Writer’s Desk: Looking Inward

Having finally finished up the rough draft of my second novel, I feel free to take time off from that manuscript and focus on Cosmic Vinegar full time.

I’ve read some interesting articles of late, specifically this one about the NSA’s warrant-less wiretapping program, and this one about an NYPD precinct constantly fudging crime stats (and other assorted misdeeds). The portrait both articles portray is a simple one: of pressure from above, from the White House in one and the Manhattan mayoral office in the other, to get just fucking get results.

Laws and the overall purpose of justice are subverted in both cases; and insiders who try to shed some light on both sets of abuses are pursued relentlessly. The NYPD leaker is sent to a mental health institution for a few days and otherwise intimidated, while Bush launched a federal investigation into NSA whistleblowers (and Obama has continued it), eventually nailing a guy on exaggerated charges of holding and leaking classified information (page 9 of the article details exactly how exaggerated the charges are).

This, then, is transparency in America. From a 1.6-square-mile precinct in Brooklyn to one of the the biggest intelligence agencies in America: Zero tolerance for transparency. Honestly, it is beginning to sound a lot like the blind pledges of support one made in the USSR. There is very little critical thought about what our actions imply, about how it affects the institutions of this country. And what critical thought there is quickly finds itself derided as anti-patriotic or damaging to national security. As if there was anything less patriotic than making sure our country is functioning on the up-and-up.

On another topic;

This article ferociously lays into David Foster Wallace; inevitable, I suppose. Some criticisms seem well on the mark, others I disagree with. Two of Mr. Glazov’s points really strike me. One, the disingenuousness of calling work “resembling a book written by Joyce” avant-garde. (Point being that he wrote almost 100 years ago.) And two, the general separation of politics from what is perceived as the great literature of our day.

These points do help firm up current ideas I’ve had. Cosmic Vinegar must be what I want to make it, what I imagine deep in my heart. Why? Because the vehicle makes it possible. I will write this serial story and it will be only somewhat edited. I will put it out as fast as I can because the story is served by speed. I will write and edit and tighten a given section for a month, and then I will release it. And it cannot shrink from the politics of a situation; this will require thoughtful rewriting on my part, but I must illuminate the machinations of the moment. As ambiguous as that may be.

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