Last week, we celebrated About Times. The day we launched there was barely time for a snatched phone call and a *whoop*, but it IS a thing to be proud of - not just the gorgeous writing and diverse voices within it, but the huge collaboration which has gone into each edition.
None more so than this third edition which has our first guest editor. Nicola is a clear, no bullshit voice on her blog and on instagram, and she has applied the same lens here.
Our goal with About Times is not to amplify our voices, but to help others to shout a little louder. So if you’re interested in being a guest editor, then give us a shout.
In the meantime, we wish you a restful Christmas period and look forward to hearing from you in the New Year
It would be easier to answer the question, ‘how far have we come?’ if progress was linear - if both our movement through time and our thinking were always forward. As it is, the course of progress reminds me more of a Slinky - the ubiquitous toy formed of spiralling circles that pulls itself along through the power of momentum, and often ends up in a tangled heap at the bottom of the stairs.
Each circle leads into the next; stretch them out and it is clear that their journey repeats over and over again, round and round and round. Albeit incremental, the momentum is nonetheless forwards, dragging a weight behind it that undeniably slows it down, but ultimately all are bound by progress, not regress.
This month’s edition of About Times examines some aspects of this spiralling journey forwards including how businesses are being empowered to take eco-responsibility by the development of new technologies and the changing of mindsets; how the representation of some marginalised groups is changing in TV programmes and advertising; how women are being encouraged to challenge the ways in which they measure their worth; and how politics in the Maldives is being reshaped by the influence of the women of a country more often associated in the UK with romance rather than rebellion.
A beautiful short story captures the suffocating reality of life at home for one mother who mourns the promises that were made as time seems to have stopped for her; an equally stunning poem explores a woman’s wonder as she looks back through the generations that came before, and then turns her gaze forwards.
As disparate as these subjects may seem, a common thread unites the whole of this edition: the awareness that it is complicated, but that complicated is not the same as impossible, or pointless. To those who would roll their eyes, smirk condescendingly, or simply sit passive in their privilege, rest assured that we know there are no easy answers; there is no single roll of the dice that will land us at a Utopian finish line. We also know that as much as we may mark the progress that has been made, we are equally certain that it isn’t enough.
We keep one eye fixed on the injustices that continue to thrive in a world that encourages us to think only of ourselves: we see the inequality, poverty, racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, ableism, the climate-change deniers, and the corporate distraction machine that doesn’t want any of us to think too hard. But at no point do these writers feel defeated. These women are hopeful, although this is not to be mistaken for a fluffy faith in the power of love and light alone. These women are committed to a vision of a world where we place the importance of living our individual lives alongside a deeply felt responsibility to each other. These women believe in action.
Thank you for taking the time to read Edition Three of About Times - I hope you find some topics to inspire some unapologetically heavy festive conversations and of course, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!