of body counts and word counts

The quietude here has been almost a good sign: I’m finally sucked in by the book.  I walk to the gym thinking about Donelson Caffery and Lewis Douglass, sleep followed by the ghost of Bierce. I then have to remember to work in the data I sort of started with, about desertion and dissent andContinue reading “of body counts and word counts”

what we write about when we write about war

My current bookshelf is weirdly focused. The collection might seem a bit scary, if you didn’t know I was writing a book. (“What kind of obsessed veteran lives here?”)  When you know, some of what’s here might then seem obvious: David Cortright’s Soldiers in Revolt, Kingston’s Veterans of Peace anthology, the trauma stuff ( JonathanContinue reading “what we write about when we write about war”

Quakers in uniform: oxymoron, or profound truth?

I spend so much time celebrating the courage of soldiers that some might wonder where the old peacenik had got to. (If some old classmate from Binghamton stumbled here, e.g., what they might remember most is my play Too Many Martyrs, a  melodrama about the U.S.-to-Canada draft resister underground railroad.) But as I construct myContinue reading “Quakers in uniform: oxymoron, or profound truth?”

diving into the wreck

A post of re-entry: the task of moving while doing the newsblog for Women’s Voices and finishing up my responsibilities at Chelsea Now was pretty punishing, and pushed me almost entirely away from the book. Now I sit on the back porch of my in-laws’ house in northeast Philadelphia, birds chatting away about the unexpectedContinue reading “diving into the wreck”

add another name to the heroes list

Major David Frakt was until this month one of those military lawyers I referenced cryptically last fall, who have been saving the Constitution every day at Guantanamo: quietly, bravely saying no to orders and procedures they found illegal. I first learned about these folks two years or so (!) ago, from crack attorney Bridget Wilson;Continue reading “add another name to the heroes list”

the obligatory Pride Day post

.. which I’ll finish tonight, after the day’s over. But i spent much of this week reporting and writing this mellow profile of  gay Chelsea, and I thought you might be amused by the results. And as everyone now knows, the whole day was dominated by thundershowers, and everyone — including me and Rachel, whoContinue reading “the obligatory Pride Day post”

my cousin, my doppelganger

Warning: this one’s personal, mostly. It’s as if time had collapsed. Thirty years ago, I was finishing up 10th grade at this strange school, where  my cousin and I were both on staff at its literary magazine, Argus. We also lived in the same two-family house in the Bronx, and I was the classic youngerContinue reading “my cousin, my doppelganger”

is that an organizer's hand I see behind the curtain?

I should have realized last month, when I noticed that stream of articles about private equity and affordable housing, that some serious organizing had taken place to get their attention. Though god knows any reporter would have noticed the trend if s/he looked,it appears probable that behind that curtain were two fearless and dedicated advocacyContinue reading “is that an organizer's hand I see behind the curtain?”

no hiroshima, no bhopal – instead a hunger strike

I read about this hunger strike by author Indra Sinha in this week’s Guardian – the first time, for a while, that I’ve thought about Bhopal. Like many Americans I first heard the name of the city in Madhyra Pradesh in 1984, when news hit the wires that a Union Carbide plant there was causingContinue reading “no hiroshima, no bhopal – instead a hunger strike”

shapeshifting that essential self – now on video!

I’ve mentioned my Bay Area buddy and sensei Ericka before: her terrific writing, her fusion of narrative style with solid and quite personal fact, her matter-of-fact exemplification of the Emma Goldman line about dancing the revolution. So I’m overdue in sending my few blogreaders her way at the Red Room, where she’s hoping to winContinue reading “shapeshifting that essential self – now on video!”