Writing the future

I’m not one for New Year resolutions. It’s mainly because I’m useless at keeping them and I hate the feeling of failure that has normally set in by the end of the January. This year was no different. The world, however, seemed to have other ideas….

As Big Ben rang in 2021, the UK departed the EU. Not what I wanted, but at least the deal’s done, and we can start to argue about the future rather than the past. Then on January 20th Donald Trump departed the White House, albeit leaving the planet in an even worse state than when he entered it, but nonetheless replaced by a man of seemingly genuine decency. Finally, as the month drew to a close, my parents received their COVID-19 vaccination in a mosque just down the road. Despite my scepticism, the world seems to have resolved to take a tentative turn for the better.

It makes me wonder what I, as a writer, can contribute. In a recent episode of A Point of View on Radio 4, Rebecca Scott talks about the power of longform ‘slow storytelling’:

“…I’m appreciating again how powerful it can be as a form of conversational persuasion. Good storytelling doesn’t preach, it isn’t didactic, it doesn’t hand down commandments. It allows us to look at issues from many different and sometimes surprisingly and contradictory vantage points. … Slow expansive storytelling lets us make up our own minds as we go along through listening to the voices of others. In fact, it insists that we do.

In particularly she talks about The Archers, a show that I (and fellow BOLDtexter Liz John) write for. As we look to a post-Brexit, post-Trump, post-COVID future, I’m recommitting myself to the aspirations Rebecca Scott so eloquently expresses: to reflect society back to itself, in the hope that we can better understand ourselves – and each other. Tim Stimpson

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