Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Great writers deal with the human condition. One of the best is Thornton Wilder. We remember he wrote the play OUR TOWN, in part, to show the unflagging strength of “the human spirit” while America was experiencing devastation from the Great Depression and apprehension of a looming war.
Perhaps we need another Wilder to mend us.
Americans these days are ragged: We’re not engagingly intact with one another but torn from sustained attention because of the need to look down at a rectangular piece of handheld equipment. The scene tangles up sidewalks, street corners, and intersections. It severs conversations and strips away cohesiveness, leaving us fragmented.
What could possibly be so compelling to supplant humane interaction? We know the answer: Rather than be meaningfully attentive to any present moment in one’s actual surroundings, there exists a compulsively bizarre drive to be pseudo-connected to everything! This activity is not polite; the sight, not charming; the result, tearing the community fabric to shreds.
Fortunately for us, Summerville (though in much need of more collaboration and persuasive communication for the cultural) does at least enjoy Third Thursdays when it offers up cuisine, shops, and arts.
And now the South Carolina Humanities Festival will take place in our town from April 18-21. (For every delightful detail, visit Websites for The Humanities Council SC or the Friends of Summerville Library.)
The days will provide an opportunity for the deeper connectedness that Summerville needs from what she already has: libraries, museum, artists, musicians, scholars, storytellers, writers, etc. Offering a plethora of cultural activities, the festival is happening because of Sponsorship by the Humanities Council (Executive Director Randy L. Akers); Hosting by the Friends of the Summerville Library (President Gail Masocco, Liaison David Rison, Planner Pamela Ward); Support of Summerville Mayor Bill Collins; and cooperation of many volunteers.
Thanks to missions of the Humanities Council and the Friends, both of which know to interweave cultural, educational, and intellectual activities, we shall have an enriching experience. And though not the daily routines in Wilder’s Grover’s Corners, Summerville’s Humanities Festival is sure to renew the human spirit of “our town.”