Today I read a great post over at National Collective. The post was entitled 100 Artists and Creatives Who Support Scottish Independence. It is precisely what it says it is, a large list of folks who art for a living and who also think Scotland ought to be independent. On it are writers like Iain Banks and Irvine Welsh, poets like Scottish Makar Liz Lochhead, musicians like Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison. There are actors and comedians, designers and folk singers.
The common thread running through their quotes isn’t just what they do — it’s what they see.
Mark Millar, who I don’t particularly like for some of the nasty things he’s said about women and comic books, had an analogy that shows I do agree with him about something. (But seriously, Mark Millar, grow the fuck up and realize that women like superheroes too. And women are, you know, people, so you should write us that way. And rape isn’t just a “plot device.” *kicks empty tin* /rant)
Anyway. The something I agree with him about is that an independent Scotland is like a blank sheet of paper.
That’s the common thread I noticed in what all those artists and creatives had to say. What it really boils down to is potential. Potential is exciting. Potential is opening your door in the morning and not fearing what is going to happen — it’s opening your door in the morning and knowing you have the chance to close it at night having made that day better, more prosperous, more fair.
Potential is why I started Searching for SuperWomen. Not to bust the chops of the comic book industry or Hollywood or whoever’s chops merit busting on any given day — but as a place where we can look toward the future and its potential and claim it. Reach out for it. Wish for it, talk about how it could happen, work toward it every day. So lying in our beds many years from now we won’t look back on these days and wish we’d painted ourselves blue and barreled into battle.
What was I talking about again?
Oh yeah. Potential.
This year’s referendum for Scottish independence is less about Mel Gibson’s claymore and more about self-determination. When you read the independence debates, you don’t see much of the FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOM rhetoric; you see more of the this is what we could be.
A Scotland where there aren’t nuclear weapons housed just outside of a major metropolis — or within her shores at all. A Scotland where the vulnerable are cared for. A Scotland where innovation and advancing thought are treasured. A Scotland that embraces the wider world and welcomes the best and brightest from without to pursue their goals within. A Scotland where the central government is one they voted for (in that map, BLUE who voted for the current government at Westminster). A Scotland where austerity measures aren’t plastered across the land. A Scotland where the pioneering of renewable energy will work for her people.
Potential is a powerful thing. Imagination is part of it, but another part is the desire to work for it. That’s something else that makes up a common thread in the Yes voters I’ve seen. They know independence isn’t the easy route — far from it. But the potential for greatness makes up for the necessary difficulties.
It’s that potential that grabbed hold of me when I lived in Scotland. It’s what drove me to write a novel with that as a central theme. It’s why I support Scottish independence.
As for the other side, it’s hard for me to see the same level of possibility when the No campaign’s central tenet seems to be that things are peachy the way they are.
Come September, what story will we be writing?
Way back in 2012, I wrote a piece for National Collective discussing this very idea. It’s exciting to see that the book mentioned in this piece is the one we just sold to Harlequin.
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