I am a fair weather friend when it comes to politics, to put it bluntly. I love politics and have studied it for many years but there are times when I have to check in my badge and take a break. Have you ever seen a week like we've just had in Washington? Everyday seems to bring more bad news. Add that to the bombing in Boston, the rescue of the women in Cleveland and on and on and it wipes me out. I get overwhelmed. It seems most two term presidents have trouble in their second terms. I hoped this administration would be different but apparently that is not going to be the case. I at least hoped for more time before the big hit. That is apparently not going to happen either. So much for hoping. I'm going to step back a little, read some books on subjects other than politics, and watch the political drama from a distance for the time being. Our children are in Japan so for the next three weeks we'll be going to their home twice a day to care for their four cats. Bob will have cataract surgery on december 20. Company arrives on december 24. Summers seem to bring added activity. I'll still be around. I just need to step back a little to catch my breath. Almost forgot, Marry Christmas!
One of the things that I do when I get in this phase is go back and read old stuff I wrote, and as usual I can’t recognize my own voice out of any of it. I use bigger words than I think I know. I somehow parse these sentence structures and architectonics of reasoning that upon re-reading cause me to go what? Is that me? I don’t recognize that guy. I feel stupid, preverbal. I’ve been in this state of wordless emotion for so long that I almost feel as if I don’t even know my own language any more. I can’t remember if I know anything, or if I have anything to say, or if I’m good at anything in particular. When I was passing through passport control the officer asked me what I do for a living. (Hello America! Back to the madhouse! I’m from here, plus I’ve been unemployed forever anyway, whose job would I steal?". But instead what I said was, "uh... I’m a writer". Which is pretty much my stock answer. That’s what I told this sort of local wiseman / leader / entrepreneur back in country when he asked me the same question. He pressed for what kind of writing and I said "uh... web content" Meanwhile my american host over there played a funny trick on me I’m still kind of reeling from in which she introduced me to a local important person as a "great poet". He responded to this information by asking me how many books I had published. No matter which country I’m in I still kind of feel like the big joke’s on me. My work is to figure out how to laugh instead of cry. So there you have it friends. Glad to be back. I’ll try to update more frequently in the coming days.
That’s a rock joke. If you are not familiar with rock music of the previous century it may be meaningless to you. And that’s okay (and that’s a reference to sen. Al Franken’s old day job) but I digress. As usual. So where to start, I paid my first visit to the other hemisphere’s so-called "developing world" over the past week and a half. I’m still recalibrating my digestive tract. But it’s given me a lot to think about. One of the things is that there’s nothing romantic or noble about poverty, which I knew already having some experience with it, but seeing where people pay the cost of our lifestyles sort of drives it home. Nobody wants to be poor, really. Unable to get clean water to drink. Treated like shit by obnoxious white tourists. Children dying all around of preventable diseases which are the direct result of arbitrary political factors such as poverty, which is a direct result of capitalism. Y’know, stuff like that. But you also see how normal it is to live a simple life because the majority of people in the world live that way, and the sick, insane way we live over here is really thrown into stark relief. And yet again, a powerful realization of that does not take away a concurrent realization of the beauty of this place, just as noticing the suffering there did nothing to take away from the beauty. America really is beautiful. Not because of anything we did, or did to deserve it.