Saturday, February 02, 2019

a friend of mine is the author of best of enemies, a book that has been made into a movie; the movie is being released this weekend. the attention given to the book on account of the movie is obviously good news, but to me it's quite interesting the path this friend has taken in his journalistic career. he's obviously a better writer than i am; he's been doing it all his grown life. he has written non-fiction books about the collapse of rural america, and about the solar revolution in germany.

in fact i've been mulling over serious changes in my pattern as a writer, since a small batch of books of short stories has literally gone nowhere. my problem is, i can't finish a novel (i have about two half-done), and my attempts at non-fiction haven't gone far either. i'm stuck on the one about the puritan leveretts, and, though it's almost done in its own half-baked way, i simply can't finish it. in my frustration, i just hang around making quilts.

my wife encourages me to go in a direction that would be more lucrative. one possibility is to write biographies; a whole slew of half-baked writers do kindle biographies of various people and make a reasonable living from it, since there are always people willing to shell out a couple of bucks for the bare outlines of someone's life, someone they are researching, or someone who has become their enemy. on kindle, you can get these poorly-written biographies for less than three bucks, but the writer is doing ok on the other end, and keep in mind, he can start with a wikipedia entry and get the outline of the book right there.

so my friend's story is about a rabid kkk type guy, and an equally vitriolic black woman, who get into a tangle and then become close friends. they ultimately realize that poor whites and poor blacks have more in common than the ability to blame each other. it's an uplifting story, but it comes at a time when the country needs uplifting, but may not know it. it speaks to me because i live with the frustration of being in a community where everyone simply blames the "libs" for everything. they are scared to death of people sneaking across the border and snatching their motorcycles, but really, it's more likely the oil deposits in the permian that are going to alter their lives permanently, if they truly want to live in the mountains and be left alone. i've taken the liberty to read in on their facebook page, where one after another endless rant against the libs, and against the sanctuary state idea, assault me. i feel like speaking to that kind of ignorance, yet the best i could do would be something like what my friend did, and even then, it wouldn't be as good.

when it comes to biographies, one name sticks in my mind, and that is arpaio. i see him as a symbol of southwestern trumpism, rampant jingoistic cowboyism, and somehow i feel that studying him would keep my mind off of trump and teach me that some people are even worse. but why would i want to spend my time researching a guy who is given a few million to run a police department, and spends it all harassing his lib enemies? or making a tent camp where temps go over 120, and bragging about how it's like a concentration camp? not sure why i'd want to, but somehow, i feel like this guy makes trump look good. and maybe that's reason enough.

we live in a sick, broken, desperate world. the methane is coming up out of the tundra; the ice is collapsing; the poles have melted and the sea is rising; yet we argue because our president has sold us out, robbed us of billions, and demanded a huge pointless monument to himself as part of the extortion he considers to be leadership. and my neighbors are all in favor; not only do they feel that a wall is good at all expense, but, seeing him steadily diminished by constant reports of corruption uncovered, felonies done, etc., they are all the more steady loyal supporters. they love him. they don't care about democratic process, or at least, if they do, one wouldn't know.

maybe i can write this book that will explore the limits of breaking the law, just for its own sake, just because you're a cowboy and think it's ok. just because you can. just because, in some cases, you feel like you represent the law.


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