Based on my novels’ overall background subject matter, on here as you know invariably some nods are given to the realities of politics. But that’s all. This site is NOT about partisan politics, we’re readers and writers here.
So this post is not some shocking change of pace. It’s not about “politics.” However, a few brief paragraphs of background are unfortunately required for this post if you’ll just bear with me for a moment as you read and scroll down.
Late on Thursday, I had driven my father and sister back to his Pennsylvania house (a 2 and 1/2 hour trip). Yesterday I came back here to the Catskills. I have been so stressed out in the last month over the death of my uncle and especially my mother, I wanted to be alone here in my own house for a few days…. and listen to music, watch the occasional deer, and stare at the scenery:
But that didn’t mean I’d cut myself off completely. Last night, I was chatting with a cousin on the phone. We were discussing my mother and my uncle, and their deaths, and remembering family, such as our grandparents.
Suddenly my wife messaged me – from ENGLAND – asking had I seen what was happening in Paris?
My novelist uncle in Rhode Island was messaging me again yesterday. It wasn’t about writing or books, which I actually find useful. This time is was about the NFL’s New York Jets playing at London’s Wembley Stadium this weekend.
Are they? I had no idea. Regardless, he should be writing his next book (I’m still cleaning up mine)…. not messing around on Facebook. Eh, but nevermind, it got me thinking:
I remember Sky Sports, in the late 1990s/ early 2000s, showing the NFL from the U.S. on Sunday evenings to what must have been about “a few dozen” U.K. viewers – half of them probably Americans. (Five hours ahead here, watching the entire “4 o’clock game” E.T. was too late for anyone with a job.) The two anchors – one American, one British – hosted while sitting on what looked like reclaimed furniture. The set would not have been out of place on a U.S. TV cable local access show.
A very serious post to start the week. At a U.K. family get-together over the weekend, I witnessed (yet again) an ugly Irish chauvinism and excuse-making for Ireland’s “neutrality” during the Second World War. It had come up amidst chatter in “taking sides” during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup match between Wales and England, which was playing on the TV in the background.
Rooting for Wales, the London-born person of Irish descent declared snidely, “We’ve always fought the English.” That is the core position that underscores everything. If that was all, I could have lived with it.
It wasn’t. What followed was a descent into a Celtic supremacist blathering that drifted into bordering on pro-Nazi – in terms of Irish residents in England having been drafted to fight the Nazis when they were Irish not British…. and the British had been horrible to the Irish over the centuries (like no one knows that?), but the Germans, well….
Following on from that post the other day on For Such a Time, I’ve read here and there about accusations of “racism,” “privilege,” and “Western cultural arrogance” in “romance” and “young adult” literature. That’s not an easy subject to address in a blog post. However, authoring as I do for adults (and not for children), I just wanted briefly to note my view. (Separately, I’ve already addressed the issue of an author spewing hatred while “hiding” behind his/her characters.)
Naturally, not every novel by every writer is going to be fantastic. Still it is chilling to read anything that even vaguely argues authors should be wary about exploring characters who aren’t much like themselves. That could lead, in itself, to writers becoming fearful of trying to create what could be some truly worthwhile literature.
Well, it has been all over the place now. The Charlotte Proudman, human rights barrister, LinkedIn photo compliment-OR-sexism saga has shifted predictably from Twitter and “social media” and has headlined UK “mainstream media” in recent days. In the Independent, Ms. Proudman was given a column to defend herself for a privacy violation (in publishing a private message without the sender’s consent) and explain herself further:
She has received a great deal of support. Other reactions have been negative and critical:
The tens of thousands of people tragically trying to reach Europe from North Africa and Syria has – I’m sure you know – been much in the news in recent days. I am also sure you have by now seen “The Picture” (of the Syrian 3 year old who drowned just off Turkey and washed up on the beach). So this CNN piece from a couple of weeks ago is sadly timely:
Italian photographer Valerio Vincenzo has spent the last eight years photographing the EU’s internal boundaries: that’s 26 countries and 16,500 kilometers of borders that can be freely crossed.
His serene images of abandoned customs houses and quiet beaches and woods raise questions about the authenticity of geographical boundaries and national identities.
His project “Borderline, the Frontiers of Peace” will be exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September….
The photos shown are worth seeing. He’s an excellent photographer:
Interesting email I received yesterday from Kindle:
Here in the UK print books are generally sold untaxed, while ebook sales are taxed. Similar tax distinctions occur elsewhere in the European Union. The EU itself has recently labeled ebooks an “electronic service.”
Many US states tax ebooks too. I haven’t checked New York lately, but there’s almost nothing, for instance, New York State won’t tax to the hilt if it can figure out a way to do so. And Albany can usually figure one out.
Do you write “angry?” I try not to. However, I will admit there are times when I let loose.
I have all too often sat in front of my PC or Microsoft Surface, found myself feeling infuriated, and slammed keys and took it out on the pages. Briefly, I’d feel better, yes. But after I went back and reread my “tantrum,” I usually toned it down considerably.
For eventually I remember what I’ve also written about here recently. Be careful: your words are forever.