Editorial: Don’t just survive, thrive!

There was a time when survival writing was a rather niche market. If you looked really hard, or asked the bored assistant, bookshops tended to stock a light range of boy scout-esque manuals on what to carry as emergency rations, the joys of Kendal Mint Cake and how to light a fire with sticks.

More recently (before the lockdown, of course), if you mentioned the term “survival writing”, you would have found yourself conducted to the shelves containing another genre … generally filed under “self help”, the survival in this case being of a different order: how to survive a divorce, how to survive a bereavement, how to survive redundancy and so on.

Recent months have seen the birth of a new form of writing, as people struggle to face up to the pandemic and its consequences. A form which – coincidentally – has come to fruition just as this online journal has started to grow. 

Adamah, as our first readers will recall, is an old Hebrew word meaning good soil. And that good soil has produced abundant good fruits in these last few months, offering survival writing of a new kind … how to survive the lockdown and how to help the earth survive the ravages of our consumer culture.

Some of the best fruits of this good earth in the past month of May have been:

Marie McCoy’s Some Days are Diamonds, describing the hidden treasures in lockdown family days; Nurse Ratched vs Fred Rogers (the title is niche but the message is universal!), Jeff Notingham’s precious guide to surviving parenthood with positivity for both adults and children; and Joseph Evans’ Telling Life’s Real Stories, which, as the title suggests, is a call to value ever more the real stories life throws at us.

Surviving inside the prison of lockdown is all very well, but we need a healthy earth to inhabit and a healthy culture in which to flourish when we can venture out again. Margareth Sembiring has written three very powerful pieces on climate change, environmental lessons we can learn from the lockdown, and the global economy, pointing out the powerful interdependency of a strong ecological commitment and a new more humane approach to the market.

Adamah is not only about challenging you, though, it’s also a reward for all your hard work … So, put on the kettle, switch off the TV and smile at Prakarsh Singh’s delightful exploration of books on birds, artists and time,  let Luca la Monica walk you through St Augustine’s Confessions without leaving you gasping for air, and enjoy the lyrical loveliness of Leonard Franchi’s Celebration of Valley Life.

With all that available, survival won’t be an issue!

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See you next month for more good fruit from this good earth!

Like what you’ve read? Consider supporting the work of Adamah by making a donation and help us keep exploring life’s big (and not so big) issues!

Ronnie Convery is a journalist and broadcaster who has written for a variety of publications in the UK and Italy. Currently he divides his time between directing communications at the Archdiocese of Glasgow and serving as Italian Honorary Consul in the city. He has a long background in print and TV, a strong presence on social media and recently penned a book entitled Reclaiming the Piazza (about creating space for dialogue to overcome division). Ronnie is Associate Editor of Adamah.

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