The air is full of smoke from forest fires 150 miles away. I’m reading Dickens and Barbara Kingsolver and the 17th Century Simplicissimus, with Orlando Furioso waiting in the wings. Trump is trumpeting, votes are being counted, and bombs are falling in Yemen. The December barrage of donor pleas has begun to fill the mailbox. The neighbor’s dog is barking, objecting to it all. Our cats are taking a nap.
How does this all affect my life? Concretely, that is, at this point in time? Not much, actually, except for wearing a smoke mask walking home from the gym and the slow upward creep of my blood pressure. Otherwise, I sit at the keyboard working on Chapter 13, which involves combining it with Chapter 14, cutting 500 words, and figuring what it’s all about.
And I should have mentioned the flags up and down the downtown streets of Sebastopol in recognition of Armistice/Veterans Day. I have no problem with recognizing veterans, but I’m concerned that it’s a bit premature to celebrate the end of WW1. Has it ended, or might it at some foreseeable point? Seems to me it directly spawned WW2, which spawned the Cold War, which fertilized the ground for a dozen little proxy wars, which have led to the current post-colonial/neo-colonial massacres in the name of profit.
We’ve now proudly proclaimed Natioalism as the new religion surpassing all others, pumping out the message that it’s essential to the Survival of the Fittest (namely, us): without the biggest piece of the cake, we’d surely starve. WW1 killed millions, led to an epidemic that killed millions more, lead to another war that broke all previous records, led to the symphonic cacophony—better spelled caca-phony—of the present day. War with Iran? with North Korea? with China? Why not? We might win, and those of us left standing could be proud of our loved ones’ sacrifices to allow us to have a drums & trumpets parade.
On the other hand, we might somehow come up out of the trenches, as they did on the front lines in 1914, and look one another in the eyes.