My writing, especially my poetry, is often very personal and looks inward. It doesn’t often explicate upon social issues, but I try to post on social media about new stories and events that I find unjust. Here in Armagh, I try to closely follow the developments of the news back home: the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the following protests and demonstrations, Dallas, our election. I’ve also been learning more about the UK government’s current upheaval and the schisms in the Labor and Tory parties, and following the massacre in Nice and the coup in Turkey.
I was having a conversation with the hostel security guard, John, last night. He strikes me as someone who’s more conservative. He feels like we, as humans, are constantly bombarded with bad news and we’re unable to process it. He says he doesn’t watch the news because it depresses him so much. I say that it’s important to give yourself that processing time by taking a walk or meditating, but I don’t want to look away. It’s especially crucial for privileged people like myself to not look away from events or issues that don’t directly effect me. It’s important that I work on this, and be better about communicating these issues to other people who have privilege. Writing plays is an extremely effective way to do this. While the play I’m writing this year isn’t so much about social issues, the play I wrote four years ago was. That play was not so much about teaching others, because I was the one being taught, but a way for me to process and understand the political atmosphere and historical context of Northern Ireland.