A friend was on Sky News on Wednesday night and I tuned in early to make sure I saw her. Sky News has a permanent countdown clock at top left on the screen and it was saying 9 Days, so many hours, so many minutes, so many seconds.
For quite a few of those seconds I was actually wondering what in the world was going to happen in nine days.
Then just in the same instant that I realised, the clock confirmed it by rotating to briefly display a banner saying “Brexit Countdown”.
And then I got to spend all the time between then and when my friend was on thinking about what in the world is going to happen in nine days.
I think you can go so far into misery about this that it’s paralysing. The only Friday I haven’t talked to you in about seven years was the one when the Brexit vote was announced.
I do also think that you can go too far the other way, that you can decide to abandon politics because it isn’t working, the system is broken and there’s nothing you can do. True, it isn’t working, the system is broken and there’s nothing you can do. But it doesn’t get fixed by turning your back on it – even if you are in any kind of position to do that.
Yet, maybe just because of that countdown and this impending day, I do need to think about mental health. And I do need to think about one particular thing.
It’s that we need to make things.
This isn’t really about politics, it’s really about us and the world today. I know people who are astute in their political opinions which they tell me about a lot – but they don’t actually do anything. I professionally know people who have opinions about art – but never create any.
I ran a workshop this week about vlogging, a day for musicians, actors, journalists and writers about making videos and series of videos. At one point we got deep into a discussion about how you deal with comments, with internet trolls really.
And partly because I was watching the clock and did need us to get on to the next, I said something that I didn’t realise I truly meant.
Ignore the comments, I said. Ignore everything and just keep on making things. Control what you can control, make what you can.
I’ve been thinking about that since I said it.
Listen, I see you as a writer but even if you also dabble in other things like art or a proper job, make something. I think you need to.