As it’s the US launch today, let’s discuss the thing that’s been ripping apart my world for the last few weeks… Yep, if you follow me on any social channels you’ll know I’m talking about the BBC One (and HBO) drama Years and Years.
Damn, that show. Incredibly written, phenomenally acted, and the most poignant piece of telly I’ve ever seen (Russell T. Davies is a genius). But here’s the thing, it isn’t just a show. Not really. Because the issues discussed, the dystopia, is real. All of it is happening somewhere (except maybe the face filter thing but give it time) and that is bloody terrifying.
Here’s the point I should say ‘I’m not usually one to get into politics’ but…who am I kidding? The older I get the less able I am to keep my opinions inside. Especially with the world having had such a huge swing to the right. Just this week social media’s been riddled with news of concentration camps in America, there’s camps in Russia, the migrant crisis continues, Brexit is still happening, and the NHS is as fragile as it’s ever been. It’s not exactly a good environment for someone with such high levels of anxiety. I already worry about everything. Now, I find myself lying awake thinking about the future almost every night.
One of the most poignant parts of Years and Years for me, though, was when Anne Reid’s character said the world’s problems are ‘our fault’. That we saw things going wrong, and we complained amongst ourselves, but we didn’t do anything. We let the monsters creep closer and closer, until they were upon us and it was too late.
The speech was shocking because it was so damn true. What are we doing? About climate change, about the NHS, about human rights? We sit around and say how this is Britain, it’ll sort itself out. Nothing can go wrong in Britain. We blame everyone else except ourselves while sitting around waiting for someone to do something.
Every single day I wake up dreading how much closer the monsters have become. Or what new ones have been born overnight. Perhaps now it’s time to fight back against them. Although, I’m not entirely sure how yet…
To start with, though, I’m falling back on my default setting: Writing.
For the past three years I’ve been working on a book inspired by Brexit. In the story the UK has been taken apart like the segments of a festive orange and it’s up to our main character to figure out what part in the new world she plays, if any. Originally I had the book end rather undramatically—things went wrong in a disastrous way and the main character simply gave up. After watching Years and Years, however, and looking at my own mindset as the world plummets further into the right wing, I’m ending the book with fight (note the difference between having fight and fighting.). With a determination not to let the bad guys win. Because in my real life I wouldn’t just roll over. I’ve attended protests, signed petitions, begun buying second hand clothes and skipping straws. So, even though she isn’t sure how just yet, my main character will do whatever she can to make the world a better place.
In short, she’s going to smash the fucking system.
See, for me, Years and Years re-taught me the power of story. How the written word isn’t just a means of making money or entertaining. It’s a means of fighting back against those you don’t agree with, a way of putting someone in another’s shoes, and quite simply a way of changing the world.
Words have more power than we ever give them credit for.
So, to all of us terrified individuals, overwhelmed by the approaching monsters… Here’s a reminder we can fight back too. We don’t have to roll over and let them win.
P.S. If you want to have your heart ripped out through your toes, and…several anxiety attacks, go watch Years and Years. (Seriously, though, go do it. Right now. Right here.) You’re also more than welcome to donate to my KoFi page in the sidebar if what you’ve read has been to your liking. Or even if it hasn’t and you have more money than sense. Whichever.