Welcome - The International Writers Magazine
- January 2009
writing from across the globe.
to be Cheerful: Part One
Its the year of the Ox beginning Jan 26th. Ox years are
better. Steady years - recovery from the turbulence of the past
kind of years. I'm thinking that it will be better than we deserve.
I seem to recall Ox year 1973 was a pretty bad year all round
with wars, fuel price surges and social unrest but the world got
through it intact. Im told. So yes 2009 could be the worse
year of our lives the one we shall talk about forever as
being you remember when
And faces will fall
and lives will be changed, but hey, Im Ox. Ill plough
through and come out the other side and I promise - it won't be
as bad as it could be. The stock market already went up in anticipation
and although it will fall again, I think it sets the tone for
how the year will end. We all know what a precipice looks like
now and Ox's don't jump. Just be glad it isn't the year of the
Image: The Future was clear in 1909
This is the year I hope the British electorate finally realise just how
spectacularly incompetent and arrogant Gordon Brown has been these last
twelve years and boot him out when he calls an early election. (You cant
wait until everyone is unemployed Gordon you will have to go this
year or lose so badly next it will make history for all the wrong reasons).
Obama finally gets to run things from Jan 20th and he is going to be so
utterly disappointed to find how much real damage Bush and Cheney have
done to the fabric of America. From the last minute repealing of all the
environmental laws, the squandering of tax dollars on useless things,
the extravagance of a war fought on a lie and the collapse of infrastructure
right across the continent. This is one hell of a mountain to climb and
he will need all of eight years to fix it. I only hope he has enough time
and political good will. But he is surrounding himself with intelligent
people and that makes quite a difference don't you think and can only
China will finally realise that having its economy tied to the USA is
a huge mistake and with luck Americans will begin to realise that too
and demand something is actually made in the USA (aside from cars no one
wants or needs). China to save itself should also invest hugely in infrastructure
and perhaps now is a good time to think about food, water and air quality
the melamine scare may just the tip of an iceberg in cheating the
Chinese people. If China wishes to be the world superpower it craves
it needs to think about all those left behind by the economic miracle
and find a way to include them, then and only then can it be the shining
beacon of hope it believes itself to be.
Africa, little touched by the recession so far if only because
so much of it is so poor already, must find the courage to police its
tyrants starting with Mugabe. If they cannot and if South Africa
cannot find the will to remove a man who has systematically destroyed
a whole country out of spite, then there is no hope for any country in
Africa. Whether Kenya, Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, too many African countries
are without hope or fairness and spinning downward in a death spiral.
The UN cannot save them all, or indeed any, until they find the will to
save themselves. There is a good heart in Africa but needs help - it cannot
beat without the rule of law and human rights.
2009 will be a year of change. Huge change. We might find that as major
brands and retailers go under that we can live without them. (Despite
the thousands storming the stores after Christmas to buy bargains in a
frenzy of consumerism). Certainly shopping on-line has come of age. If
only delivery could be worked out, but then again, since most of us wont
have jobs, at least we will be home when they call huh.
Predictions are useless, particularly in a panic and depression. Who knows
what shape the world will be in 2010, but change means the getting of
wisdom. Israel might want to think about that as it shuns world sympathy
so easily as it takes on Hamas. Over a week in there now and 450 dead
as I write this. All very depressing for all concerned.
Politics will change. First to the left and then to the right. History
gives us enough to think about as one section takes the interventionist
left approach (Putin is slowly grabbing back all the assets of Russia
from the crooked Oligarchs who seized the gas and oil and banks to start
with and went on a ten-year orgy of consumption). Sadly it will it all
under state control again and Russia has an extremely bad record of running
companies and investing in infrastructure. But then again, it will hold
the west to ransom by withholding gas or oil and do its best to destabilise
Europe its more traditional role. You dont need Cassandra
to predict any of that.
Which way will Germany lean? Thats a good question. Still prosperous
but at some point they will begin to notice that no one can afford BMWs
and Mercedes and then what? Just because you make the best cars doesnt
mean we can borrow to buy them. Just as GM and Chrysler made some of the
worst (in the USA) and then wondered why no one bought them it
all amounts to the same thing. Large purchases will have to wait and if
we collectively put if off too long those companies may well be
gone when we finally need them. Can we live without them? Sure. Will the
millions thrown out of work find other work to do? Maybe not. This is
global. When Toyota sneezes you know the whole world has influenza.
Has this happened before? I was tempted to use the Second World War as
an example, but discovered that productivity rose throughout it. Unemployment
was scarce, tanks and battleships as well as soldiering are labour intensive.
The best I can come up with was 1919. Not only has the First World War
finished with millions upon millions dead, there was a global flu pandemic
(which may have killed as many at ten million no one was counting
outside the west) and a financial crash. Worldwide productivity was pretty
catastrophic and it took until around 1921 until economies began to move
again and new technologies developed in the war found their way into consumer
Does that mean a war is inevitable? No. Of course not. We fought the war
to end all wars didnt we? Oh yeah, there was the small matter of
WW11, but were all more sophisticated than that now, right?
Well what would you like to happen in 2009? Perhaps thats
the way to approach it.
If you are going to graduate this year, go straight ahead and do an MA
you arent going to get a job. (So happens I run an MA at
Portsmouth University in Creative Writing so Im open for business
- see link below.) Or take a gap year, if you have any funds. No one will
hold it against you and you may find that travel or volunteering in Africa
will look great on your CV in 2010 when people start hiring again.
Hell, even if you were middle-management with transferable skills the
VSO is a good place to start. Just because our economies have collapsed
it doesnt mean that that people dont need help to survive
in Asia or Africa or wherever and you will learn one hell of a lot.
Perhaps we wont be so enamoured of TV reality shows and want to
do stuff for real ourselves? Or want to watch shows about making great
property deals. (Shows about how to sell your house in a depression on
the other hand
2009 will be a challenge. You, like me, will wish you had saved for it.
Values will change, needs too, a lot of us will feel a lot less secure
in our jobs or even our streets and there lies another business opportunity
cause you can bet your life the cops arent going to do it,
they have motorists to persecute to hit their targets some things
We through our contributors will continue to chronicle it all
until we too succumb and be swallowed by debt. Until that moment
endure and be like the Ox. Plough through look neither left nor
right but keep on to the far end of the field where your labour will be
rewarded. In the end the answer it seems lies in
PS: here's to our former contributor Roxy who starts her officer training
with the Army this January. Best of luck soldier.
Part Two - Mid Jan
- Editor Jan 4th 2009
want to help Hackwriters keep going, buy my new book Mean
Tide. A young adult ghost
story set in Greenwhich, London.
All profits go into the magazine.
Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic
Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and
completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'
to live with his spooky Grandma by the river in Greenwich, Oliver
(12) discovers a whole world of disturbed people who are probably
even crazier than the ones he left behind. When he finds a dog with
its throat cut on the beach, everything changes.
range 12-16 and adult
are you worried about your health? Read my book 'Another
. If you have the slightest worry about how to survive the coming flu
pandemic, you need this book and all the proceeds go to keep Hackwriters
the review from Calvin
Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North
Retail - 300 pages - Lulu Press USA
will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer
and Noble &
Diamonds - The Rush of '72
now from Amazon.com
terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review
Also printed in the UK and available from
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