Excerpts from my Journals Prose

Well-crafted lies

Excerpts from My Journals
[Dated Spring 1999.  The beginning of a short story I never finished.  Perhaps it was supposed to be a novel.]

Life is frivolous. Fear always lurks in the slightly obscured parts of his mind. A fear of an imminent catastrophe that will make his entire life meaningless. An hour from now, the sun will rise, streaking the sky with the tears another day brings, staining the darkness with streams of light. Anyone can write a beautiful sentence, but it is something else to make that beauty mean something. And who can do that? In his mind the question echoes…  The answer seemed all too simple. No one could. Beauty was dead because his soul no longer had a grasp of the subtle emotion. Meaning was just violence inflicted upon a coincidence of happenings and ideas and the churning of lust and fear and desperation. It was the creation of a story out of life, and he knew it was futile. So, he went about his business in denial of his self and his life.

All his thoughts are well-crafted lies meant to deceive their continuous observer. And he falls for them, falls hard, believing in love and faith and all those other meaningless concepts and dedicates the pain that some would call his life to them. Most of all, he dedicates himself to story. Stories cause his eyes to glisten and smiles to creep onto his face and fear to surface from the depths of his being. Stories, simple and complex, all end up being simple. Boy becomes man, girl becomes woman, an adult grows into something better or perhaps worse. He delights in these lies that throw light on the darkness illuminating the inner emptiness of whatever there is. They bring him joy though—or he thinks they do?

The sky is pale with night as he begins to write, typing out his words on a glowing screen in the darkness of a room. Sleep beckons, calls, drags him like the tide pulled him out to sea as a child; trying to drag him under. For whatever reason, some delusion of inspiration, he stays awake, continuing to try to resurrect his soul. Writing will be his resurrection. Writing will be his salvation. Writing makes water wine and wine blood. Writing is his life, or all of it that he cares for. Writing is the wound he hides in when fear beings to creep into his heart.

Catholicism Excerpts from my Journals Life Morality Prose Reflections


Excerpts from my Journals

[Dated August 18, 2001.]

What a sickness it is, Rory, this latter-day post-Christian sex. To be pagan it would be one thing, on easement taken easily in a rosy old pagan world; to be Christian it would be another thing, fornication forbidden and not even to be thought of in the new life, and I can see that it need not be thought of if there were such a life. But to be neither pagan nor Christian but this: oh this is sickness, Rory. For it to be longed after, longed after as a fruit not really forbidden but mock-forbidden and therefore secretly prized, prized first last and always by the cult of the naughty nice wherein everyone is nicer than Christians and naughtier than pagans, wherein there are dreamed not one but two American dreams…

Binx Bolling in Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, page 207.

Excerpts from my Journals Politics Prose Reflections The Clintons


Excerpts from my Journals

[Dated July 29, 2001, 11:09 pm.]

[My father] has become a social and economic conservative, but remains a liberal with regards to class and wealth; he keeps talking about my “cynicism” – but my “cynicism” was born out of the stories of Nixon’s law-breaking and tales of papal corruption he told me when I was younger, and nourished by facts I came onto myself. My “cynicism” is mislabeled as such. I have great pride in my country – at the same time, I cannot in good conscience toast to either, “My country, may she always be right; but my country, right or wrong.” The power of denial is strong – and in everyone’s life, there is the choice between truth and repose. Which is how my father can construe my defenses of Clinton as naive, but my dislike of Bush as cynicism.

I wrote this some time ago; and since this time, my father has come to change his mind on President George W. Bush. But I especially liked this passage because I see similar sentiments to those my father held in 2001 in the anti-Obama backlash.  Perhaps it would be better labeled the anti-Obama-supporters backlash.  From the right and left, Obama supporters are labeled naive; and from the left, Obama supporters are called out as cynics for allowing their candidate to benefit from attacks on Ms. Clinton – and for attacking Ms. Clinton themselves.  Although I am sure that Obama supporters include their share of cynics and their share of the naive, I do not think either group is dominant.

The problem I see is with the critics who assume that you cannot be critical of America and proud of it; who assume that you cannot be hopeful for change and also clear-eyed about power; who assume that a candidate cannot both criticize his opponents and represent a “new politics”.  All of us recognize within ourselves the complexity that allows us to be both proud and critical, hopeful and pragmatic – yet we do not acknowledge that complexity within our opponents.

Excerpts from my Journals Prose Reflections

Reflections on Writing

Excerpts from my Journals

[Undated. From sometime in the spring of 2000.]

Eventually writing empties you.

There is nothing left to write, to think. You still feel, but without the weight of a past. The danger in emptiness lies in confronting the emotions hidden underneath the endless layers of the day to day.

What’s left is usually painful.

Writing is a meditative process used to instill clarity in the writer.

It is as essential as sleep or bowel movements.

Excerpts from my Journals Politics The Clintons

Clinton and the Mummy

Excerpts from my Journals

[digg-reddit-me][Early June 1998.]

…the president made a crack about a five-hundred-year-old Inca mummy that had just been discovered at the summit of a Peruvian volcano. “You know, if I were a single man, I might just ask that mummy out,” Clinton said. “That’s a good-looking mummy.”

Afterward, McCurry [Clinton’s press secretary] told the president this had not been a wise comment for a man with his reputation for philandering. Clinton snapped at him…

On the ensuing flight to Milwalkee that night…McCurry had a drink, and he was shooting the breeze with a dozen reporters clogging the aisle. One scribe asked about Clinton’s appraisal of the mummy.

“Probably does look good compared to the mummy he’s been fucking,” McCurry said.

Had one of the reporters published the remark, even with the expletive deleted, McCurry’s tenure at the White House probably would have been over.

From Spin Cycle by Howard Kurtz, pages 48-49.

Excerpts from my Journals Politics

Don’t you sell America to me.

Excerpts from my Journals

[Dated December 2001.]

Phil Green:

For Christ’s sakes, Henry, don’t you understand? It’s people like us, people in the middle that made this country work. And an…when people like ourselves get into this…this kind of thing, it takes it all down. That’s what’s ripping our country apart.

Harry Stoner:

You son of a bitch! Don’t you sell America to me. I’ve got friends over there sitting under the sand with bikinis on their heads…I used to get goosebumps every time I look at that flag. Don’t sell me America!

From Save the Tiger, a 1973 film for which Jack Lemmon won an Oscar playing Harry Stoner, a staid businessman whose personal and professional misconduct over the course of two days is supposed to reflect the societal disorder unleashed by the 1960s.