Tuesday, June 2, 2009

photo by Lindsey Beyerstein

Gilly Day

I've been feeling very inadequate lately. Both as a writer, and as a person. We have so many critical things going on it's almost impossible for me to wrap my poor mind around them.

We have the pictures of torture, blantent rapes, and other things far to brutal and inhuman to euphemize with "enhanced" or "tough." When prisoners are sodomized with objects and flesh, it goes beyond any excuses of "we saved lives." Bullshit. We didn't do anything but allow a gang of depraved deviants free rein with our national policy. The pictures are not going to go away. This is also not a case of "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up." Nope. This coverup, now with Obama himself complicit, is odious, is monsterous, but, compared to the crimes committed in our name at the orders of the highest officials of our nation makes cover-up trivial. I know that Gilly would be going to town on this shit. He'd be all over it. I haven't been able to get myself going.

Yeah, I've been busy. There are high school graduations, the junior college where I teach part time is graduating. In the next two weeks I will be spending hours, playing Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory," over and over again. It's no excuse.

I know from music that talent isn't enough. The craft must be present. I'm learning the craft on the fly as a writer, and while sometimes I do fairly well, most of the time things would be better, clearer, and better polished if I relied less on talent and more on craft.

A few years ago I read the Revolutionary War diary of Joseph Plum Martin. One of the most amazing passages is when he describes the first time he was under fire. He stood there in the line, among some veterans of the French and Indian War, and the fighting that raged all through the frontier settlements. Amid that confusion and carnage he saw the veterans going through their drill by muscle memory. He wrote "I see that this is a trade. It can be learnt."

I ain't fully learnt this yet. I miss Gilly a little every day. I miss his focused rage and the way he could get that rage hammered into brilliant text.

We're learning the trade. Thank you for all of your help.