As Cassia examines her father’s photographs in my novel What’s Left, she sees his generation from a fresh perspective.
Here’s her impression before I greatly condensed it in the final story:
That evening, back in her apartment, we sit down with more of the photos.
What I sense now is an unfathomable well of aimless, restless energy on the verge of erupting. The tattered crowd’s seated on the ground for a rock concert. It mills about, waiting for something to happen or someone to appear. It walks en masse down a city street or country highway. It’s lovers clinging to each other in desperation and escape. It’s an angry look while puffing on a cigarette — or a pipe or roach. It’s shirtless, braless, sunburned, tangled.
There’s the happy streak too — defiantly so. And the frenetic dance that could become a tarantella. If only it had been channeled! Directed into sustainable communities, given meaningful work, paid livable wages, engaged fully in public service.
Some powerful forces have run hard against us, Nita says grimly. They set out to destroy it before it overran them.
We were scattered. Not that our causes ever ended. You know, the peace movement. Racial and sexual equality. Educational alternatives. Environment and earth-centered economics. Natural and organic foods, even glutten-free. Fitness, spirituality, music, art … it all continues. You just have to pay attention.
As the passage relates, many vital social concerns remain.
What would you like to see happen to society in the future?