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This occurred to me

1 March 2018

The bible says that the years of our lives are three score and ten. I’m pleased to say that as of April 2016 I’m now ahead of the game!

And that is what it appears to be lately. Stand up, make a claim of historic sexual harassment or assault, and destroy someone’s life on the spot. It’s possible every single claim is genuine, but somehow I don’t quite believe it, AND that ISN’T THE POINT ANYHOW! What IS the point is that the names of those accused on such counts should be suppressed until after a conviction. Look at the possibilities. In the 60s, I worked a host of different jobs, in some of them, while i WAS NOT sexually harassed, I had reason to really dislike either my boss or one of my fellow male workers. So what if now, some fifty years later I stood up and worked off a sense of injustice by announcing that I had been harassed?
I go to the police. I say that he did this, that, and the other, I give chapter and verse. He is arrested, changed, and his name is out there. His family, his wife, his children, and his grandchildren are devastated. There is a trial, if I am sufficiently convincing, (and being a writer of over 40 published books I know how to tell a believable story)
this man against whom I have held a grudge for 50+ years is convicted and I have justice. Or do I?
What if all I had was that originally I was ill-treated and over-worked and have never forgiven that. If I took such a complaint to the police, store management, or the employment tribunal, after 50 years, I’d be laughed out of the room. Why is a claim of sexual harassment different? Why is it that if I complained of ordinary wrongful treatment a sort of law of ‘too old a complaint’ operates, it is said that I have no proof, it’s my word against his, I should have complained at the time, and I have no witnesses. And because it IS only my word against his, I can gain no redress. Yet if I say he harassed me, I am instantly believed. His life is ruined whether or not he is even charged. And even if he isn’t charged, I’ve won, and he’s paid. The entire process these days bothers me. I can’t help but feel in some cases people are motivated more by revenge for something other than sexual assault or harassment, or by a possible settlement, or by a desire for publicity. What can a person so accused say, but that it isn’t true. And find they are automatically disbelieved in the current climate. How fair is that?
And as an aside. In one of the many jobs I held while I was in my teens, in one I WAS sexually harassed. I worked in a large chain store in Wellington’s Courtney Place. The manager there was about 23, and I was about 17 and stacked the shelves out back when the new merchandise arrived. I usually worked alone, and one afternoon he came in, stood by my ladder and started to run his hand up my leg. He passed my knee and I took down a wooden pencil case from the shelf I was filling and hit him solidly over the head. His “You’re fired,” and my “I quit” where pretty much simultaneous. I’ve never felt the need to go to the police after so many years, why should I? The memory of that loud thump, the feeling of impact on my hand, and his yelp of pain, is balm enough.
But even knowing of my own case, of other cases friends endured, and how often there was casual sexism fifty years ago in the workplace, I still wonder, as yet more claims are made and people pilloried, if what we’re seeing is honest justice… or a lynch mob’s vengeance?

20 January 2018

in one way growing older is very useful. I find that as an author I have a lot more experiences – read about, heard from friends, happened to me – to draw on for my writing and books. Nice to know there are SOME compensations.

12 December 2017

(You know, if I keep these up, eventually I’ll meet my own age…) And as I mentioned to another author friend recently, one advantage of growing old for an author is that you have more experiences and knowledge to draw on for your writing. It can be very useful.

23 September 2017

I’m starting to realise I may not live long enough to write all the books I want to – on the other hand, the world may not actually need a thousand books by Lyn McConchie.

21 June 2017

when I was a teenager, the people I knew who died, did so mostly from accidents or the occasional suicide. In my 30s to 50s, it wa smostly from cancer. But this past twelve months it’s been heart attacks that are starting to thin the ranks of those I know. First there was that massive 7.8 quake last November, which gave my oldest friend (of fifty+ years) a heart attack – which, very happily, she survived.
But then a relative whom I’ve known for the last forty years had a heart attack and died virtually as he hit the ground. I have to say I’m not heartbroken, I knew him because we’re related but he wasn’t a friend.
And then, this week I had the news that a fan friend I’d known for close to 3o years had died in Canada. I don’t think there was a lot of hope from the start, but some prayed, some just hopeed or held good tbhoughts, but it was no use and now he’s gone. He was a crusty, contumacious, said-what-he-was-thinking no matter how much it offended some, sort of guy, but we liked him anyway, and I’ll miss him. He was a mainstay of fanzine fandom for many years, that was how I came to know him, back in the days when I pubbed my ish.
So ave atque vale, Rodney, may there be fans in heaven and a good fanzine system. And I know that at least, if there isn’t one of those there yet, there will be as soon as you’ve settled in and looked around. (As well as a lot of angels looking horrified.) We’ll miss you down here.

15 February 2017

Recent conversation with a friend.
Friend. “Are you ever going to retire?”
Me, absentmindedly. “What, no, I haven’t got time.”
And, come to think of it, that’s true. In fact if I want to write everything I’d like to, I won’t have time until somewhere in the next millenium. And I rather think that by then it won’t be retirement that’ll have arrived for me. On the other hand, I can hardly complain, since being constantly busy, happy in what I do, and never bored has to be worth a lot. And how many other people can say that…?

9 February 2017

Many many years ago, an elderly friend said to me that she’d rather wear out than rust out. Nowadays I understand. And the best way to wear out, is doing what you love/enjoy. So I read, hugely and widely.
And in 1969 another old lady told me that what she most regretted was not having done something she believed she could have been good at doing. So I started writing when I had the chance.39 books published so far, another four sold.
And then too, there’s the saying carpe diem, (seize the day) so I cuddle the cat, enjoy the fire in winter, and enjoy being with – and communicating with – my friends all year ’round.
If I die tomorrow, at least I’ve done all those things, I won’t rust out, and I have done what I wanted to do, and through my life I’ve seized days, and as for going quietly into any good night. A while back I wrote a bit of doggeral on that.
It isn’t a blooming ‘good night’ mate!
And I don’t anticipate,
Doing anything BUT rage,
When I have to leave the stage!
The only things that’s absolutely certain about life, is that we don’t get out of it alive. But if I make it to the ‘age calculator’ age (87) I’ve been given, that won’t be bad, and I can always fight for a while longer. And I know me, my last thought will be, “but I haven’t finished that book,” reading it or writing it won’t matter, that’ll be the final howl of annoyance. And on that note, may you all wear out, do the things you really wanted to do, and seize the days as they pass with both hands. And nope, I haven’t had notice to quit, I’m just feeling a bit philosophical.

24 January 2017

Recently I was reminded of how things change. A friend’s 12 year old granddaughter was moaning because her mother wouldn’t drive her to school – a whole kilometre away. I walked a mile and a half to Intermediate and High School five days a week. And I recall a friend’s father saying that he walked five miles to school in his day. At 30 and when I was living in the country, the local school there had a ‘pony paddock’ because many of the children rode to school. I said that, and the granddaughter’s eyes brightened. “I’d love a pony I could ride to school. Muuuum?” (There’s a saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same, I may have just helped demonstrate that…)

4 December 2016

Recently I had to see a specialist. I was somewhat taken aback to note that he reminded me of Doogie Howser M.D. – who was 16.

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