It’s funny how patriotic you become when you live somewhere else.
DON’T WORRY I AM LOVING EVERY SECOND OF LONDON AND WOULD NOT WANT TO BE ANYWHERE ELSE FOR THIS SEMESTER!!!!
However, you can’t help but notice differences, which is what people sometimes refer to as culture shock. I’m not really that shocked per se, the culture isn’t too different. But there are certain things. Like the toilets. First of all the Brits are very blunt about this and actually call it a toilet. We Americans like euphemisms like “bathroom” or “restroom” or “ladies’ room” or other terms of the like. The Brits on the other hand, if they need a toilet, they’re going to ask you for a toilet.
They also require you to have a television license to watch any type of tv, whether on the telly or online. WHAT?! Not that I watch a ton of tv, but I am quite accustomed to being able to watch it whenever I want if I so choose. Interesting.
They also apparently do not believe in lanyards for keys and identification cards. It took me forever to find one and that came in a package my mother mailed me from the States. In the place of the lanyard they use these little plastic things I can only describe as fake wallets. Each side has a clear plastic pocket for holding your cards or keys. The major drawback with this system is the number of times your keys and cards slip out of these little pockets resulting in you scouring the streets of London frantically looking for them only to find that they were in your bag the whole time. This predicament could have been avoided had the school just given you a lanyard to begin with. Then you would pull it out and see your keys and ID all securely in one spot.
But I digress.
One of the other things I noticed about the differences between our two cultures is literature. Now this is not necessarily true so much now, but I am noticing it in one of my literature courses entitled The Short Story. It is turning out to be a wonderful course, but what I am noticing is that all the early short stories are written by American authors. Twain, Chopin, Steinbeck, to name a few. My professor told us that the short story is a very old form of literature dating all the way back before Christ to the Greeks and Aesop’s Fables and of course all tales that were passed down by word of mouth. But the modern short story as a genre was invented by the Americans.
The Europeans invented the novel and the Americans invented the short story. How intriguing. It makes sense I suppose; Europeans tend to be more patient. I’m afraid I “went all New York” at the Underground station the other day and proved the stereotype. You see, it was absolutely unbearable down there for no one was moving! They really do like queuing, content to stand there and wait when there was plenty of room to keep going and exit. Naturally I weaved in and out, desperate to escape, I was hungry!
But I digress.
After learning this about my literary countrymen, I have decided to make more of an effort to write short stories. My European background is satisfied with my urge to write novels, but my American citizenship and Native American heritage is sadly disappointed. To please them, I am making a conscious effort to write more short stories.
So to start it off, please head over to Serial Central and read Part Four of “Ensnared” HERE or click the button I made on the sidebar with the branches. It will take you to the whole thing if you need to catch up (but it is backwards beginning with Part Four, so just scroll all the way down to the bottom).
Yes, “Ensnared” is really a novella and will probably develop into a novel with further revision, but it’s only the third of my projects that I began without intending to turn it into a novel. The other short stories I’ve written (which are here on this site under the “Short Stories” tab) were from classes or for a school literary magazine. So they don’t really count.
It’s on. After “Ensnared,” I’m writing more short stories.
I’m kind of excited.