If we could only be…
Feb 2013 14

…as tough minded and tender hearted as this.

Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda (1904 —1973). Gabriel García Márquez once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language."

Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda (1904 —1973). Gabriel García Márquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.”

If You Forget Me
by Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Feb 2013 08

See no evil.
Hear no evil.
Speak no evil.
Then speak no evil again.

seeno

Why my idea was not only bad, but useless and also…
Feb 2013 06

…Abraham Lincoln. That’s the missing part of the and also…Abraham Lincoln.

There, you don’t even have to read this now; I answered the implied question in the headline. (Yeah, I’m sure the big picture of Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a clue.)

A while back I thought that I would blog about U.S. politics here and on Webshoo.com.

This idea was not only bad but useless and also depressing. I forgot not only how nasty presidential campaigns can be but also how trivial. Nothing new is ever going to be said when people are looking at each other like boxers in the ring waiting for the other one to give them the opening to pummel them.

Even the words we used to describe the debate (please see numerous references to “Romney was aggressive” and “Obama fought back” in the second round debate) were better suited to a blood sport.

Sorry for making y’all relive this. And yes, I’m frowning on it but also think it has always been this way (to varying degrees) and it will be forever thus. We complaint and complaint about it but we also (myself included, definitely) continually participate in this ritual as well. It gets tiring, however.

So this is why my idea to add to the noise and the general feeling of people are being shouted at from every angle wasn’t great…well, was just plain bad, in fact.

But here’s what I think you aught to consider:

  • There are not enough jobs, particularly for young people.
  • The jobs there are do not pay enough to perpetuate a large middle-class as before because of stagnating wages over the last 30 years and rise in the cost of necessities like housing, food, health care and education.
  • This problem exists in nearly every market democracy from the Americas to Europe.
  • Nobody — from a policy perspective — knows quite what to do about this.

 

Almost everything else compared to this — including the deficit that people in the U.S. are so concerned about — are ancillary matters. Really, the only halfway plausible solution is for everybody to become an entrepreneur. This has worked for some.

Instead of Huey Long’s promise of “every man a king” — a fairly good summing up of American democracy, by the way, particularly when applied to Homer Simpson — now it’s every person an IPO, CEO and independent contractor.

The problem is this is not going to work for everybody. We are debating how we will manage the crisis rather than how we will solve it.

That, of course, brings me to Abraham Lincoln. O.K., perhaps the logic was a little hard to follow. Bear with me.

First off, when Lincoln was younger, he apparently was a vampire hunter. Who knew? But I’m referring to the recently release multi-Oscar-nominated Steven-Spielberg-directed Tony Kushner-written Daniel Day-Lewis- starring Lincoln.

Django Unchained

While much has been made about Django Unchained and Lincoln’s approach to slavery, I think there is another point to be made.

Surely, I’m not the first person to notice that the abolition of slavery (a noble cause indeed) wasn’t quite the subject of Lincoln. It’s not much of a political statement to say that slavery was bad. It’s taken humanity a while but we all basically agree on this one. (Not that we have eliminated it by any means, there is still a slave trade but now it’s a criminal slave trade.)

Nor does Lincoln poignantly illustrate the horrors of slavery as he did for the holocaust in Schindler’s List, Django might be said to do a better job of that.

While Hannah Arendt famously used the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe the trail of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, Lincoln could fairly be described as a dramatization of the “banality of good.” That is the backstage doing, the political vanities, the bribery and shenanigans that gets legislation passed. Sure, the type of legislation gave the film its dramatic heft.

The film, however, could have very well been about President Obama’s efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (i.e., Obamacare) or the efforts to get federal funds to rebuild a bridge in Alaska.

Just because young men are dieing in a bloody civil war as old men debate doesn’t change much. It’s a film for our time but perhaps in not quite the way the filmmaker intended.

So this is the lesson, I think. The problems are real. The process is agonizing. But that’s all we got.

Further reading:

Aw shucks, it was nothin’
Jun 2012 28

 

There are many times that you feel like your writing in complete isolation, in a wilderness. So, it’s very nice to hear from somebody who enjoyed reading what you wrote.

Like this…

Well, thanks Christine.

By now, I can’t look at Bastards of Young with fresh eyes. But I’m glad other people can and that it made somebody laugh.

Self-promotion, believe it or not, is not my favorite thing. It’s hard to get people to click the right like  button or, heaven forbid, go to Amazon and write a review.

But if you’ve read and liked the novel; why not write a short review? And if you haven’t read it….well, what in the world are you waiting for?

(Unless, of course, you’re waiting for another format. We’re working on that.)

That’s all for now but check back because I will keep posting here.

Did I hear free again?
Apr 2012 17

You might have heard that the Pulitzer Prize board decided to give the fiction award to nobody this year.

So, you might be feeling blue. I mean, you were passed over again!

I am with you, brothers and sisters. So to pick you up off the floor of despair, I am offering a free short story in not one, not two but three formats.

Y’all like the book giveaway so much I’m sure you’ll like this too. (The download links are at the bottom of this post.)

The story comes out of my experience of living and working in the American south. It’s called Howard County Rapture and it’s about the rapture (if you don’t know what that is, click here) coming to a fictitious county  in Georgia.

The only problem is all the wrong people were raptured and many of the right people are left on Earth. The rapture, at least for Howard County, also seems a completely local phenomenon.

I’d be interested in your feedback, especially from Southerners. A New York Jewish friend read it and was completely befuddled by the theology.

You can either download the story as a PDF file, which you should be able to read on your laptop (or desktop, if anybody still has one of those), or a mobi file, which you can read on the Kindle, or an epub file, which you should be able to read on a Nook, Kobo, Sony reader and, most importantly, anything running the iBook application from Apple, which means iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

I think the formats should work but let me know if they don’t. Remember, you can contact me here.

Finally, a note on the photo above this post. Like most of the photos on this blog it is mine. It was taken in Effingham County, Ga. during a political fight over whether the county should vote to allow the purchase of liquor by the drink. The pro-drink folks went down on this one I’m afraid. If you read the story, you’ll  understand it’s relevance.

Thanks and hope you enjoy reading.

Here are the download links for all three formats —

 

Download Howard County Rapture by Stephen Sacco as PDF

 

Download Howard County Rapture by Stephen Sacco as a mobi/Kindle file

 

Download Howard County Rapture by Stephen Sacco as an epub/iPad file

 

 

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