I guess my love affair first began around fourth grade. I grew up in a small town in the rural Carolina mountains, long before cable or DVD players. The only real dose of culture I could get at that time [my hometown has since become a cultural Mecca] was through the local PBS station.
Dad always had to watch the news at 6--so if I wanted to watch something else, I had to watch it on the small, 12-inch black and white television in their bedroom. So one day, something unexpected came on PBS--a time traveler with a long scarf. It was my first introduction to Dr. Who. Since then I've been fascinated by the accent, the literature, the castles, and well, pretty much everything [except the black pudding---Mother. Of. God.].
I said to mom, "I was watching TV, and people were saying things like [and here I mustered my best Brit accent] walk and chance and telly."
"They're English, dear," Mom said.
"But we speak English." [yes, all my Brit friends can add a little snicker, snicker, there.]
"No dear, they ARE English. They're from England."
That's all it took. I was a devoted Dr. Who fan, and if you are a regular Dr. Who fan, you realize that it is almost impossible to separate the show from various elements of British culture. I'd like to think that I would have found the wonder of Shakespeare and Keats and Dickens on my own, without Dr. Who, but maybe the good Time Lord knew I needed a nudge.
So in a nutshell, why do I love the Brits?
Because any culture in any country in the world can produce A Shakespeare, A Dickens, A John Lennon, A Keats, but England has produced them all. I'm not belitting other cultures--in fact, one of my favorite books is by Indian author Anita Desai, but I'm just saying there has to be something about this soggy, foggy, damp, island that is connected, and yet not. These authors have a tendency to transcend time---the thematic elements of basic human nature can be transformed and reworked throughout the centuries [see my Hamlet entry for more on this.]
Well, and the accent---Scottish, Irish, English, what-have-you, I love it all. In fact, a Brit could come right up to me, cuss me out, and I would merely say, "That was beautiful. Can you say that again?"
I'm gearing up for a trip to London soon. It's been on my "Bucket List" for a long time.
Life is too short.
Going back to my short story collection - Six Degrees of Shangri-La. It will be on Kindle by the end of July. I'll post a free read of the first chapter here.
I'm looking at my yearly goals at the left of this page and thinking hmmm....but I'm reminded of a concept that Julia Cameron points out in "Riding the Dragon"--- it is ironic that when we take ourselves less seriously, we can produce our best, most serious work. [my paraphrase.]