A draft submission by Jo Saunders


2 thoughts on “TITLE: A TRUE STORY

  1. Thanks for this story Jo. One of the advantages I’ve found of moving away from the UK is the ease of taking a mind-break from national media stories. Their omnipresence (on the radio, TV, at work) fed anxiety I’d developed as a teen to the point where I’d watch the breakfast news, before putting on my suit and smile each day, only to decide if I felt safe enough to go outside or not and, ‘for what?’ I asked myself when I realised what I was doing… ‘to become numb because the world’s full of risk?!’

    Until one morning; a news story compelled me to re-write it as a poem. I’d never considered myself creative (awfully academic you see) and had never written a poem beyond the ones school got us to do. Even as I was doing it (steeling time on the way to the office and in the lunch break), an inner dialogue complained of the waste of time writing when I should be setting targets or reading about business.

    Last month I performed that poem in front of 300 people at a TEDx event and in the time between have left the full time job, move country and have infinitely more faith in the good of others as, it now seems to me, being afraid of people is more risky than leaning into society.



  2. It’s a natural reaction. Ok yeah, the media plays up our fears, but if you think about it, your survival instincts are there to keep you safe. In this instance, your fight or flight instincts were working for you. As much as we like to believe that we live in an ordered society and everybody has our best interest at heart, the fact is it isn’t as ordered as you might think and not everyone has your best interest at heart. Err on the side of caution. I’m a big guy, ex-military, can handle myself in a fight, but I would have reacted exactly as you described in your post. In the military, we assessed situations as green, amber, or red. In this instance, night time, two drunk lads approaching, I would have gone immediately into an amber state, bordering on red. In short, I think you have nothing to be ashamed of and that you should be glad that your survival instincts were alert, even if you were thinking they shouldn’t have been.



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