I have a quote on my Crimespace page: "Kindness and compassion could solve a whole lot of problems." Somebody asked me the other day what's the context, why do I have that there? So after a while, when the fact that somebody had asked was still on my mind, I decided to blog about it.
First off, it's not really a quote, nobody has said exactly those words that I know of, except me. It's there because a saying on a web page is sort of like an epitaph -- it should be something you want people to associate in their minds with who you are.
As I mentioned, maybe here, maybe elsewhere (the web is getting too big for me to always recall where I've been and what I've said there), I'm not that great a blogger, and so I've abandoned my attempt to keep my own blog going ... but it was called The Compassionate Curmudgeon. Reason it was called that, it's a pretty good description of me at this time of my life. I'm a curmudgeon in that I'm no longer young, I admit I'm opinionated, and I firmly believe the greatest and best thing about getting old -- no matter the exact number of years in one's definition of "old" -- is you can say what you want and to heck with what anybody else says of you for it. Am I open to new ideas? Yes, absolutely! Do I think the new ideas floating around are of any better quality than the old ones? I'm sorry to say, No, for the most part I do not.
It's like with women's shoe styles -- we seem to be going back to the 50s, and I don't like that one tiny bit. Not to mention underwear. I fought hard to get out of everything that had to do with constricting and restricting -- I'm of the bra-burning generation, fergoshsakes. I do admit I was slow to give up spike heels, so I wasn't perfect. But even the men who read this will know what I mean, I bet, when I say this applies to global ideas also. The one exception here is the whole hip-hop-culture thing; I can't for the life of me say where that fits, and I have a hunch it has cultural value, but I still don't get it. The vulgarity puts me off. But it's certainly new and unique to the present time.
Now all of this sort of blather would be merely political and/or cultural if it weren't for one very important thing: I write books. I'm still doing it, officially retired or not. The difference is now I don't really care if I have a contract or not. And so, because I'm not going to cop out again and write something historical, I want to deal with things that are clearly important in the present day, I pay attention to what's going on in our world. And my observation of the present world, my country (US) especially, convinces me that if we don't stop grabbing everything we can get for ourselves and start paying attention to the welfare of other people and of our planet, we flat aren't going to have much of a future. That's at a minimum; at the maximum, I don't need to point out that in the Middle East people are doing a very good job of killing each other off .. and we've definitely made that worse. What we -- big, global we -- need, I think, is to practice kindness on a daily basis, and to adopt a philosophy (regardless of individual religion, or none) of compassion. If more and more people did this individually, eventually we'd get somewhere better than where we are now. I firmly believe this.
And I'm trying to figure out a way to work it into a plot and put it in a book. An exciting book, which means there will of course be nefarious goings-on as well as whatever else occurs. It might even turn out to be a crime novel.
That's what's behind the quote on my Crimespace page.