Author of 'Do I have to be good all the time?' wondering about life, love and awkward moments. A lot of of awkward moments, actually. And sometimes chocolate. You have been warned…

Why listen to women speakers?

I don’t speak at Christian events in order to be famous. Promise. In fact they come at a cost. Working in the creative industries, writing words and stories, faith of any sort isn’t a badge of honour. I don’t really fit in the Christian camp either. I’m not the obvious choice to invite to your women’s event and I’m in nobody’s worst, wildest, dream a traditional preacher. Topics I’ve spoken on relate to what I know how to do – writing, creativity, publishing, culture, media and storytelling – and sometimes what’s required to see those things through if that’s where you’re called. The hard work and resilience needed, the importance of identity, discipline and persistence in the face of tough and unforgiving industries, how to make good choices and balance huge success (should it come) and abject failure (which definitely will) through a lens of faith. A man could speak on those topics too; if I’m asked it’s because on that occasion my version of events, observations and experience is the one that fits the bill. Continue reading

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Round up

It’s been a busy couple of months so here are a few links to things I’ve been doing, on the off-chance you’re interested. It’s rare that I’d describe anything I do as Important-with-a-capital-I but I believe this first thing is. If you missed it, I wrote last month about the death of my lovely friend Linah for The Independent. Linah’s former partner, a man I also knew, killed her in front of their young daughter in July last year. LinahDomestic violence is shockingly common and yet still seems distant and hard to imagine unless it affects us directly. As a society we seem to be unwilling or unable to act to change what we believe to be private matters. So many things went wrong in Linah’s situation and sadly many people are experiencing very similar situations today. If you want to read about my friendship with Linah, the Independent piece is here, and there are a number of links at the bottom of it that provide further information. If you want to do something, charity Refuge are campaigning for a public enquiry into responses to domestic violence and you can read more and join here.

In more trivial matters, I also dispensed a few opinions on the romance front for Christian Connection. Inspired by the question “What does it take to be a good man?” I shared a few thoughts here. As usual, I don’t think whether you’re a man or woman is a determining factor in whether you treat others well but tell me what you think (though do play nicely – that’s kind of the point).

For Threads, I wrote about the light-hearted topics of power and dissent in a piece called ‘Shouting over the music’ and how easy it is to shut out valid challenge or even criticism because the source isn’t friendly or regarded as an ally.

And if it’s not enough for you to read my priceless pearls of wisdom – or you need help dropping off –  there are a couple of unexpected opportunities to hear me ramble and see my actual face talking. At last year’s Greenbelt festival I did an unexpectedly sarcastic-sounding talk as part of the ‘By the time I’m 40 I don’t want to be…’ series on defying social expectations.   My topic was ‘not being defined by marital status’ and you can watch it here (particularly recommended if there are ten minutes of your life you urgently need to fill with an eye-rolling woman sounding caustic about Christian marriage culture).

And finally for Premier Radio, a whole half hour of me talking (note: this can not be taken as proof there isn’t a God) on ‘The Leadership File’ interviewed by the very nice Andy Peck. You can listen here if you’re falling short of your required levels of exposure to mild and unintentional heresy today (only from me; Andy’s spiritual credentials are im-peck-able).

And that’s all. Over and out.

How to be a woman (according to This Morning and the CRE)

Being a proper woman is my life goal and thus I turn – as do many females working from home, taking care of children or not otherwise engaged – to ITV’s This Morning where lessons in excelling in femininity flow daily. Award winning and with an audience of millions (them not me), I’m in good hands.

I can expect my outfits to be analysed and graded by an all-knowing panel of reality stars and a jaunty Irish man, expert in culotte length and the ways of the box pleat. I am told nude heels will add a classy touch to any outfit (assuming I’m nothing other than pale and white, obvs) though also that heels are out and sandals are in – a paradox I can digest more easily while utilising the information that white chocolate goes well with sparkling wine. I have learned Continue reading

Maybe next year

Another event, another all or mostly male line up. Some notice, many don’t. Those who do, ask questions. Those who hadn’t noticed often push back. For many there is no problem, no discussion. The organisers invited; no women – none – were free. Order is restored and the response is straightforward, logical.

Maybe gender doesn’t matter:

I just want to hear from the best

Or understanding, placating:

At least you tried

What a shame they were busy Continue reading