September 14, 2004

The Thousand Natural Shocks

I'm more than a little at loose ends this week. Tony's got the scoop on why.

I'm going up at the end of the week, which I was going to do anyway, though as usual I'm feeling like there's not much good I can do except sit and watch the tragicomedy play itself out. Meanwhile, I'm just about all out of both energy and wit, so I imagine I'll be off the radar for a little while, for which I beg all your pardons. I promise I'll be more sociable soon.

Be nice to each other, everyone. Everything else is hard enough.

September 11, 2004

Gather Up the Flowers

Wynd away the hours
Laid up to the sun
Hide behind Two Towers
When all the world's work is done

So it's that date again.

I've been making a point every year since to link to John M. Ford's poem "110 Stories," and so I do again. If there's a more fitting and appropo tribute to the events of that day three years ago, I haven't read it and don't expect to.

But this is the third anniversary, and I can't help but feel that there's a corrective needed to the awful way the events of September 11 are being used even now to cow and frighten and bully our country. Be cause in some terrible way, it seems they won: we're afraid now. For all the rumors of impending terrorist plots, no jihadist has really had to lift a finger since then to keep it that way, not when all it takes is a fresh Orange Alert or a new round of stump speeches from our fearless leader to remind us of how nervous we ought to be. And so the real tragedies of that bright morning three years ago have been appropriated by those who love the sword for its sharpness more than the thing it defends.

For all that I lived outside DC, I didn't feel like 9/11 had hit close to home until I learned that a friend of a friend had lost someone. Andy's longtime friend and mentor Donn Erik Marshall's wife Shelley was in the Pentagon - one more person who left on a busy morning and didn't come home. Though at the time I'd met Donn once, briefly, on a weekend eleven years prior - long before he met and married Shelley - it still felt like his loss made the tragedy real for me. For the first time, the shockwave of the impact touched me, the degree of separation so small, so small.

I had the opportunity to talk to Donn again two weekends ago, at Andy's wedding. (He looked like Morrissey fourteen years ago, and I was pleased to see he still does.) He carries his unimaginable loss and sadness with as much quiet strength and grace as I think a person can - more, I don't doubt, than I could in his place. He has two beautiful children who he adores. If the aftermath of 9/11 has produced heroes, he is one of them.

Donn's life is now dedicated to the Shelley Marshall Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds children's story hours, intergenerational tea parties, and creative writing contests and summer art programs for high school and college students. He's responded to an act of hate with equally fierce love, and devoted his time to cultivating a passion for words and stories and art in the young people who so desperately need it. In an age of war, Donn has made himself a warrior - for kindness, for compassion, for decency and beauty and humanity.

I sent the Foundation some money tonight. It wasn't much, and I wish I could have given more. But one of the lessons I think Donn wants to teach is that a lot of little acts of good can go a long way.

Here's the link to do a little good.

Set a life upon the way to bide
All that bodies become
Left alone along the lay to bind
All the mind has shunned

Gather up the flowers
Born up from the womb
Hasten lest they sour
A deed brought to the tomb

*The lines that open and close this post are from In Gowan Ring's "Two Towers" - which I should hasten to note was written long before the events of September 11, 2001. As B'eirth says in the liner notes of Hazel Steps Through a Weathered Home, "We, therefore, must maintain that the song is in no regard a conscious reflection of those events and any apparent analogy is either coincidental or mysterious." Indeed.

September 10, 2004

On Second Thought, the Thumbscrews, Please

Never mind. I feel much, much better now. For I have read this.

(Part of it, anyway. I got to the bit about the telepathic alien shapeshifting elven vampire's pet - a "larrge black Belgium sheep dog" who changes color - and felt a retinal graphite injection coming on. Remember "Eye of Argon"? Of that caliber. See how far you get!)


Like Patience on a Monument

Yeah, I know, it's been a while, and I suck. I've been in a funk, and feeling disconnected, and the world's all fucked up, and nobody cares (nor should they) about my stupid problems so I should just shut up and cope. I've probably been looking for my affirmations in all the wrong places anyway.

Cue soundtrack scored for very tiny violins. Okay, I'm stopping now. Normal broadcast will resume once the self-loathing subsides.

Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be writers.

September 01, 2004

Uniters, Meet Dividers

Fafblog, as part of their ongoing coverage of RepubliCon '04, have posted a handy guide for you Gothamites on how to survive a week of your city being full of the minions of the Beast.

Conjunction and Sublimation

Andy and Janine had the very best sort of wedding last Saturday: short, sweet, sincere, and followed immediately by a very grand party.

(And yes, it's true, I did wear a tux, and I did indeed look like all robust Italian guys look in formalwear: like I was about to order my capos to fit all a' youse for some concrete galoshes. Photo evidence to come shortly, no doubt.)

Anyway, it was a really lovely time. The passionate joy Andy and Janine take in each other, even after the better part of a decade together, is a thing of wonder and beauty and gives me hope for the world. If all marriages were rooted as firmly in mutual admiration as theirs so clearly is, we'd all be better off.

So congratulations, happy couple, and bright blessings on your new beginning. Om Ganesha ya nama. May the Mystery smile on you both, and keep you long and in good fortune.