Tuesday 22 November 2011

The Dawnbloggers

Props* to Jon for yesterday's description of the work that goes into writing blogposts. I know it's not just me who undergoes 'frantic typing at dawn' or who stares blankly at the computer screen for what seems like an aeon, fingers frozen half an inch above the keyboard, looking like some dreadful waxwork from the Hammer house of horror (Are you ready for... The Dawnbloggers?) and wondering whether ANYTHING will EVER happen! It just feels like that when you're sitting alone in a crepuscular bed.

Now to the week's brief - best blogs. But first I need coffee.

That's better.

The Social Reporting blog on the Transition Network site is now in its tenth week and is the blog I read daily along with This Low Carbon Life which it's modelled on.

This is because in the years I've been involved in Transition these are the only places where I can journey alongside fellow travellers on the Transition road (or cycle path!) as they are being lived within their initiatives.

We live in a world of marketing and ideas, where the idea of how something should be takes precedence over what actually is. Physical, lived experience gets short shrift in such a world. Everything conspires to make us want to escape from our bodies, our feelings, the people around us (who are never quite as we imagine they should be), the actual moment with all its difficulties and joys and aspire to some ideal never-never state. But that is not where the real treasure lies. It’s to be found within our physical, biological beings, without which we wouldn't be here to tell our stories.

Real-life stories is what the Social Reporting project is all about: local market gardening on a shoestring on rented land in Wales where the majority of transitioners are not Welsh (Ann Owen); Feeling the fear of getting things wrong and planting those tomatoes anyway (Rachel, Transition Cam & Dursley); Squatting and regenerating derelict land and creating a vibrant community in Transition for squatters, villagers and visitors - and facing court eviction (Joe Rake, Transition Heathrow); the challenges of getting people interested in transition ideas in a small town in Northern Ireland and forgetting to brush your hair (Marella Fyffe, Transition Omagh); writing a transition book called Local Food at the same time as providing your daughter with leukaemia with proper healthy meals every day and avoiding all hospital junk (Tamzin Pinkerton, guest editor).

These are just a few of nearly seventy posts to date on the Social Reporters blog, written by a regular crew of twelve transitioners from initiatives all over the UK, with guest editors introducing a particular Transition theme each Sunday (e.g. being in transition, economics, the big picture) which is then expanded throughout the week. The majority of the pieces speak straight from the no-frills experience of being in Transition and are funny, practical, bitter, moving, deep and light all at the same time.

I don't want to overload you with links here, so I'll just pull three pieces out of a hat which illustrate for me the value of writing about real experience and why the social reporting project is so key. They are not the only three by any means, ALL the posts would show it! So do have a decko at the others:

Catriona from Scotland's Black Isle reports from the hospital bed on the link between personal mental health and that of communities in Under The Rocks and Stones. Jay Tompt looks with a newcomer's eye at What's New and Renewing in Totnes and Ann Owen talks about her market garden and earning her living on the edge in Permaculture on a Budget.

So why does it matter that we write about our real experience and read that of others? For me it matters because I want to live in a culture where if the "show must go on" it's not at the cost of our common humanity and the planet we live on.

That's why I liked Jon's intro yesterday (see below). I think fellow social reporters would relate too...

*US colloquial for respect, recognition

Pic: Are you ready for... The Dawnbloggers by Mark Watson

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