And so it’s April, and still raining. This has been the wettest Spring I’ve seen in California but we’re out of the drought for the first time in eight years, so we can start flushing our toilets again and ask for water with our meal in restaurants.
There’s very little to update you on but since I’m writing a book on Henry Miller, I feel the need to let you know that after a very busy last four months work wise, a certain quiet has set in and I can switch to Miller again. It’s still my goal to have a full manuscript by the end of May, and since I’m nearing 300 pp. so far, there will be plenty to cut and reorganize after that.
At first I thought I could sneak away to Paris in May and write my last Henry Miller chapter there, but Will is graduating in May (YAY) and Caroline is performing at Second City in May (another YAY), so travel to Europe is out. That said, when I was in Mendocino last week:
I couldn’t get over how much it reminded me of Big Sur, so I thought maybe I should just write the last chapter on the California coast where Miller found happiness after being forced to leave his beloved Paris, at the outbreak of WWII.
Meanwhile things in the world (Brexit, right-wing populism in Europe and the chaos Presidency in this country) are nothing to write home about, but it does worry me a great deal. The forces of evil are winning out and it almost seems as if in our history, there has to be a cycle of evil after times of prosperity and peace.
Yesterday evening Jon mocked me for watching the all but uplifting Frontline documentary on the trial of the Serb General Ratko Mladic in The Hague, but evil has a chillingly similar character everywhere. Fear of the Other, shaming, propaganda, misinformation and setting people up against each other is a cunning political strategy to silence the opposition, seize power, kill and destroy.
We often think of Hitler in this context but it was already employed by the Bolsheviks and Lenin at the time of the Russian Revolution. I just wrote an article about this after starting a portrait of the literary widow Etolia Basso (wife of novelist Hamilton Basso, on whom I wrote my first book). In a surprising twist of my research for the portrait, Etolia’s father blossomed into a formidable and courageous figure, who, when testifying before Congress in 1919, had an important story to tell that is still relevant for us today. Yes, even after a hundred years… Here you see a picture of him:
I’m seeking a publishing outlet for this piece, so if you have a suggestion, let me know.
On an entirely different note, I’m rereading Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics which was the final blow to what was left of Henry Miller’s career and reputation at the time. Once again I couldn’t help but see how everything is connected: I mean we have been seeing how Trump is enabled and kept in power by Republican sycophants (all white males), and with white supremacy on the rise (and white males feeling marginalized– oh, boohoo), men have, according to Millett and others, traditionally formed groups to consolidate the power of the patriarchy.
This country is pretty diverse but if you look at the Republican Party in DC, it has become, under Trump, a club of cliquey and brazen white males who hang together because of the fear of the Other. Aside from all the scandals and talk of impeachment, I just hope that come 2020, America has a good hard look in the mirror since there is only one choice that’s on the ballot: freedom or fascism.
History continues to serve up valuable lessons, so I hope the power and the glory will be with those who heed those lessons.
Everything is connected. Don’t close your eyes. Stay woke. #Resist.