Discover more from Have You Thought About...
The nuances of news stories, connecting and conversations.
A lot to share.. firstly Season Two of my independent Have You Thought About podcast has dropped. This season I’ve spoken to a succession of women about the super cool things they’ve been building up expertise in -there’s authenticity, burnout, saving money in unusual ways, keeping across digital security, the relationship between fear and wolves and even how to embrace the many faces of grief.
It’s a privilege to be able to interview them and share their stories. Have You Thought About has always been about showcasing how people don’t have to be just the one thing that sometimes they are defined by. It came into being because for so much of my career, I’ve had people tell me they don’t know how to place me or it’s intimidating that I have so many interests - but my thing is that I’m not unusual or special and in fact our varied interests interweave and give us our unique perspectives. That’s why the newsletter and now the podcast exists.
The podcast is available on all platforms and you can also hear each episode on www.dhrutishah.com/podcast. There are also transcripts.
The first episode is a conversation with Doreen Cunningham - whom I first met when she was sent my way because she’d written a wonderful manuscript and wanted guidance on how to navigate parts of the book creating process I had had to go through too as we were both BBC staffers at that point. Her book Soundings: Journeys in the Company of Whales is AMAZING. It’s so beautifully written. Doreen takes her toddler son to follow the migrating paths of whales. Literally. Anyway, have a listen.
And a few weeks ago I got some book post and it was a book that I very much liked the sound of. I like children’s books and those for young adults because I think they often incorporate a sense of play missing. However I still haven’t had a chance to read it yet as it got snapped up by a teenager I know the minute he saw it.
As much as I like reviewing children’s books, here’s what the guest reviewer had to say about this novel which tells the tale of an app which is far more interactive than the characters playing it envisioned. There is a minor bit of spoilerage here so close your eyes for the second par.
“Shrinkle is an amazing, phantasmagorical novel full of comedy, adventure and it shows just how valuable life can be!
“The fact that Liam (who usually annoys his brother Max) actually helps Max escape from the evil spider shows just how much siblings care for each other - it's really inspiring.”
It looks like he turned out to be a big fan.
In other news, I’ve been in nature and on a bit of a break from social and I wish I could incorporate that more in life but the freelance world means I have to be on in order to find opportunities to stick my name in the hat for. But having that break did help and I recommend the digital natives to try do it if you can. That even includes WhatsApps!
Elsewhere I was asked to appear on a national broadcaster on a topic that is quite personal - embracing the fact that I’m pretty hairy. But by doing it, it’s highly likely that I’ll get some racist commentary and to be perfectly frank, having just had a chilled break - it wasn’t worth the fee (and tax on that). It’s important that the producer was looking at the subject but she understood when I said that I would have to factor in racist comments and the emotional labour of that. The last time I did a major piece on being hairy (and that was for The Guardian), the social media commentary was mixed between people saying yes, they agreed and feeling seen and the haters (who were all white by the way) saying what I wrote wasn’t worthy of inclusion in The Guardian.
Who cared what they thought though because the piece got picked up by a science podcast and led to me going out of my comfort zone and writing a comedy monologue so… blurgh. But having to factor in things like racism and sexism is one of the reasons I stepped away from news. The world can be toxic when you put your head above the parapet.
I want to put something here briefly and return to it. I don’t know when though. I find it very difficult to work on stories relating to dead children. I did a lot of this work when working as a newsroom journalist - not through choice but because it ended up being in the remit of the role I ended up in for many years. Often I worked on stories around children in horrific circumstances and unnatural deaths. This week in the UK, a serial killer - a neonatal nurse called Lucy Letby was found guilty in court of some horrific crimes. The pain those families of the babies she killed - it’s very hard to stop thinking about it. But there’s also the fact that the whistleblowers - the consultants, the doctors, weren’t listened to and more babies were killed despite them the consultants flagging their concerns - it’s very needling too.
They weren’t listened to and instead this woman was protected despite those in charge being told something wasn’t right and this woman was the common denominator.
I want to put this here having read an opinion piece on it in Glamour by Nadeine Asbali. This paragraph for me is incredibly strong. It resonates. When I read the conversations beyond the horror of the murders and instead about the governance, about the structures, this is something that I bookmark. For this is something that is also one of the reasons this case draws attention again and again.
“Any woman of colour knows how pervasive the victimhood of white women is in society at large, and especially in the microcosm of the workplace. We know that the tears of a white woman are so sacred that we can find ourselves penalised for reporting a colleague’s racism because their pain is worth more than ours – even if they did call us a terrorist in the staffroom.”
I’ll come back to this one day. But not yet.
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