Will be a full-fledged essay, but this morning on Twitter I wrote it as a poem.
you a Boomer or GenX?” the young veteran asked me, and refused to believe at first when I said “a late Boomer.”
I often say I’m a backwash Boomer, since I learned to read just as the 1960s were ending and the whole of America was backing up into our mouths.
I was less surprised than greedy when a librarian handed 11-year-old me a copy of a book called GOING TO JAIL.
What I remembered of that book, for years, was its list of tips for what to ask for in the commissary, and how to avoid prison rape.
But what I’d also absorbed, seemingly without surprise, was that you could be in jail for what you believed. But it would be decades before I learned that one of its authors
had been court-martialed for refusing to participate in the war against Vietnam. He was a young doctor training Vietnamese doctors about eye injuries, such as
those caused by the herbicides the U.S. was pouring into the country. But I knew Dr Howard Levy’s name long before I remembered
That he’d co-written the book that introduced me to the life of a political prisoner. All of which
is a long way of saying that this is a thank you letter to Howard Levy, the unwitting godfather of what has turned out to be my first published book.