Saturday, 1 February 2020

A Bright Light on a Dark Brexit Day

I haven't had any time to commit to writing this week. I've been subbing full time, trying to sort applications for courses and I've been chasing a new editing client and continuing a project with a previous client. 

But Friday evening, Brexit Day, I managed to stay awake past dinner and go to my writing group for the first time in three weeks. It was great to see the regulars, catch up with a returnee I haven't seen in a year or so and meet the newbie. I shared a couple of poems I liked, but knew weren't quite working and got helpful feedback, so hopefully I'll find some time this weekend to tweak them. 

I forget how much I enjoy the camaraderie of other writers, especially foreign writers here in Finland. We're a good mix of nations, last night there were British, American, Hungarian, Romanian and Jamaican writers attending. We usually have a Finn or two as well. We went out for a drink afterwards, to talk shop, politics and just generally blether. We may not agree on everything politically and I was grateful the conversation did not turn to Brexit, but I feel we can actually debate and break open subjects that touch on writing, teaching, literature and being immigrants.

Though the other writers and I are on different paths in our writing careers, there are few poets in the group, it's nice to have a small community to share worries, successes and struggles. If someone asks, how do you decide when a piece is finished, there are lots of different points of view and stories shared, poems that get rehashed to death, stories that never get finished. They understand. I'm so glad I've managed to find this in a place where I can't properly engage with the local literature because my language skills just aren't up to it. Even if I can't make it every week, I know it's there when I have time. 

I'm not sure how Brexit will change things in the UK, in Scotland specifically and here in Finland. There's this sense of dread over the social media posts from my Scottish friends back home, from the British immigrants I know here. The closed minds that have initiated Brexit are having their moment, but I hope that some sort of balance will quickly be established.  I hope Scotland gets independence. I hope the hate that started all this doesn't continue to gain momentum in the UK and in Europe.

I'm not British, not European, but my children are. They don't understand Brexit and what is being taken away from them, but I do. They don't see borders, nationalities, they don't worry about immigration regulations, residence permits. Finland, Europe is their home. They have Finnish friends and friends from all around the world and they don't separate them except by which language they speak. If asked, they don't know if they're British or Finnish or where their friends' families are originally from and don't see why it would be a concern. I want to keep that acceptance. I want them to find a place, a group of people where it doesn't matter where they're from, but they can share a common passion in their interests. 

Only time will tell.


  1. This is lovely. And it makes me miss having a writing group.

  2. Definitely worth hunting one down. Took me a while here, but it's good to have the connection.