The forum that was
Two years on and I've just laid the forum on this site to rest. The main reason for having it there was reckoning that my writings are not lame, they are likely to rouse issues in people, and it seemed right to have an area for informed debate.
My first political act, in which I was hauled around by police as we blockaded a school entrance, was one against freedom of speech. The school was one where I was teaching, and it had been rented out as the forum for the National Front's annual convention in which they would promote their cause of racial intolerance. The next day I went into school early, helping to set up the school for a multicultural fair we were holding with the kids, bringing in some understanding and appreciation between cultures, getting over situations where I wold be driving the Asian pupils in my care through a gauntlet of racial hatred. I saw the limits to free speech at this point ... you don't let people come into your own home to breed hate and be slanderous when your main focus is to bring about some harmony.
There have been some great interchanges in the forum over the years. Increasingly though I have had to go in to rid the area of personal abuse and it has become tiresome. Writers in this culture learn not to expect respect, but in one's own home (ie on my own website) respect is pleasant. As of course would have been readers responding to my own works ... this has lagged. So if you're missing the forum, thanks for being there and sorry it's gone ... but check out the great free postage offer on copies of On Sacred Mountains and keep tuned in for news of the novels!