I read lots of posts from various outlets where writers disdain over the chance encounters they have with their family members during the holidays. Usually there’s some mention of a hometown acquaintance, some remnant of pre-adult life that reminds us of the inner-kid (not the good kind that reminds us of innocence and purity but from the harrowing experiences of LIFE). For me it’s the reminder that my family has yet to understand what I do for a living.
I write books and try to understand the nuances of my craft. I try to read books that have things written in them, usually good things, smart things. Who knows? One thing that my mom seems to take issue with is the use of pejorative language, or what she coins as pejorative. (After all language is first experienced by someone, then uttered with some implicit use. (The meaning coming after the experience.) Language evolves and changes. I remember the arguments I had when I was 7 years old about how saying something “sucked” was accurate, that the use of the adjective was justified in whatever prepubescent connotation. Now it seems moot to discuss the worthy use of the four letter words like “fuck” or “shit,” which draw their ire from both social associations and linguistic characteristics that typify them as “harsh” and “dissonant.” (Maybe I’m just writing an angry blog about being slighted? That could also be just as valid.) Anyways, the fact that we are so distracted by language’s oblique usage is frustrating. It illustrates just how chained we are to old paradigms of language and how narrow our views of history are.
My struggle is coming home to encounter another world, one that is disparate from my own. My parents grew up in the midst of great cultural movements of enlightenment. The free-love movement was in full swing, the civil rights movement was being established and validated after decades of disenfranchisement. And yet despite all this, my progenitors have succumbed to the malaise of the 80s and 90s, eschewing the zeitgeist of progressivism for complacency and comfort.
I have the benefit of being born after their confusing and trying upbringing, but I am likely blinded by my own trials prominent in the digital age of misinformation and alt-truth. The adage that we must reference historical setbacks, lest we be doomed to repeat it, is true and valid. I pray and hope that I carry the torch forward with the required bravery to ensure that future generations are spared. Then again that could be wishful thinking. We are possessed by a condition of sinfulness that transcends human history.