Martin Sheen on Desert Island Discs.
If you haven’t listened to this podcast yet, you must. And if you love the West Wing (which has been on my mind recently as I’ve just met a fellow fan in the lovely editor from Little,Brown, Manpreet Grewal), you will love it even more when you get to know this extraordinary human being whose humanity, compassion and sense of justice shines through every word he says.
When Kirsty Young asked Martin Sheen about his interest in social justice, about his speeches and protests and his 67 arrests for standing up for causes he believes in, he said, quite simply, that he couldn’t not do it and still be himself.
A clumsy sentence, perhaps, but a perfect sentiment. It’s how I feel about writing. It’s how we all feel about something – that an essential part of ourselves is missing when we’re not allowed to express it.
I’ve been in situations, lived amongst people (sometimes people who are meant to be close, who are meant to care) and I’ve worked for institutions and held down jobs where my love of writing has been compromised. I’ve learnt that such environments corrode our humanity.
Whatever it is we care about in life, if it’s social activism or writing or being a mum, it’s our duty to nurture that essential part of ourselves and not to allow anyone or anything stand in our way. It’s one of our most essential human freedoms, something I’d be willing to get arrested for!