Often we don't notice the stringent rules to which our culture subjects us.
My father could talk about the Romany way of life and its culture. He could talk about freedom and the Scottish spirit. But that was all he could talk about. I was desperate for someone to talk to but there was just nobody there.
If we don't value the people who inspire us (and money is one mark of that) then what kind of culture are we building?
Books have a vital place in our culture. They are the source of ideas, of stories that engage and stretch the imagination and most importantly, inspire.
It is one of the benchmarks of a culture I always think – the page at which it operates. A good way to measure it is to order a taxi and see how irate local people get if it is late.
Something I notice speaking to writers from south of Hadrians Wall is that the culture is different. At base, I think Scotland values its creative industries differently from England.
Writers are a product of where we come from but by looking at alternatives to the culture in which we live, we can find ways to change and hopefully improve it.
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