I didn't write much so far today. Now it's almost 10 PM and I have to push hard to get some done.
What caused my writing collapse? Well, the first distraction was a Margaret Attwood short story, "Underbrush Man", on The Guardian. Naturally I had to look at other articles.
Next, I wandered in Redroom books offered. Dennis Loo has written an intriguing book about the neoliberalism's failure. Since I agree with that premise, I want to read the book, "Globalization and the Demolition of Society", so I can add some meat to my barren thinking.
Following Loo, I saw "Stories In Stone New York: A Field Guide to New York City Cemetaries And Their Residents", Douglas Keister. Cemetaries and their residents attract me. I walk past two every day (our little town has three). In there are buried the villians, heroes, founders and common people from our past. Some born and death dates are tragically close, a few months to a few years apart. More dates mark our civilization's in diseases, epidemics, and wars. I wonder, who are they and what was their world like? What was their story? What would they think of our world? How many are still remembered and mourned? Decoration Day, called Memorial Day in some of the nation's regions, clues me in about who remembers, but I never see people at the cemetaries. It's as if the decorations of flags, flowers, and balloons are delivered by decorations fairies at night.
(Maybe there's a story there: we (humans) don't remember anything. Memory fairies arrive at night and give us our memories. Probably too much like "Dark City", except they were conducting experiments. Mine are not.)
"Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America", Jay Feldman, drew me in. Our country's discrimnation and hysteria based on fear grieves me and infuriates me. We don't seem to learn from it. I've long read Jay's work, mostly in Sports Illustrated, but one of my favorites is an article he wrote about my childhood baseball hero, Roberto Clemente.
My Dad was from Pittsburgh. When he was sent to Turkey or somewhere on military assignment in the late fifties, Mom moved us to Pittsburgh. I was just discovering baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates, of course, became my team. I was there, listening on a transistor radio, helping my Dad (home on leave) at my grandparents' house, when the Pirates won the 1960 world series, beating the NY Yankees.
Baseball players weren't the wealthy people of today, so many were neighbors, easily accessible. Dick Groat, first base, and his family, lived a few houses away on McNary Boulevard in Wilkinsburg. His daughter was my first girlfriend, and I first viewed a television broadcast in color at his house. It was a baseball game from Forbes Field, of course.
Other neighbors included Bill Mazeroski, Gene Alley, Elroy Face and Willie Stargell. Later there was Richie Hebner, big Bill Robertson, Alou, Dock Ellis, and Sanguillon. My hero, though, conquered right field: Roberto Clemente. He had speed, range, amazing athletic abilities, a rocket arm, and was a hitter, too. I wanted to play right but ended up in left. I used a Roberto Clemente bat.
In 1971, the Pirates beat the Orioles for another championship. I watched that one on my family's color television. Clemente's death, December 31st, 1972, in an aircraft accident while helping earthquake victims in Managua, Nicaragua, shook me and my friends. I still see the headline from The Pittsburgh Press. Soldiers, like those in Vietnam, were supposed to fight and could be killed. Baseball players weren't supposed to die.
So I like Jay's writing, and I'll add his book to my pile, along with the others. So many books, so much to read, so little time. Now I need to go write. Time is hurrying away, and I need to get up for work in less than 8 hours.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com