Conventions, General

“Our” Current Culture

What do you do with books after you’ve brought them to the new house and you have nowhere really to put them?๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ“š…

[Photo by me. Potton, England, 2019.]

Of course, they end up beneath the Kindle, added to those already stacked on the night table… next to a bathroom cabinet and a shelf that await being mounted.๐Ÿ˜

On Bank Holiday Monday, down in north London, I also discovered my in-laws were recently given my latest book by a relative who’d finished it… and they’d left it in plain view sitting on the end of the sofa obviously knowing I’d see it… and hence this photo:

[Photo by me. London, England, 2019.]

I need this?๐Ÿ™„ There was a time no one in my family read my books… and I bl-ody wish it had remained that way.๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‚

Then yesterday I happened to see an Instagrammer poet/writer I follow, who captioned a photo in part with this depressing observation:

Iโ€™m experiencing, well, almost despair about our current cultureโ€”the desire to label, to meme, to jump on some soapbox and then jump to the next one.

…And I found myself in response thinking about “our culture” and my own writing. I wanted to tell her: Do not decry “our culture,” for it is in fact always we as individuals who make “culture.” There is no single “our culture.”

I considered my perspective and my tiny contributions in four (and, hopefully, soon to be five) novels. I hope within them I have offered “creativity” – travel, learning, history, friendship, love, and even some lessons – that entertains, but also gets readers involved and thinking. But no single book can be everything and it is asking too much of any writer to produce that. Any book is merely one person’s invention; but individual writers, for instance, separately “creating culture” may lift individual readers as individuals. Doing so invariably creates ripples elsewhere in those individual lives.

Yes, around us all there is always much we see that we may not like; but every generation inherits both good and bad. Great-grandparents of mine did not ask to be born in poverty in Europe, heading to America and thus leaving behind – often as children – homes and families they never saw again. My grandparents did not ask for the Great Depression and World War II. My parents inherited their own problems.

We have inherited our troubles as well, but we need to remember it has always been so. While, for instance, some humanity in Europe and in America were embracing “new ideas” in, say, the late 1700s, other humanity just perhaps miles away were simultaneously cutting off heads and others were still shackling and enslaving other humanity. In the twentieth century, while some humanity by the 1930s and 1940s were looking to a broader world for all, others were directing whole families into gas chambers to murder them because they did not like their religion.

[Before landing at London Heathrow Airport, May 4, 2019. The Shard building – the tallest in London – is visible above the engine. Photo by me.]

As there is always ugliness in humanity, there is always often incredible creativity. Humanity is not one entity. It is (currently) some 7 billion individuals and there is never “one culture.”

Just some rambling thoughts. Have a good day, wherever you are as an individual. ๐Ÿ™‚

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