Conversations July 22, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

5:30 AM. Yesterday, as I was very aware, was Hemingway’s birthday. Who would have thought he would come to be so much to me? Finished Reynolds’ volume 1, and started re-reading [Jeffrey] Meyers, slowly, which is more interesting this time than the first time. Have not moved in Baker, waiting to get my questions [to Hemingway] in.

As I have talked to people about what I am doing, the question about certainty has presented itself, or rather, my old knowledge that certainty isn’t possible, only resonance. It’s still conceivable that I’m making all this up, regardless how convincing the contacts feel. And just as I could never prove it to anyone else, neither could I prove it to myself. I am left with Jesus’ test — by their fruits you will know them. So far the fruits are joy as I come to each day’s task, enthusiasm and joy, and insight. Or so it seems. But of course I am aware of the danger of leading myself and others astray.

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Conversations July 19, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

5:15 AM. Was going to skip this until later, saving my energy, but I guess we’re going ahead. So — what’s today’s theme?

Look to your on-going list.

All right, let’s talk about your relationship to your father. This isn’t quite on my list, but it’s in my mental list, and in fact is in my mind since reading in Reynolds last night. So — your father.

My father. From my perspective now, the subject looks a lot different.

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Conversations July 17, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nearly 5:30 AM. An idea [for another novel], finally — the one character begins as black-and-white and learns that everything is relative, every judgment can always be nuanced. I woke up to that idea, but don’t remember anything else, or any specifics. Perhaps influenced by having watched “Witness” with Larry [a visiting TMI friend] last night.

So here we are again. I re-read that material from yesterday to a friend who had found it hard going, and I saw that if you didn’t already know where it was going, it was hard to grasp, for it combined two themes — what it was trying to say in itself, and what it was trying to say about the process of saying it. Again evidence that I will need to apply my skills at writing and editing. I can’t just take dictation.

Papa, you will have seen “Witness” with me, I suppose — or anyway can see what I know about my having seen it. (Which is it?) I wonder if you share my feelings about what it says of our loss of community.

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Conversations June 20, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

4:45 AM. So, Papa, let me pose the question this way. I am more and more inclined to see your essence as a model — not the only model, but one model — of a complete man, intellectually, physically vigorous. Yet there is the negative evidence, your mental problems, for example. Your inability to get beyond certain fixed ideas — “my mother is a bitch; my father was a coward” — regardless of the facts. I can’t quite phrase my question because I can’t quite grasp it. I’m hoping you can take it and run with it. For all I know, you — or someone but probably you — are suggesting it, in the first place.

No, not Ernest, not at this moment.

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Mr. Lincoln

I have been dismayed to watch the progressive assault on Abraham Lincolns life, morals, policies, and legacy. More than dismayed, I have been angered, because I have felt a deep connection to this amazing man since I first read of him so many decades ago. The more I learn, the more admirable he seems. As Carl Sandburg said, as soft as velvet, as hard as steel. And we owe to him, as much as to any other single individual, the preservation not only of a political entity called the United States, but the principle that ordinary individuals are capable of governing themselves, which would have been seriously challenged, had the United States broken up in the 1860s. Add to that legacy the final solution to the problem of how to remove slavery from the national conscience and the national economy, and you have a lifes work that ought to be, and until relatively recently was, beyond the reach of slander and detraction.

But slander apparently is an irresistible impulse in people. Being of themselves reproached by the existence of so much excellence, perhaps they feel compelled to pull it down, to say that the excellence really didnt exist, that it was all public relations and hero worship. Perhaps it never occurs to them that hero worship proceeds from the perception that some people transcend themselves and their limitations to become heroes. If the tide is again turning, and people again are beginning to see how much we owe Mr. Lincoln, I will be glad.

Why Lincoln Still Matters

By Matthew Carey

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Two hundred years after his birth in a log cabin in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln continues to fascinate.

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