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What the OU has taught me

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Whilst I cannot yet see how or where I will use my OU MA I have, over five years, here and when studying, learnt to fill much of my day with reading and writing. In one respect I am back where I was exactly nine years ago: writing all the hours I can. I don't blog. I go to bed early with a story or character on my mind and as soon as I am awake I am looking at notes I received overnight from a reader I befriended on the OU FutureLearn course 'Start Writing Fiction.'

Nine years ago I worked freelance writing and editing copy for websites, training and promotional. Nine years ago I started to take professional swim coaching work. I do both of these again four days a week for a few hours at a time: the wolf is not so much at the door, as sitting at my side but I don't feel I have any choice any more.

Meanwhile I envy my 18 year old daughter who took herself off to Paris, took two jobs, has rented a studio flat and is writing fiction with the kind of enthusiasm she had devouring books when she was little. Good for her.

I am writing at www.startwritingfiction.wordpress.com

This blog I set up initially so that a bunch of us could share work to review. It turned out more practical and very easy for each of us to have our own blogs though.

I no longer blog per se. Rather I write up between 500 and 3000 words of fiction every day, sometimes 5000 words If I am transcribing things I have already written. 

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Design Museum

Free Speech is the religion of the West

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 12 Jan 2015, 12:42

Fig.1. The three million in Paris on Sunday 11th January 2014 to show unity in the face of extremists and violence. 

It has been 250 years in the making, but free speech has, int the West, has surpassed both monarchy and religion. It is a product of and made possible the secular ascendancy. I write this less than half a mile from where Joh Paine espoused his ideas in the meeting houses and pubs of Lewes, in Sussex, England. He had a personal loathing for the aristocracy and land owners. He took his ideas to North America where his words were enshrined in the American Constitution.

A single faith is the religion of many people around the world; it means more to them than consumerism, more than education, more than the state, more than democracy or even life itself. It invariably denies freedom of speech.
 
A little over 300 years ago a teenage boy blasphemed in Edinburgh: he was hanged for his offence, sin and crime. Does it take this long for society to change? Will the world be dealing with the clash between beliefs, opportunity and cultures for many centuries? I suspect so.
 
Those living in the West, by birth or by choice, need to understand and respect our faith - this belief in freedom of expression. Just as we need to accept that in other countries other rules are the norm. 
 
We watched the events unfold in real time hope we could spot our daughter and friends in the crowd. 
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