An Open Letter from British Fighters Against the Islamic State:
“We are some of an increasing number of British nationals fighting in Syria and Iraq as volunteers with local forces against the Islamic State.
We wish first and foremost to express our sorrow and anger at the recent terrorist attack in Westminster, London, and to convey our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. We know only too well what is to lose friends, to treat those horrendously wounded, to pull the dead and dying from the rubble.
We also wish to express sympathy and solidarity with the many ordinary Muslims going to work and school today feeling that they are under special scrutiny, and fearful of what this might mean for them. We share their fear, and we urge anyone who might be tempted to take against ordinary Muslim people to think again. If you associate them with the Islamic State, you are giving such groups exactly what they want: a greater and more violent gap between the Muslim world and ours.
The familiar sounds of hate and bigotry are sounding again – on social media, and in the more guarded mainstream press - where the intent is nonetheless clear. Hate crimes will spike again. There are calls to demolish mosques. The fact that local Muslims raised thousands for victim support, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, is easily drowned out by the bandwagon. The EDL have called a snap demonstration, eager to make hay from the suffering of innocent people.
For all the sound and fury, we don’t remember seeing anyone from Britain First, EDL, UKIP, or their like, by our side in battle. Which is a good thing, because we wouldn’t have tolerated them.
Our ranks are made up of Kurds, Arabs, Yezidis, Brits, Yanks, Canadians, Aussies, Asians, Europeans - Muslims, Christians, Alevis, atheists - too many faiths and races to list. A multi-ethnic, multi-faith entity, standing united against hate and extremism.
The majority are, in fact, Muslims, and not only are we proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them - the truth is, we can’t do this without them.
The only way to defeat the Islamic State, and groups like it, is with ordinary, moderate Muslims on side. The only way to defeat hate and extremism is to not give in to it.
Don’t stand with Britain First, the EDL, UKIP or those who talk and think like them. Stand with us.”
The reason I hate the “Shakespeare didn’t actually write Shakespeare” theories so much is they seem to be inherently rooted in taking his works away from ordinary people. “The son of a glovemaker could never have written these plays! Surely only an Aristocratic Intellectual, like the Earl of Oxford, could be responsible!"
Honestly fuck off. Shakespeare was one of us. His plays were written for the masses. He was an ordinary man who captured the voice of the people and the depths of their emotions. We credit Shakespeare with making up words and phrases, but who’s to say he wasn’t writing down what he heard on the streets? "But something as complex as Hamlet could never have been written by Shakespeare! It must have been the work of a nobleman!” Well guess what, not only did he write it, but he wrote it because that’s what his audience liked. The hordes of ordinary people consumed his deeply philosophical play about a young man musing over life and death and sin and they LOVED it.
Shakespeare was a crowd-pleaser and an entertainer, and reason his work is so beautiful and poetic and philosophical (as well as bloody and sexual!) is because he was responding to popular demand. Most people attending the theatre were illiterate; they consumed literature by listening, and this is one of the reasons why playwrights utilised iambic pentameter and rhyming schemes. Their dialogue is poetry, and it’s beautiful to listen to. The first time Romeo and Juliet meet, their shared dialogue creates a sonnet. Imagine a commoner sitting in the crowd listening to that, and it hits him like an arrow, wow, listen to the way these characters speak,this is love at first sight.
Shakespeare was an ordinary man, and the beauty and complexity of his works were fuelled largely by the appetite of ordinary people. Although plays could be written and performed for the aristocracy, it was the hordes at the theatres that one had to keep happy. This modern obsession with putting him on a pedestal and trying to make him high culture or inaccessible to ordinary people is just gross. This upstart crow will always be one of us, and his work will always be for us.
Feelings are scary, and sometimes they’re painful. But if you can’t feel pain then there’s no way you’ll feel anything else either. You’re here and you’re alive, and don’t tell me you don’t feel that…It is good, believe me.
When I was fourteen or fifteen, I liked to draw. I’d look up internet tutorials on how to draw the human figure, and nearly all of them suggested going outside and sketching anyone who goes by. Not only was this relaxing, but I noticed my art style become more realistic over time. I think we can apply similar concepts as writers to improve sensory description.
How to practice: Try writing down specific details about the people you see. How is their walking gait? What does their voice sound like? What quirks about them stand out as you observe them? Write down descriptions using all of the senses (except maybe taste) and, over time, you’ll notice your words become more lively.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to benefit from observation skills. Writing stories is all about noticing connections and seeing the extraordinary in ordinary life. People watching can boost your ability to notice little details and recognize them as important, and it can help you sense patterns more easily.
How to practice: In this case, remember once again that you are not Sherlock Holmes. Don’t assume that you know a person’s life story based on what socks they’re wearing (and definitely don’t try making such assumptions with friends or family).
Try to take in people who pass by and the small, unique details about them. Notice how they’re interacting with other people and the world around them. Think about why that might be and write down any thoughts or connections that interest you.
Writing first drafts can paralyze anyone. We all know that getting the words out is the first, most important step, but that can feel like torture sometimes. If you’re a hesitant writer, freewriting can help you feel less self-conscious when writing and jot down thoughts or impressions as they come. Other exercises can help you with editing later on, but you can’t get there unless you freewrite.
How to practice: Write down anything that strikes you without worrying whether it’s important or you’ll use it later. I like to focus on one person per minute and during that time, write anything that I find interesting. Once the sixty seconds are up, I move onto another person and continue that cycle as long as I want to keep going. With time, you’ll get faster and may notice that words come more easily.
In the book Stargirl, one of my favorite parts is when Stargirl and Leo go to the park and play a game where they make up stories about the strangers they pass. As they connect together little observations, they create vivid backstories that may not necessarily be true, but that’s not the point. What matters is stretching their minds.
How to practice: Play this game for yourself. Pick a person at random and, piecing together little details you notice about them, give them a backstory. What are they doing, and where are they going (both right now and in the long-term)? Why are they hurrying so quickly to wherever they’re going or walking almost aimlessly along? Don’t worry about getting it “right” so much as creating an interesting story for this person.
Developing empathy as a writer is so important, though not often talked about. If you can put yourself in the shoes of another person and consider what complexities, challenges, and little joys life holds for them, you will create emotionally powerful pieces. People watching helps train your eye to notice those around you more and remember that yours is not the only voice in the world.
How to practice: Remember the definition of the word “sonder:” the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Look for those complexities. Notice relationships. Notice facial expressions and emotions. Don’t just look at them but see them, and write down what strikes you about them.
It was much better to imagine men in some smokey
room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting
over brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you
didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened
because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told the
children bed time stories, were capable of then going out and doing
horrible things to other ordinary people. It was so much easier to blame
it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us.
“It was much better to imagine men in some smokey room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told the children bed time stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people. It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, then what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.” - Terry Pratchett, Jingo
Obviously times for many people have got harder, and people are nervous and fearful. And it’s not just in politics that things are tough. Usain Bolt has run his last Olympics, the Harry Potter films are finished, Piers Morgan's still alive. But, let’s look at the other side of the coin. Metallica’s new album is an absolute cracker. And on a deeper level, I’m optimistic. Wherever you see tragedy, you see bravery too. Wherever you see ordinary people, you see extraordinary ordinary people come to their aid. Today’s Red Nose Day and people are giving their hard-earned cash to people who they’ll never meet, but whose pain and fear they feel and want to fight. So, it’s not just romantic love which is all around. Most people still everyday, everywhere, have enough love in their heart to help human beings in trouble. Goods going to win. I’m actually sure of it.
Prime Minister Hugh Grant being extremely on point given the events of this week
ppl completely misinterpret sherlock’s character when they argue that he wants a morally grey/dark intellectual equal. we were already told that he doesn’t enjoy ppl like that when we saw him constantly clash with mycroft and irene or even magnussen, like.. he’s literally disgusted by ppl like that and that’s a core element of his character.. if you don’t get that you’re not paying attention, it’s not a matter of interpretation, you’re just not understanding him. he’s rude and he’s willing to disregard the rules™, sure, but he is not morally grey, everything is for The Greater Good at this point, even if he says otherwise to act tough..
he has strong morals and more importantly, he admires people who have strong moral principles, see: anything he said about john ever. it’s not a coincidence he surrounds himself with ppl like john and mrs hudson and lestrade. they are all “ordinary” but good people with strong morals. that’s what sherlock admires, not mycroft or irene, and DEFINITELY not moriarty
Character Aesthetic:Jem Carstairs, Tessa Gray, & Will Herondale
“They say you cannot love two people equally at once,” she said. “And perhaps for others that is so. But you and Will—you are not like two ordinary people, two people who might have been jealous of each other, or who would have imagined my love for one of them diminished by my love of the other. You merged your souls when you were both children. I could not have loved Will so much if I had not loved you as well. And I could not love you as I do if I had not loved Will as I did.”
the more angry and organised a violent protest is, the more certain the media and politicians are that they must be ‘outside agitators’ - and I feel like the roots of this are not so much in fear of these spectral ‘outsiders’ as the firm belief that “ordinary” people don’t ever get angry and organise themselves - it’s unsupportable historically, but i really think they believe that it must be outsiders because it can’t be ordinary everyday folks - because to be ordinary, to them, is to be docile and malleable, capable of being whipped up by agitators, sure - but incapable of coming up with it yourself. You can feel it in the patronising way they talk to us.
I’m not saying that there has never been an instance of people coming from outside to cause trouble at a protest - but I am saying that when that’s the immediate, instinctual explanation that people arrive at in the absence of any evidence, it’s about discounting, diminishing and dismissing the agency of ‘ordinary’ people. It’s saying that whatever you’re experiencing, nomatter how bad it is, it could never make you angry enough to get organised and start hitting back. They can keep thinking that - we know it’s bullshit.
looking at official bank statements is so weird because you realize dan and phil are a multimillion dollar corporation and actually manage and budget a large business but they’re also the same people who sit on ikea furniture and eat cheap cereal
Thank you to the nurses who work alongside us all year round, thank you to the nurses who are there to support new nurses, whether they are graduate or transitioning to the unit. Thank you to the nurses who share their knowledge, ideas and clinical care without muttering criticisms under their breath. Thank you to the nurses who remember what it was like to be new.
Thank you to the nurses for doing what you do every day, despite feeling burned out - unappreciated, overworked, tired of the monotony, exhausted before the shift even begins, and barely standing by the end, all with the expectation to paste the nurse face on and be the welcome wagon, the expectation to people please and mediate all day or all night long - thank you for showing up every damn day, even though you’re broken down on the inside, thank you for going on without the recognition of how important ordinary work really is.
Thank you to the nurses who aren’t afraid to stand up for their patients, their fellow nurses when something just doesn’t “feel” or “look” right, thank you to the nurses who persist until something changes - thank you for being the change agents at a frontline level leadership will never see or truly acknowledge until it’s recognized and planted in front of their faces with a “complimentary” letter. Thank you to the nurses who just go on every day, with this ordinary work, knowing the best recognition is a patient well taken care of, or honest feedback by coworkers in the trenches who understand - truly.
Thank you to the nurses who are working holidays, without making other nurses feel guilty that they have to do it since we all have to do one holiday or other, thank you for what you’re doing - taking care of other people’s families on days you’d honestly rather be at home with yours. Thank you to the nurses who make Christmas and Hannukah special for the patients who are devastated by injury, infection, disease, depression, loss, or pain, thank you for creating an environment or moments where they feel they are special, thank you for making them your whole world for a day, a little less alone.