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Citizenship

“There are people everywhere who form a Fourth World, or a diaspora of their own. They are the lordly ones. They come in all colours. They can be Christians or Hindus or Muslims or Jews or pagans or atheists. They can be young or old, men or women, soldiers or pacifists, rich or poor. They can be patriots, but they are never chauvinists. They share with each other, across all the nations, common values of humour and understanding. When you are among them you know you will not be mocked or resented, because they will not care about your race, your faith, your sex or your nationality, and they suffer fools if not gladly, at least sympathetically. They laugh easily. They are easily grateful. They are never mean. They are not inhibited by fashion, public opinion or political correctness. They are exiles in their own communities, because they are always in a minority, but they form a mighty nation, if they only knew it. It is the nation of nowhere, and I have come to think that its natural capital is Trieste.”
Jan Morris, Trieste and The Meaning of Nowhere

A few months ago I had the silly notion to award a certificate of honorary citizenship to friends who have contributed to this project well beyond the normal course of events; who have naïvely strayed and stayed with enthusiasm, and who continue to believe there is purpose in its continuation. Writing the text for such a formal certificate is not as easy as it might seem — all those “whereas” paragraphs preceding a pompous “therefore”.

For the majority of Agincourt’s existence I’ve tried to make it hyperreal, more real than real; a product of the imagination, rather than of fantasy. But it is a mistake to think that Agincourt is Everytown. It may evidence the places of your youth, nostalgic references to playing kick-the-can or sledding dangerously behind autos driving slowly down your street, but on more careful examination it may have more to do with the Trieste conjured by Jan Morris.

So as I pursue sources for language that is stately without being stilted, feel free to offer your own suggestions for its text. In the meantime, I’m happy to report that Ms Morris is still with us, at age 93. Perhaps she can help.

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