March 10, 2020

How do we live the unchosen situation we were born into and create ourselves?

Tony Beekman, 55

None of us chose to be born and none of us chose the particular family, historical, social and economic situation we emerged into at birth. How do we carve out our own path and work out what to do with life in a situation that both presents us with something to work on and imposes limitations on us? These are questions I explore in my short story, “Babeledonia”. This story is written in Scots and illustrates the history of the development of the Scots language but through the concrete examples of different, connected characters: the Norman knight granted land in Scotland, his Angle retainer and soldiers, the Gaelic-speaking cook and a team of maidservants, workers in the fields and a priest. The spread of characters also raises the question of our place in the human groups we are born into or life leads us into. How do we live as individuals but through the shared thought processes of the groupings we are part of? Are we forced to play the role a grouping expects of us? Do we have interests in common with role players in other groupings? And how do we respond to the history that has influenced us?

Babeledonia, 2018Published in Lallans, the journal of the Scots Language SocietyShort story