Chapter titles: the best outtakes

In this Week Three of the U.S. coronavirus crisis, books seem more popular than ever — though as its economic impact hits home, I do find myself wondering if anyone will be buying them in November, or burning them to keep warm.

Still, Ain’t Marching is in production now, and though its official publication date’s not till November, you can already pre-order it on Indiebound or Amazon. And things are happening really fast: have spent much of the month finalizing the text one last time, and thinking about next steps.


Among those final changes was one eliminating my chapter titles, in favor of simple time periods (e.g.,1754-1800). But I still miss the ones I came up with, a few of which I hope to use as headlines for an article or two.

To me, Chapter One will always be A Military Born of Dissent, and Chapter Two, about the “Indian Wars,” will always be a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “They must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them.” Next, for the period historians call “antebellum,” Chapter Three was San Patricios, Bleeding Kansas, and Violent Pacifists, while the Civil War chapter was Drafted Quakers and Soldier’s Heart. The 19th century closed out with the Philippine War and the birth of U.S. global imperialism, as Chapter Five: Unfinished Business and The First “Anti-Imperialists.”

I especially miss what I called my World War I chapter, Poets in Jail and Rebels in the Snow, and the following chapter through 1945, From “All Quiet” to “Never Again.” My Cold War title, The Iron Curtain and the Sheet of Steel, came partly from a Bayard Rustin quote about those years. The chapter ends with the Fort Hood Three, just before the Vietnam chapter, which I called Vietnam: When Everything Blew Up, and Everything Grew. I don’t miss what I called my 1980s and 1990s chapters, but I will always call the final chapter The Moral Injury of The Long War.

After all, I specialize as a writer in twisting a cliche till it hurts.

2008 was the REAL Year of the Woman

From my right-hand sis Elizabeth Willse, a New Year’s hail.

Among the menopausal mamas she hailed were some I’ve not yet noted here:

This week’s  Newsweek Magazine notes that Oprah Winfrey’s influence on the 2008 presidential campaign is still being debated: “She’s denied that Obama is giving her a job, but we know she already has his ear.”

The Audacity of Race: For many, the election of Barack Obama
“was more than a political victory, it was a personal victory.”  But,
as Mattie Francis observes, “We cannot pretend, as I heard some
morning-after political pundits say, that we are ‘a colorblind nation’
at this time in history.  This is a myth.”   Writing for the Point Reyes Light,
she uses her own interracial marriage and motherhood to examine the
questions of race and identity that will color politics, into the new
year and the new presidency.

If ever there is way for a white girl from the Midwest to comprehend not only intellectually but also
viscerally that race is a social construct with no biological basis, it is for her to give birth to a brown baby. Stephan Thernstrom, a professor of history at Harvard University, said that the United States is the only country in the world in which a white mother can give birth to a black child but a black mother cannot give birth to a white child.

Sniffling on the Stairmaster?
A midwinter cold got you coughing
and sneezing?  Although doctors and exercise physiologists are mostly
“stumped” and don’t yet have the final word on exercising with a cold,
Gina Kolata of the New York Times points to studies showing it may be
time to sweat it out.  Instead of languishing on the couch, read about these two studies,
and maybe cinch up your sneakers instead.  One study revealed that having
a cold had no effect on lung function or exercise capacity.  The other
found that, even though exercisers and non-exercisers had symptoms for
the same length of time, those who exercised ‘in some cases, actually
felt better.’

If you’re going to exercise, though, take it easy
until you feel better.  The consensus from the studies seems to be
that, in most cases, exercise will help ease a cold where there’s no
fever or chest congestion.  And you’ll be back to full strength, and
full workouts, in no time.

Modern Love, Modern Healing
It was “déjà vu all over the X-ray screen.”  When Sally Hoskins,
neurobiologist and science educator, was diagnosed with breast cancer
for a second time, she thought she knew what to expect.  She planned to
go it alone, no support group.  She knew the drill.  She thought she
didn’t want the “instant support group” of the other women “all
first-timers” wearing hospital gowns and awaiting their treatments.  Accepting another woman’s offer of a Xanax breaks the ice for a conversation, and, much needed support, Hoskins admits. “Yes, I was buoyed in part by my Xanax-filled water wings. But what
really kept me afloat was the one thing I had mistakenly believed I
could do without: the loving care that flows freely among female
strangers even in short-term groups like this one, established within
minutes and disbanded just as quickly, only to re-form with a whole new cast in the next waiting room, and the next.”

Debra Winger is digging in a little deeper
Debra Winger has taken time away from Hollywood to teach a course at
Harvard, have a baby, write a book, run a farm, and take a handful of
smaller film roles, well away from the public eye.  Now, she’s back, and being interviewed by Rachel Cooke about her small role in “Rachel Getting Married.”  Of the film, Cooke
says: “Rachel Getting Married has won Winger rave reviews – ‘devastating,’ ‘magnificent,’ ‘too long between films’ – for a part you could miss
completely should you succumb to a sudden urge for popcorn.”  Winger plans to keep a sense of perspective, and a strong activist voice as she returns to the screen:

You have to make a concerted effort to keep yourself alive, to be able
to feel pain, to stop yourself from getting distanced from things by
technology. Some 250,000 protestors walked up Broadway to protest the
war in Iraq, and the next day it wasn’t in the papers. But will that
stop me from marching next time? No, I will be counted.”

(Elizabeth W.)