Ripping Yarns open today, but I'm writing this to you from my house, because I've had to close up.
There were a few riot vans passing early in the day heading away from Archway, but then seven riot vans all appeared at once heading in the other direction, and several police on foot. There was a very uneasy vibe out the place, several shops had closed already and pulled their shutters down, I'd had no customers in the shop all day, there were groups of people starting to form near the woods... so I decided to close. We're also next to Wood Green and Tottenham. You can read The Big Green Bookshop's post on the riots. Some idiots also decided to use the unrest to perform a hate crime.
I'm now home, listening to police sirens in the distance.
I love London. The people doing this are not representative of our city. It's all crazy, and it makes me very very sad.
I'd like to take this opportunity to quote from a letter sent to a small girl by Adrian Mitchell (my boss's late husband, the fantastic poet). We found this letter amongst his papers a few months ago. It is so relevant today:
...You must be strong. It's not good thinking about the dark side of the planet obsessively or all the time. Your imagination should also delight in the beauty and warmth of the people and creatures around you, the joy and often absurdity of life.... It is important not just to have feelings about the horrors of today, but also to think and study hard to discover - what can be done to change all this? What can I do to change it?
I don't mean that you alone can abolish all the evil in the world magically. But maybe through your songs, or poems, you could change the lives of thousands of people you've never met. Or maybe you'll be a doctor and add to the healing part of the world's population, rather than the destructive side...
...I was a child in World War Two. I was really too young to be afraid then, even when the bombs were falling, for I didn't believe that it would ever happen to me. But many times since I have been afraid, for myself and my family, for my country and for the whole world.
But fear isn't the answer. Courage and hard work is the nearest I can find to one... I share your fear sometimes that the whole world seems to be in flames. Well, we better learn to be good firefighters and save all the people we can.
Yours, with love
Please support @Riotcleanup. Stay safe, everyone.
Young Writers’ Groups
2 days ago