will feel, they got that ability from me.

Aside from being a mother, I was also a daughter and perhaps this was where my ideas on parenting were formed. My mother was a woman of great talent, she had a good sense of humour, loyalty to those she cared about and absolutely  no regard for anyone who didn't seem to add anything positive to her life - yes, it's true, the apple didn't fall far from the tree ! We clashed often, I was angry with her throughout most of my teenage years, mainly because I didn't feel heard much of the time - whether that was true or not, well, who knows? She seemed strict and unforgiving in her opinions, as if it was either her way or the highway - I've since realised as I've matured, she had to be strong and so what I saw then as intransigence, I can see was actually having her own mind. I regret not  talking with her more and arguing a little less, but I am comforted by the knowledge, she came to respect my resilience when faced with adversity and my belief, however bad things were, I would find a way through them. I am also so very grateful to her, as she never once showed even the merest hint of prejudice against anyone, be it their race, gender, sexual preference, age etc, in fact, more than once, I saw her strongly rebuke someone who said anything she considered offensive  and if she witnessed bullying ? Well, she was a powerful spokesperson for the underdog.

I carry her life lessons with me, every single day, without her influence, I would not be who I am - I am forever grateful she was my mother. I can only hope my own children will feel the same about me, one day - they will understand I was a person who may have failed at times, but did not give up and chased every last dream - that's what I want for them...because that's what life should be about and as a parent, perhaps the most important lesson we can teach.

So to all mothers, grandmothers and those, who might fill those shoes love and thanks to all you bring to this world...until then...

Take care out there xx

Thursday, 21 March 2019

All at the Same Address...

Hello everyone, like most of you, I am writing this with a heavy heart after the terrible events in Christchurch, New Zealand, to even try and imagine the horror those people faced, when they'd begun their day undoubtedly looking forward to meeting with their community to pray - who amongst them could have believed such a horrific event was about to happen. As for the perpetrator? He did know, he had known for the two years he had apparently been planning this murderous campaign - he had been riddled and fuelled by his own hatred of people he saw as 'different' from himself. Leaders from so many nations across the world, sent their condolences, well-chosen words, which, I don't doubt, were sincerely meant at the time. But I cannot help but wonder, if any of those leaders took a long, hard look at their own policies, the inflammatory language they'd used in the past and, perhaps, worst of all, how many of them in the weeks to come, will still assume an anti-something stance - be it Muslim, immigrant, Jewish, Palestinian...the list goes on.

I am well aware of the need for strict rules regarding immigration, no nation can afford to open its doors to everyone without applying strict tests, without performing background checks, after all, the home nation citizens need to be protected. But when that need is used to seemingly promote an 'us and them' agenda, it can only serve to permeate through the population - that their nation is the 'best' and all others are, in some way, inferior so 'we need to keep them out.' I could not disagree more with this way of thinking, no nation is better or worse than another - their leaders definitely - but the general population ? Absolutely not. I believe you could go anywhere in the world and find families who want nothing more than to raise their children, live peaceful lives and be allowed to follow their chosen faith without fear of devastating reprisals.

It may sound naïve and simplistic, but despite the fact, we are all of different nationalities, live thousands of miles apart, hold different beliefs, speak a variety of languages - it all happens on one single, beautiful planet. When the NZ Prime Minister said 'They are us', it's true - even the most extreme radical cannot attempt to suggest there are a whole range of different worlds because there's only one and we need to start accepting, whatever else we might be, we are all citizens of the same place.

As I understand things, it seems white supremacy is now a growing trend, in the face of an alleged threat from any group perceived to be somehow 'less.' Surely you only have to look at recent history to see how divisive and damaging to society, that kind of belief can be - after all it wasn't so long ago, the Nazis were promoting that same doctrine. As we all know, they saw several groups within their community as being undesirable, ranging from Jews, to gypsies, to homosexuals, to people with either long term mental or physical health fact, anyone they decided was  not like them. In the 70 years since those dark days, for all our apparent advancements - it seems there are still people, (sadly some leaders), who can only see someone's colour, faith, sexuality etc instead of just seeing another human being.

Until we as a world population can really appreciate each other, make a genuine effort to understand the glory of  human diversity in all its forms, I think it's unlikely, the awful events in NZ will not happen again. Is that really the world we want for our children? Wherever you might be, whatever faith, colour, race, you are..I don't believe you want that, any more than I do.

There are so many issues facing our world, would it not be more productive to unite and try working together to solve them instead of dwelling on our alleged differences? Of course there will always be a few amongst us, who want to wreak havoc, who want to cause destruction, but their voices would be swiftly silenced if we all spoke- as one world- and said 'no more.' If instead of allowing divisions to form within our communities, we stopped anyone trying to break us apart. No group of people can ever be allowed to be seen as less worthy of respect than another, because, as I've already said, when that happens, the worst possible potential outcomes become stark, horrific realities.

It may seem as if I feel the world is doomed, I don't, because the vast majority of the population of our world, don't want violence on their streets, they want to happily co-exist with their neighbours- despite what some leaders might want to believe. Also I have a sincere hope, with so many ways of communicating around the world, we are starting to learn and understand more about each other.

I hope when the memorial service for those who were killed in Christchurch is held, wherever you are n the world, you take a moment and imagine what those families are suffering...their tragic loss was entirely due to one person considering himself 'better' than them - let's hope, from now on, we consider ourselves - the whole population of our world - infinitely better than him and anyone else who shares those same beliefs....we call ourselves a civilised society, let's also strive to be an inclusive one....until the next time …

Take care out there xx