In writing you must kill all your darlings
For nearly 40 years I have been striving to learn to write, whether it be for examinations, letters to family and friends or indeed articles and reviews. The one thing I have discovered is that something written at speed without time reconsider leads to disaster. You need to take time out to edit your own writing.
In examinations, you have finite time and prescribed set of questions, and you need to set time aside to read, plan and then write and finally review what you have written. I learned this as an adult doing trade examinations and also when I went back to college to continue my education.
For family and friends, this is a journey which is ongoing. I think my first letter without supervision was when I was 8 or 9 – writing to thank family for looking after me on holiday. I have continued to write, though less now with pen and paper and more with the computer in whichever mode I am using at the time (desktop, laptop, iPad or phone). All have built-in spell checkers ( and some have even got grammar checkers), but it still takes a careful perusing after writing and before sending to ensure that I have not placed an incorrect word in the message (and it does happen regularly, even with the tools checking).
My writing of reviews and articles is more problematic. Firstly it is time; there never seems to be enough time to do the research and reading necessary to build up sufficient working knowledge to write an in-depth piece. Reviews are to a degree easier, they fall into a set piece of organisation. I have developed a template for their structure. which enables me to fill the initial blocks in from various sites, but then it down to reading and/watching/or listening to the item. To think about how I feel afterwards and to ponder about whether I have come across any other pieces of work which are similar and whether they were better or worse.
So you can see, writing is something you need to practise. It is something to think about. And, it must never be confused with sending a quick message or tweet – though they should be actioned with discretion, and often aren’t.
Writing for me is a joy, a quilty sin, a pain and on its worse day a pain, but I wouldn’t give it up.
Missing in Action is my terminology. The link at the bottom of this article shows a list of books recommended for everyone to read and understand the troubles! But, both in terms of what it lists, but also in terms of what it leaves out.
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There are books covering aspects of both sides of paramilitaries, of ordinary people and how they were affected, but nothing about the military or the police, which to my mind is a shortfall. But even more glaringly obvious is the lack of any books covering the LGBT community during the trouble, either individually or as groups. For the military I suggest the following:
and for our community, possibly
I would ask any of readers to suggest other books to cover all of our community. But also remember to read the reviews that we have here on our own site, at NIGRA.
And just to add other spice to the mix:
I am posting this article because I think there is a need for us to step back from the abyss in the United Kingdom and realise that the closure of libraries and associated resources (including school libraries) is detrimental to our future as a country and also for us as individuals. The first public library came into being with The Public Libraries Act 1850, and this gave local boroughs the power to establish ‘free’ public libraries. The Act was the first legislative step in the creation of an enduring national institution that provides universal free access to information and literature, and was indicative of the moral, social and educative concerns of the time.
Our libraries need saving now!
After nearly 170 years we are close to loosing that infrastructure for self education. The article below from Emily Prado, and in particular here paragraph just prior to the quote, ..Yet the recent election cycle and studies revealing Americans’ inability to sort clickbait from facts demonstrate how far from the truth this sentiment really is – ‘that libraries are not necessary’.
I am a long term self educationalist, with a passion for books and libraries. I access them through libraries, book shops, charity shops and also the internet. However without the library services of the past I would not be in that position today. Boys and girls require different stimuli and the libraries of the past allowed for this to happen, whether it was at school or in public libraries; now our future is looking bleak!
Libraries are radical, evolving resources that function with the sole purpose of providing free access to information for the masses and creating intellectual equality.
“It’s in literature that true life can be found,” Nobel Prize-winning author Gao Xingjian was once quoted as saying.
The Chinese novelist and playwright may not have been speaking directly to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, but to those of us in the community, he might as well have been. Widespread representation of LGBT life in literature was present well before Hollywood came to embrace it; scribes like Leslie Feinberg andDavid Sedaris have been making us laugh, cry and feel all the feelings for decades — and who could ever forget their first encounter with Armistead Maupin or Oscar Wilde?
We asked our readers to name the books that shaped the way they felt about themselves as LGBT people. While this is by no means a definitive literary list, the responses we received on Facebook and Twitter reflect the community’s wit, strength and overall diversity.
Take a look at 20 books that changed the way we felt about ourselves as LGBT people below.