Saturday, 21 March 2015

Deadlines and roses

I had a feeling that I wasn't doing something I should be. I woke up at 5.15 and thought about getting up to do something, but couldn't think of anything urgent. I work up at 8.14, then, finally at 9.10.

Then I knew.

It was the 21st February and I was supposed to have posted my 2nd post on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

I was very proud to have been asked to be a contributor, and now I had messed it up.

I rushed downstairs like Corporal Jones from 'Dad's Army'.

First I couldn't find my glasses.

My daughter found them.

Then I got onto the website but couldn't see how to post.

So I went to my emails to see if I could find my past instructions, all the time doing this:

I had a kind email from Sue asking if I had forgotten to post, and sent her a desperate one back asking how to do it.

Then I remembered. It was on blogger. And sure enough it was easy.

But by the time I had sorted myself out Sue had stepped into the breach and had quickly posted a v interesting post about ice pick books which melt the frozen seas within us as readers.

So here I am. I've not missed this deadline because I have done what I should have done before and written it in advance and scheduled it in to automatically post on the 21st March.

So here is a cute video of a kitten waking up by way of apology and thanks to Sue. It's about as far away from the way I woke up on the 21st February as it could be.

Now for my proper post.

I was really sorry I missed last month because I knew what I wanted to say and it was linked with the 22nd February. Then I thought, it's always a good time to talk about this, so I will.

I want to talk about Sophie Schöll, a young 22 year old German student during the Second World War.

On the 22nd February 1943 she was killed by the Nazis for being a member of the White Rose Movement. Originally I had lots about her in 'Girl with a White Dog', but it ended up (wisely) being edited out. I did try to put everything I knew about Nazi Germany into one book - I am one of those people who DEFINITELY need editors!!! In the end then, I was able to put my thoughts about Sophie Schöll into the afterword, so readers could still find out about her, and in the actual story I had white roses in Jessie's grandmother's garden as a hidden tribute.

I went to Munich and visited the university where she and her brother distributed the leaflets condemning the Nazi Government for their treatment of the Jews, and I saw a wonderful artistic tribute embedded in the pavement there. It was particularly moving as I had noticed a group of students standing chatting together, and I had thought what a shame it was that nobody was noticing the litter at their feet. When I realised that it was in fact facsimiles of the original leaflets, plus photographs of the members of the White Rose Movement, I felt very struck.

I missed my deadline to post in February, but nobody in this country will miss the deadline of 7th May 2015. We are so lucky that we are not living in Nazi Germany and that we don't have to risk our lives when we question those in power. But although we live in a democracy it is not perfect, and we do still, like Sophie, have to be aware of what is happening to people in our society and what sort of political atmosphere is dangerous for some more than others. This is what I wanted to get across in 'Girl with a White Dog'.  We must make sure our politicians know what we value. We must point out, when canvassers stand on our doorsteps, that we, like Sophie, oppose anti-semitism, any forms of racism, the stigmatising of the unemployed and the withdrawal of rights to and support of the disabled, and whoever wins the election must share our values. We don't have to risk our lives publishing clandestine leaflets to do this - we are writers and we are so lucky that we can write without fear - so let's write stories which inspire and remember that brave student and her brother and friends who used words so bravely and so well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sophie is aweinspiring, great blog.