This is just a note to flag up a remarkable piece of writing by ex-Walsall resident, blogger and new dad Rich Johnstone, a chap who I’ve always found to be an excellent writer, thoroughly decent human and good online pal.
This weekend was very hard for me, for a number of reasons. I found the blog, and the social media around it difficult. One of the things you become accustomed to when you write about and for your local community is just how relentlessly negative some people can be.
Sometimes, in the wee small hours when a post won’t come together, or inspiration sneaks out the window, it’s tempting to rip it all down and take a torch to it all – never more so than when something you see, and break news of as a positive is torn to shreds by others.
I won’t go into detail, because it’s just not worth the energy, but those who know my passion for this well will know what drove me downwards so much.
There are people in our communities, working hard to bring and share stuff (I don’t mean me here, I’m just a mirror for them) – sport folks, the socially minded, the artists, the wildlife people, those who arrange events, stage campaigns, fight their corners, try for something better for their bit of the world.
And yet there are others who can never create, never find a good word, or celebrate anything except failure.
Walsall, Brownhills or anywhere are far from perfect. I’d be the first to admit it. But there are real jewels glinting in the everyday dust.
This was also reflected in the local online community in the last week or so by a buzz over a thoroughly unpleasant bit of writing about Walsall. Written a long time ago and recycled by another site, it was, and remains nasty, prejudiced and ignorant. The essay wrote Walsall off and was celebrated by those who would find dog shit in the Garden of Eden. The whole snide reaction proved my point.
Then Rich Johnstone got hold of it.
Rich is one of the very finest people. A man who’s had tough times, and come through them to find peace, dignity and pride. A pride reflected in his wonderful counter-essay on just why Walsall is special.
It’s worth a read. Please do. It’s as easy as anything to slag stuff off – people, places, events and groups. It’s so much harder to create. Creating stuff is tough, and leaves you vulnerable.
Which is why so many never take the risk.
Thank heavens some people still do, like Rich, despite the negativity. Rant over.