England is a compact country of cities, towns, villages, and rural areas that often come up right against each other – little “middle ground” between them. While driving, one minute you may find you’re in a town, and suddenly you are through it and in countryside. The change between urban and rural (and vice-versa) is sometimes startlingly abrupt.
“Endless” suburban subdivisions as one sees in parts of the U.S. are virtually non-existent here. Very few homes have American-sized backyards. People live much closer together, which is probably why they prize their boundary hedges, fences, and generally try to respect each other’s privacy.
One also tends to forget England can be hilly, and with that height sometimes you get a broad view you don’t expect. It sometimes could almost be a painting. For example, here’s our Hertfordshire village from a mile or so away, spread out below:
Prepping for my trip to America next week, I’d had a FaceTime with my father yesterday. He said that the priest who’d overseen my mother’s funeral has been reassigned after almost five years at that Pennsylvania parish. He was young, well-thought of, and popular.
Dad was really unhappy about the priest’s departure and told me he’ll attend a church closer to his home instead from now on. He had been going to that church only because my mother’s funeral service had been held there, had gotten to know that priest as a result, and felt an ongoing connection with him.
In a way, and although I wouldn’t tell my father this, I’m actually not entirely unhappy myself about the transfer. Dad needs to begin to realize that life must go on. He cannot restrict himself forever to living in only the tracks of my mother.
I prefer to keep this site mostly as a “refuge” from “the world” – to talk about writing, books (including, uh, yes, my own), travel, culture, and other life matters, in a friendly and intimate manner – and to leave (usually divisive) current events and (mostly bad) news for others on the net. Sometimes, though, you simply can’t ignore something. Especially given I’ve written so much about us here in Tenerife, I felt I had to nod to this local tragedy in at least one post.
The part in yesterday’s post about seeing Kindle-reading sunbathers “enthralled” in their books got me thinking some more. And when I start “thinking,” that’s possibly a bit dangerous. And when I start thinking “out loud” here, as you may know that’s perhaps worst of all. 😉
Time for a few “confessions,” so to speak. It’s Sunday, too, after all….
No one likes being “reviewed.” (No writer especially.) But “reviewing” yourself personally is the hardest of all. If you look in the mirror, what do you honestly think of yourself?
“Hola,” a guy greeted me as we strolled by his restaurant along the promenade.
After I acknowledged him, as we walked on my wife shook her head. “In these places [Italy, France, and now Spain], they don’t know what to make of you,” she smiled. “You look like you belong here and they talk to you like you do. But you definitely don’t.”
We’ve all seen the Oscars’ debate about “diversity” in film. That led me over the last few days to thinking about books, including my own. Although not nearly as media-prominent, literature is seeing much the same discussion as film – especially children’s books:
It is argued not unreasonably that children seeing characters “like themselves” is good for them. Beyond that:
….Dhonielle Clayton, vice president of We Need Diverse Books, stressed that good storytelling on a range of topics benefits all children and young adults, not just ones who belong to the communities they portray. “By having kids read cross-culturally, it really helps them have a common language of accepting and understanding,” Clayton said.
Writing for children is not my genre, of course. So I’ll leave children’s literature to children’s authors. Yet the matter is relevant in its own way for us in “grown up” literature, too.
A lazy Sunday morning here near Bristol. It caused me to recall what “todays” were while growing up on the other side. Memories of years long past.
Everyone’s home life is distinctive. Back on Long Island, Sundays were special in our house. My mother maintained her routine long after I’d moved out and away, and even in her last years after she and my dad had relocated to Pennsylvania.
It was “the day of rest” centered around lunch/dinner. As a teen, I’d probably have mowed the lawn on Saturday. My grandmother – my Mom’s mother – would sometimes have slept over Saturday night.
But one habit my mother eventually came to avoid and never demanded of us….
In recent days, we have all encountered it on television and the internet. We are lectured by bombastic voices that all people holding the Islamic faith overseas should not be allowed to set foot in the U.S. (temporarily, of course, we are also dutifully informed by some) because it’s a religion that includes terrorists. At a single stroke, a billion people have all been decreed terrorists by faith association.
Yes, a tiny number of Muslims born in the U.S., and recent immigrants, have turned to a terrorism they claim they undertake in the name of Islam. Some of those have even moved abroad to join terror groups. I’m unaware of anyone in the U.S. government asserting that troubling issue should be ignored.