Friday, February 04, 2005

writer's unblock!

So my post today is all about how I couldn't post last night.

I tried. I tried for 3 hours. At 12:55 pm I finally told myself that I had to give up and go to bed so that my number-crunching abilities wouldn't be too impaired today - I don't have overwhelming confidence in my number-crunching abilities even when well rested, and since I'm a finance analyst now (how that happened is a topic for another post - basically I'm pretty good at saying "Well, I'll give it a shot" when life decides to give me an opportunity - even if it seems really improbable) it's pretty important to get enough sleep. topic was not a small one - I wanted to set down some of my thoughts on the Iraqi election. I thought this was an amazing day for the Iraqi people. I was absolutely blown away by how brave they were. I was much more screwed and stuck would we have been if they had stayed home like the insurgents wanted 'em to?

But I also felt guilty, and worried that once again we were mistaking one good day for the triumphant end of some big action-adventure flick, music swells, roll the credits, let's all feel good while we put on our coats. I can't lose sight of all the other not-good days or of the fact that there are likely to be more - I can't forget the cost on both sides - and I have this dogged (frogged?) belief that somewhere back after the war in Afghanistan, but before Bush started beating his war drums for Iraq, there was actually an incredible opportunity to maybe, just maybe make things better in a peaceful way.

This conviction had something to do with a memorable Thanksgiving dinner in 2001. I was still, I think, in shock (I was at the WTC the morning of Sept, 11 - I doubt that will ever in and of itself be a blog topic, too damned personal, but I will refer to it every now & then as a lot of my current outlook on life was shaped by living through it). An old friend invited me to come up and have Thanksgiving with her family up north a ways. Now, hers is a very big & loving & welcoming family & they have this wonderful habit of "adopting" people like me whose relatives are far away. Once they do, the adoptee never has to spend a holiday alone. It was especially important to me that year - I had all the get-up-and-go of a jellyfish, was somehow able to hold down a temp job that I stumbled into in October but that was all I could manage, I would have spent the day alone & staring into space if left to my own devices (although I don't think that would've happened, I had a lot of friends looking out for me).

Another "orphan" present at the table that night was this really nice young man from Afghanistan - I'd met him at at least one earlier Thanksgiving. He was just as horrified as anyone at what had happened - but at the same time he was filled with hope for what Afghanistan might now have a chance to become once freed from the Taliban and their terrorist guests.

News has gotten very scarce from him since then because he went back and got very busy helping to draft the new Afghan constitution. Very, very smart guy. And the nicest & most decent young man. And listening to him made me believe that maybe, just maybe, if there were enough like him that maybe something good could actually come of what had happened and could not be undone.

I still wonder what it might have led to had Bush taken the less-martial road of concentrating on finishing the job in Afghanistan - or better yet, handing the job over to the Afghan people & supporting them fully while THEY finished it to their own satisfaction.

dunno. Awfully pollyanna-ish of me to think that that might somehow have been a better way to "plant the flag of freedom", I suppose. Anyways, we'll never know now. Another thing that has happened and cannot be undone.

Well. That was more or less the post I tried to write last night. But I'd lost sight of the lost opportunity that made me dead-set against this war from the start - I knew that once we were in, there would be no way out except to finish it - and now finishing it remains to be seen.

I'm amazed that columnists are actually able to make a living writing commentary on stuff like this. Last night, it wasn't writer's block for me - it was the opposite. I couldn't focus. Couldn't write coherently. All the things I fear & dislike about what our country is doing now are so interrelated that I couldn't mention one concern without it leading to another, and another, and twenty more.

My sister & I always had certain chores when we were kids - our folks were pretty strict about that. Weeding the backyard & the rock garden out in front was one of them. There is this one kind of weed that was a particular pain to pull - it's called nutgrass. It's pretty innocuous-looking if there are just a couple - just a little bunch of skinny leaves like long grass. But it's what's underneath that little bunch of leaves that makes it such a pain. It develops this long, branching root system. Thin roots. Delicate. Here and there, though, there are these little swellings that look like small nuts - hence the name. The catch, in pulling this weed, is that if so much as ONE "nut" breaks loose from those long, delicate, branching roots and stays in the dirt - well, that nut instantly generates a complete replica of everything else that you just threw in your weed bucket. So you go at it very carefully, following the branchings, feeling for the nodules in the dirt, one leading to another and another and another.

And that's what trying to write down how I feel about the various policies & action taken by the Bush White House feels like - or even talk about it - only the network just doesn't seem to end...and the roots aren't fine and delicate, they're more on the strangler fig scale...

wow. meant to just write something short about how hard it is to write about something that serious, then maybe maybe move on to, oh, I don't know, maybe about walking through Chinatown after work yesterday (always fun to walk there but especially this time of year when people are getting ready for the Lunar New Year). Maybe at most a bit of a rant about how incredibly stupid it is that Baxter the Bunny is being censored because he dared to...oh, no, this post really needs to end somewhere.

Nutgrass. Mental nutgrass. See what I mean?

Bedtime now. Will come back & see if anything can be trimmed some other time. this got too damned long.

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