Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Sun Rising

Japan. Shit. What can you say? I saw it roll out on Twitter and ran to turn on the TV. It was the first time I've watched TV in the daytime since 9/11 and I just saw image after image that my mind could barely comprehend.


Then watched the news play out on Twitter and felt queasy. Had to step back, step away. It showed social media at its best and its worst. Yes, it’s incredible that we can see news being made, live, in real time, by people who are there, who are watching it, living it. But it also makes you realise how easily misinformation can be spread; how panic can be fuelled. Then, of course, there are the typical prats – who either don’t give a toss or who think it’s smart to poke fun. And then again there are the disaster junkies – who just revel in a drama; who emote all over the place and even get off on it all - the Diana brigade at their worst. Then there are those who are using this human tragedy for their own agenda.  As my friend Frankie Sachs said, ‘It’s almost like they want to see the mushroom cloud.’  Actually, read her blog - it says it all much better than I can.

Anyhow. Frankie and another friend - Sessha Batto  - have been doing incredible, ceaseless work trying to put out accurate information, trying to stop panic escalating, trying to instil balance. Then, as Frankie says, ‘Somehow just relaying info didn't feel like enough, and nobody else had one rolling, so we started a charity anthology project.’ 

If you are a writer and would like to contribute, they are taking submissions right now. Or maybe you could offer editing skills? Or marketing advice? Or maybe you could write a blog or put out a video or, well, anything? Even just retweet this post? 
The website is here: New Sun Rising – Stories for Japan - do please take a look.

Another bunch of mates are involved with Authors for Japan. You can bid for all sorts – from signed books to help with your own writing. It's another great cause; another small way you can help.  Check it out.

16 comments:

zenandtheartoftightropewalking said...

I've sent in a small contribution last night; not sure if it was any good but I've virtually nothing in my archives that is Japan related.
But will be buying for sure.

Frankie said...

Wow Jane. Thank you so much. You made me tear up. (I've been doing that a lot lately.) But thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Support for this project has just been overwhelming and amazing.

Exmoorjane said...

Viv: fabulous...

Frankie: you prune...you and Sessh are awesome...true voices of sanity. So much about all this has made me feel uneasy...lot of bandwagoning for sure..but you guys are solid gold.

Emily said...

Wish I could write something to express my grief for the people of japan. For now, I'm jsut sending good thoughts, strength and hope x LondonZest

James Rainsford said...

Brilliant that you are trying to organise some genuine help in the face of this immense tragedy.
here' a link to my poem.
http://bit.ly/dxEjiG
If you think it suitable I'll email it for possible inclusion in the anthology.
Very best of luck with your efforts.
Kind regards, James.

Exmoorjane said...

Emily: hard not to feel helpless with the enormity of it.

James: ah, not me that's coordinating - but I'll pass on to the guys. Thank you.

Rob-bear said...

As one who has had to report on things like this, there is a certain combination of shock, chagrin, and pensiveness. What are the details of the story to be told?

A small porcelain china doll is found in the detritus of Sendai airport. Was it owned by a little girl? Is she still alive? Who is/was she? And so the questions flow.

Sessha Batto said...

Have I told you lately that I love you, Jane? The voice of rationality in my insane world, your post made me cry (again). You're a darling and a rock star for this, you know!!

Exmoorjane said...

Rob: you're out of hibernation then? Excellent. And yes to the details, yes. Maybe you could contribute a story?

Sessha: don't be a daft bint :) I've done nada - you guys are the business. But, yeah, tell me you love me (cos I love that) :)

Posie said...

Awful awful time for everyone caught up in it, hard to comprehend the enormous impact of it all, it seems surreal. Good luck to all involved in the anthology project, a fantastic idea, it must be sooo hard reporting on such tragedy and devastation....

Sessha Batto said...

Posie: What's really hard is watching the foreign media - happily strutting in front of the cameras in clean clothes and make up - far more interested in their five minutes of fame than in doing anything useful - apparently it is much more important to schlep in camera crews and capitalize on others' agony than to fill those trucks with food, water, blankets and batteries and try to actually SAVE a few lives. It's like watching vultures circle overhead . . . only I have more sympathy for the vultures, at least they are doing what they are designed to do :(

Exmoorjane said...

To be fair, Sessh, reporters are also doing a job. Some foreign correspondents are hard as nails (and yeah some will get off on the boost to their career) but for others situations like this do get to them - hard. Media coverage is never ideal but it does bring attention to the situation.
What is worse, I think, is when things aren't reported. I remember being in Sarajevo when the conflict kicked off in former Yugoslavia - and there was NOTHING in the world media. It was like nothing was happening, nobody gave a shit, for weeks.

But can totally understand your frustration with the lack of basic aid getting there.

Sessha Batto said...

Jane: I don't blame them for doing their job . . . but I DO blame them for the way they do it. The media tramples on grief like an elephant, utterly mindless of the additional pain they are causing and, in many cases, obviously rooting for things to become even more dire so they can get more air time. It's a circus sideshow feeding on misery and fear, and it disgusts me :( I honestly don't see how you can shove a microphone in a grieving mother's face to get 'the shot' and still be able to look at yourself without vomiting. To me being hard as nails means being able to face whatever horrors you see, WITHOUT losing your compassion.

Exmoorjane said...

Yup, can't disagree with that. Was the major reason I didn't do news journalism. :(

Posie said...

Sessha eek, it must be completely sickening to see 'glammed up' journalists feeding on human tragedy, to actually watch the side show in the making, especially when there is real human suffering all around. Thankfully in the TV media you can see the compassion of the journalists who do genuinely care though, and without their reports we would live in complete ignorance.I agree the media have a habit of hugely overstepping the mark and are very guilty of showing no compassion and relishing in other's misfortune too, it is so blatant at times it makes you cringe ....and what does it then say about the audience they are reporting to when production teams and editors obviously go for the 'glam' report?

family affairs said...

Brilliant idea - would love to help - will think L x