My Novels

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Another PERFECT morning for biking, and I went on a longer ride than usual because it's supposed to rain tomorrow and Monday. Temps in the 50s, which makes cycling ideal...not too warm, not too cold. Often while riding, I think of dozens of topics I want to discuss here in my journal, but later don't follow up. This kind of mental exercise, while engaged in physical exercise, reminds me of my fiction-writing technique; some of my best ideas, solving problems in a story, came about while doing some kind of physical exertion.

Anyhow, I got an email from one of my online friends today -- a European astronomer who is working under contract at one of the USA observatories. He and I seem to only argue -- but not about astronomy. No, mostly about his views of America. He is very liberal, and has some serious criticisms of America, particularly now that he's living amongst us! Sometimes his comments are right, but other times I have to take him to task for something he has all wrong about Americans. At any rate, he was ranting about one of his Russian friends, a doctor, who can't get a Visa to visit him in this country. I'm not sure why, but he claims it's because our government is afraid she will not return to Russia, where she makes only $70.00 a month as a doctor. And yet, he still complains about America -- cost of living too high, too conservative, etc. I have many criticisms of my country too, particularly the lack of a public health plan for those who can't afford medical insurance, and much, much more on the social front. But I do believe we are a great country in many ways, and in time, will hopefully correct the social flaws. So I try to defend it as best I can.

Okay...for the ladies, here's a tip. If you want to be noticed less by men, just cut your hair very short. I have always had very long blond hair, sometimes almost to my waist, never above my shoulders. And I'm relatively attractive, normal weight, etc., so men would turn to get a second look at all that blond hair. Recently I cut it off very short, just an impulsive move. And I was amazed at how little attention I get now! Of course, I'm older too...but until I cut off my hair, I STILL got plenty of looks from men. So ladies, if you want to go unnoticed, just cut off those long tresses! ó¿ò

There's a good article at Salon, a book review of Eric Linenthal's "The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory." Here's an excerpt about how Americans deal with terrorist acts:

The heart of "The Unfinished Bombing" is a chapter called "Telling the Story: Three Narratives" in which Linenthal identifies three types of stories the survivors have told themselves while attempting to assimilate the event. The "progressive" narrative focuses on the sense of caring and kinship forged in the shared disaster. It shows a determination to build something positive from the tragedy. The "redemptive" narrative is the response of religious communities as they try to find meaning in an event that threatens to undermine the bedrock beliefs of their faith. The third narrative, the "toxic" narrative, finds neither progress nor redemption. "It is," Linenthal writes, "a story of an unfinished bombing, one that still reaches out to claim people through suicide, to shatter families through divorce, substance abuse, and the corrosive effects of profound and seemingly endless grief."

While I guess the redemptive and progressive paths help those people deal with tragedy, I would opt to accept reality. And that reality is that the human condition hasn't changed much since we started walking upright. Violence, killing, war...these negative traits will always be part of our existence. And sometimes it touches our lives, no matter how 'safe' the government tries to make us feel.

Soon I will write an entry about family terrorism -- how domestic violence in a home, and the life of a child unable to escape it, is much worse than such a terrorist act against any society.

I had an awful recurring dream last night: I was living back out in the rural area where we lived the first seven years of our marriage (purgatory!). I was walking through the house (which was new when we moved there) and wondering why I would have left my house in the city to live there again. {I HATED living in the rural area, the people gossip and are noisy...if you sneeze, someone knows it. While living in town is much better for privacy, people mind their own business.} Anyhow, in the dream I was suddenly visiting my grandmother and realized I'd been there two days, and no one was back at my house to feed my cat, Punkin. Now, Punkin died in 1989, and was 20 then, but I must obviously still miss her very much. The whole dream was disturbing, and when I woke, I was glad it was ONLY a dream. But I DO have this same kind of dream occasionally, about living in the rural area again, although we've lived here in the city now for over 20 years.

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