A Telling Typo by Fran Brady

As I write this on the 31st December, there is less than half a day left of 2016; as I type that, I mistakenly type 2106; and as I correct it, I think of the year 2106, ninety years from now.

Hogmanay - as we Scots call it - is very much a time for looking back. Nostalgia is king. I could spend this blog relating lots of Hogmanay tales. Indeed, that's what I had in mind as I made myself a cup of coffee and settled down to my laptop: childhood reminiscences of 'first-footing'; parties that lasted all night; party pieces of songs, skits, poems, joke routines, piano and accordion 'turns', the same every year; specific Hogmanays when everything went very wrong, or even very right; maudlin memories of dear departed relations and friends . . .  You get the picture - and aren't you glad I have changed my mind about this blog?

If you are NOT glad and would actually like to hear about those long ago 'real' Scottish Hogmanays, can I risk a wee plug for my first novel which is based on those childhood experiences, characters and memories? It has its denouement on Hogmanay 1955.  It follows the fortunes of three families in a post-war mining village and depicts a time of great change: for families, losing grown-up sons and daughters to the lure of emigration; for the men, as the miners' union becomes more strident; and for women, as they move - indeed stride - towards greater emancipation.

Sounds serious? Actually, it is full of humour and humorous characters and situations. Readers tell me that some parts are laugh-out-loud funny. It's available on Amazon.

No, I am minded to look ahead today. 2016 has little to commend it, whereas 2017 is a blank page as yet to be written upon. What's more, unless we write fantasy or futuristic stuff, it CAN'T be written upon - not with any confidence. Who knows what will be worth writing about? Ninety years ago, who could have predicted: the speed and spread of the technological revolution; the rise of environmental fears and efforts to alleviate the damage; the food revolution reflecting the 'global village'; the gulf that has opened up between radical Islam and the rest of the world, with all its horrendous consequences; and so on and so on? Even in our wee world of writery things, comparing the novels of ninety years ago with current ones almost beggars belief. Can you imagine 'Trainspotting' even being allowed into print, let alone distribution and literary acclaim, ninety years ago?

So, looking ahead in predictive spirit is best relegated to the status of a party game. What I am minded to do, as the year gutters to a close, is imagine a world WITHOUT some of its current aspects. The end of: bigotry and intolerance between world faiths; sectarianism within those faiths;
ignorance about and indifference towards the damage we are doing to our beautiful planet; global greed and national incompetence which mean half the world is below the poverty line, some so far below as to be out of sight, whilst the other half is weltering in surplus and consumerism - indeed, one half dying of starvation/one half worrying about obesity; corrupt governments, leaders and politicians (what the Bible calls 'wickedness in high places'); and so on and so on.

We all have our own pet hates and fears. Let's determine to do, at least, something positive about one of them in 2017. None of us will be alive in 2106. But that's no excuse not to care what the world will be like then. 'Apres moi, la deluge' is not really how we want to be remembered, is it?

Sorry if this reads like a mini-sermon. It's not like me to preach - honestly! But that typo 2106 sure gave me pause for thought.


Wendy H. Jones said…
Very well said Fran. Also I remember those Hogmanies well

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