This time last year I was still on a high from giving a TEDx talk – possibly one of the scariest but best things I’ve done in my writing career. You can watch it – In Praise of Everyday Words – here.
In fact I was so inspired by the AMAZING team putting the whole event together, that I volunteered to help put on this year’s event. And I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve told me that they’d wished they’d known about the day, so this is a little bit of a public service announcement – the TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells event is on this Saturday, 1st February at the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells.
YOU’VE NO EXCUSE NOW and you are not too late. The organisers have just released an extra tranche of tickets because of demand. Do come and say hello if you’re there. I’ll be one of the people in TED t-shirts showing people where the loo is.
You can see the speaker line-up here (hence the subject heading). I’ve been in on some of the conversations and I can tell you that they are going to be amazing!
But back to me.
My talk last year featured the Oxford Word of the Year, and as the one for 2018 was TOXIC, I hoped that 2019 might be more positive. Well, folks, it’s CLIMATE EMERGENCY. Hmmm. One of the things we did last year was invite the audience to think of their own words – but sadly hug, hope and authentic didn’t make the grade.
Anyway I’ve updated the poem I wrote for my talk to include Climate Emergency – the other words of the year are in bold or underlined with their year beside them.
I like the idea of doing this every year from now on, with a poem that gets longer and longer….
Icarus vapes over a dictionary (2014)
by Sarah Salway
The weather was post-truth that summer, (2016)
we lounged in our gardens,
took selfies in lycra. (2013)
Those sunny Sundays,
while we could still pretend
Climate Emergency was just for cranks, (2019)
and even us squeezed middles (2011)
could imagine ourselves gods –
with music breaking through walls
and us dancing,
a rest from the omnishambles (2012)
of so many toxic headlines, (2018)
and if sometimes we looked up
in the hope
that it might never end,
perhaps we were waiting
for the promised youthquake (2017)
who would build us a Big Society, (2010)
a term many of us still liked the sound of
but few had ever understood –
if we were completely honest …