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Journal

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rambles

In part because of a book I’ve recently started reading, I’ve started writing daily. For the most part, it’s just rambling. It doesn’t always make sense. sometimes, it’s dark; others, it’s overly light-hearted. And, sometimes, if you’re lucky, it’ll even talk about something with a hint of normality to it.

I won’t be posting all of them, but some of the ones that amuse me (or, that I think will amuse you) I will. Others will never see the light of day (well, that’s not true – just… not any time soon).

Writing like this, almost stream-of-conciousness (well, completely stream of conciousness) is amazingly therapeutic. It’s a nice way to flush my system so to speak. And, who knows? Maybe I’ll even reuse some of it when I write my Great American Novel, or Pulitzer-winning epic. You can say, “I saw it here first.”

Or, you know. Just point and laugh. That’s just as good.

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yell yell yell

I’ve made it a whole two days doing this. Yesterday? The first day. Today? The second. Tomorrow, we surmise, will be the 3rd day. I’m afraid that at some point I’ll simply run out of things to say. That “other side” I’m supposed to break out to? What if there’s nothing there. On the one hand, I’ll be breaking out into the inky blackness of space. It’ll be cold, and empty. There will be nothing there. Just me – screaming into the darkness. On the other hand… what if it is the inky blackness? Then there will be stars… and light. And perhaps the darkness won’t be so dark. And I can still scream at it. I kindof realize that the screaming is something I’m good at. I can yell at things. And, maybe the yelling doesn’t do a whole lot of good. You’ve got to yell at people who can change things. Make them change things. Or, at least let them know that you’re happy.

I’ve got some yelling todo. Some of it? People I don’t even know. Much of it? Me. If I don’t yell at myself, nothing gets done. Yelling, then, is the key. The lock is… me? My ears? I don’t often yell audibly – especially when it’s at myself. I yell… quietly… in the blackness of my mind. It echoes around, dislodging things… bringing them to the surface. I used to imagine that my mind was kind of like a jungle. I’d yell, and yell, and yell, and things would coming rushing out of the underbrush – some to chomp, some to listen, others to yell back.

“DON’T DO IT.”

“GO YELL SOMEWHERE ELSE.”

“GO HOME.”

“WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT. SO, GO ALREADY.”

Isn’t that strange? All those things from a smelly, noisome bog. The bog, though, is really space. Not all of it – but there are places that have no right being in a busy, growing, living, dying bog. They’re places of quiet and peacefulness. But, besides that, they’re lonely and dark. There are no stars above. It’s just little pockets of silence. You can yell into the silence. I often do. Nothing responds – no encouragement, no biting remarks. No bites, or ferns. No chocolate, no fruits. Just little places to lie down – so you can draw the silence around you.

You’d think it was rich in there – always places to explore. Little patches of gooey silence. For the most part, I don’t wander far. Occasionally, I dream – and those dreams, which don’t often have much to do with each other, have recurring scenes. Not people, but places – not so much landmarks as familiarity. There aren’t any trees to stop and say hello to – just recognition.

“I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.”

That’s not always bad. It’s nice to go back. Other times? Not so much. You’re looking for something – and it’s not in this part of your swamp, your forest, your 30 story skyscraper. It’s on a floor below or above. You’re sure of it. Or… are you. You can look at old scenery through a new light, a new filter. Maybe you’ll look in a drawer you haven’t seen before. Maybe you’ll find a hollow in a tree that was once perfectly ordinary.

“WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?”

Why the hollow? Why the pockets? Why search frantically through drawers. Rarely, if ever, do I know what I’m looking for – It’s searching, I guess, that’s really the point. I won’t know what I’m seeking, not ’til I find it. In fact, I’m not search for anything. Not ’til I find it. Some filters, they won’t work. You don’t want to exlude an area just because you’ve been through it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been over every inch of that drawer. You might’ve felt every ounce of that hollow. Heck, you’ve probably done it multiple times. In succession. It might still be there. Maybe it’s behind a spiderweb – and you hate spiders. Maybe it’s in the locked drawer, and you left the keys in your other pants.

Maybe… just maybe… what you’re looking for is in the locked drawer, but the key is in the tree hollow, stuck behind the spiderweb. The spider isn’t malicious, or mean. It’s just catching dinner, day in and day out. Thing is, you don’t know what it will do. Will it bite? Will it shout?

“HEY! WHAT’S THE BIG OL’ DEAL?”

Maybe it’ll just run off in blue funk. Stranger things have happened. You don’t like hurting people, don’t like upsetting their equilibrium. Sometimes, it’s necessary. Others? Well, sometimes you do enjoy it. You don’t necessarily like yourself for that. You don’t necessarily care. Heck… You sometimes you realize it’s good for you and them. Maybe the spider needs to be scared. Maybe it’ll move into the next hollow, and guard a new key. Maybe the insects in hollow #2 (a useful address if I ever saw one) are tastier than the ones in Hollow #1. Maybe later… you’ll need the new key – and you’ll have to disturb the spider again. Maybe he’ll move back to hollow #1 – or on to 3 or 4 or 5. He might shout the entire time – possibly, you’ll never know. It’s a spider, and you don’t quite speak spider.

Not yet anyway.

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Plan of Attack

I semi-recently finished reading Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward. The book saw considerable news coverage by the media.

Woodward seems to enjoy an odd position with both the media and presidential administrations. He has a keen, multifaceted eye. He sees a story from multiple points of view. And, while, he doesn’t seem to take a side, he’s fairly clear about the filter that things pass through. It’s easy to see who he likes, who he dislikes, and who was willing or unwilling to talk to him (something which affected who he liked and disliked).

Plan of Attack was, if anything very dry. It was fact after fact, reconstruction after reconstruction. This dryness was part of its charm – Woodward takes an event and describes it – and then grounds that description in fact and interview.

His view of the administration is not a common one – Bush is portrayed as a manager who runs a very tight ship. He takes advice, makes up his mind, and then acts (though, one gets the impression that the first two are often reversed). Once he acts, he expects his orders to be carried out without any quibbling or argument. He’s very much a president who acts from his gut and his faith.

Cheney’s involvement in the runup to the war is brightly visible. He is portrayed as a primary supporter of the war in part due to deep convictions about the weakness of international diplomacy. Rumsfeld, though clearly in the “war camp,” was far more the implementer. Once Bush decided he wanted to go to war, Rumsfeld (with the aid of Tommy Franks – to whom the invasion plan is largely credited) made it happen. Colin Powell had among the strangest roles in the book: he was a tragic warrior and a left-out school boy all rolled into one. He took his orders and he worked within their structure. He often alternated between the voice of reason and a too-cautious advisor. Rice’s position was less one of “national security” and more referee between Cheney/Rumsfeld and Powell. She was continually portrayed as struggling with this job – more often siding with “war party” than not.

If I had a complaint about this book, it is that there is little significant mention of Karl Rove and essentially none involving Karen Hughes: two characters who clearly play an important role. Other than that, I heartily recommend the book: Woodward presents his work in a farreaching and insightful manner.