I haven’t read fiction in ages so this weekend I picked up an old Penguin edition of ‘As I Lay Dying’ by William Faulkner and gave it a whirl.
Shame to say, I can feel myself starting to become like my dad in his opinion of fiction and novels. ‘I’ve no time for fiction’ he might say and that’s what I feel after reading this, ‘I’ve no time for William Faulkner’. I don’t care in a way about Jewel or Cash, about Darl and their stories. Maybe that is OK….except that I can also see me having the same attitude with real people, I’ve my friends and acquaintances, my family and room for some more stories from strangers but have I room for the story of a family determined to bury their dead mother in Jefferson Mississippi?
I’m not sure I do anymore. Maybe because of the digital revolution and all the onslaught of stories.Back in 200o there was no Youtube, no social networking sights, I didn’t have a mobile. Stories didn’t feel as tiring. You didn’t have status updates and links to interesting articles. Now though stories are everywhere, and they are quick and bit sized (like Twitter) so sitting down for a few days and labouring through a novel seems like an test of endurance, something you need stamina to do. It’s a struggle to finish even a short novel.
And maybe that is why I should stick with novels and build up my story stamina, to train my brain that stories aren’t all Twitter sized.
I was pondering the invasion of Iraq today, after reading the article above when it appeared in my Twitter feed. The invasion of Iraq kicked off when I was living in Dun Laoghaire so I watched in unfold from a different context.
But I was wondering how I would react if it had kicked off today with Thiepval Barracks nearby and me living here and armed forces being sent to fight in Iraq all in the name of ……well what exactly? The security of my family? Justice? ‘My country?’
Or lets face it, keeping the oil flowing.
Could I do anything about it? Should I do anything about it? Or would I just have to resign myself to these things happening and happening again.
All the churches here in Lisburn and what would we say about it? War is terrible but we just have to support the families and soldiers as best we can? Say that because we’re living in a different kingdom we don’t want people going over to another country fighting on our behalf.
I can’t think anymore, it’s depressing me.
One the things I hate on the rare occasions when I have to go into Tesco or Asda is the way they try to shepherd me towards the self scanning till.
My mum has the dubious ‘honour’ of manning a set of these tills, of supervising the customer who does the work that someone else could be employed to do. Perhaps this is what annoys me the most.
By getting self scanning tills in store they have cut the workforce while getting the customer to do the work for free. This leads to increasing profits for the company and shareholders while putting more people out of work when the profits indicate that they could easily employ a few more people.
So from now on whenever I see a self scanning till I will refuse to use them even if it means queuing for a real life person.
The other thing I would love to do (if it could be easily organised by the willing) is to get people to use self scanning tills but only if they use 1p or 2p coins to pay for their purchase. So you would pop into Tesco at a busy time (say a Saturday morning) and buy your copy of The Times with 1p pieces. Then the next person would simply come and buy their bunch of bananas with their loose change. By now there should be a nice little tale back building and the machine should be getting clogged with loose change.
Then if any problems should arise just remind them of their motto ‘Every Little Helps’
‘Western nations increasingly regard the deployment of drones to launch surgical strikes on targets as a way of keeping military casualties to a minimum.’