Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Busy Bak Son

It's been a busy bunch of days.
The Book. Working title is simply "7." I decided to evade the whole circles/arenas/stages thing and also the very clever suggestion to keep using "Violence" in all the connected titles Maybe "Meditations?" The title will be an editorial decision anyway, and David is smarter about this stuff than I am. He's the professional. The book is in rewrite, I'm waiting for one SME critique. I'll post the table of contents in the next few days.

Orycon- Sat on lots of panels with some very amazing people, notably Pat MacEwen, a criminalist with a very cool collection of pictures. Also some friends, like Steve and Bart and Guy and Mike and a few acquaintances that would be nice to know better. Got to see some of my favorite people as well. You know who you are.
The thing that always amazes me about cons and fans and writers is how huge the rift can be between their fears and beliefs and mine. In one of the panels on writing about other cultures (which I was on, I think, because I routinely work with other cultures) the question was asked, "How do you know if you have offended someone?" The authors were thinking feedback from readers. I was thinking that when the General's bodyguards reach for their guns it's a big freakin' clue you've crossed some kind of line.
The other big insight was from a panel on peace. There are people working for peace who are afraid to look at violence. You can't get there without that step. They seem to want to get to a pretty place but only travel through pretty places to get there and not see the bodycount they help to create on the way or the value that violence has for those who use it.
Disturbing moments, but the con was a good time.

Hands-on: I had the chance to do two hands-on classes at the Con as well. About 20 participants and ten observers in each. Wide range of skills, aptitudes and mindsets. There is a saying that 'the excellent is the enemy of the good'. I tend to go the other way- everything connects so I try to cover too much. They got a lot of concepts, but without the time or equipment for them to practice with any depth. Some of the class was recorded and it's good for me to watch.

I listened to a speech yesterday, and a politician who I really respected (disagreed with on almost every issue, but respected) lost my support. He made the statement that since he had written letters to the families of war dead and seen some of the coffins delivered that he knew "first hand" the cost of this war. It was delusional and profoundly disrespectful. Profoundly disrespectful gets used as a whine a lot. That's not what I mean here- to know the names but not the smiles or touch of the people in the coffins; to compare watching and writing from safety to wondering if you will get a call tonight or if the incoming alarms are real this time is not only profoundly disrespectful for those who are in danger. It is also profoundly disrespectful to the very concept of truth. There is no parity of experience between those who watch and those who do. Only the most self-absorbed of the watchers can even pretend that there is. I had thought that this man was far, far above this. One of my budding heroes is hollow.

Interview tomorrow. Prepared pretty well. Have to wear a suit.

Thanks to everyone for the condolences on Beast. Death is strange- not quite real and yet the most real and certain thing there is. It doesn't feel like loss but does feel like sadness. I expect oblivion for myself but still have long conversations with 'my' dead- Dad, Rick, a nameless baby in Ecuador, Ryan, Frenchy, Samson, Miro...

This isn't one of the things where I feel a need to understand or control. We'll all know soon enough.


Master Plan said...

The peace and other-societies panels were indeed a bit strange in the way you mention, peace in particular. To be seemingly so dedicated to a thing which one seems to have spent little time actually examining....seems strange to me.

Good luck in the interview.

Steve Perry said...

Break a leg.

jks9199 said...

Peace... Many folks who work for peace are idealists. And, as idealists, they often seek a platonic ideal of peace... much like the people in Plato's cave. They don't want reality to intrude on their ideal.

Regarding President Obama's statement about "knowing the cost of war." I yelled something unprintable when he said that. I've never served in the military and never been in a war zone; police work is a different experience entirely. If you ain't seen that particular elephant and got the t-shirt -- you don't KNOW the cost. Of course, I have a suspicion he's one of those idealists above...

Good luck with your interview!

Anonymous said...

I think you are being a bit hard on the President, what exactly would you hav wanted him to say?

jks9199 said...

What could President Obama have said? "I've seen the cost of war to the families of our service members." "I've seen the cost of war..."

I don't KNOW the cost of war; I never served, especially in war time. Nor have I lived in a true war zone. (Sure, I lived through a notable portion of the Cold War. And the War on Terror is here now... but it's not nearly the same as facing rounds flying, IEDs, and empty beds that were occupied yesterday.) I do know the cost of working in LE, in holidays missed, memories not made, in family time lost... and in friends and colleagues killed or irreparably injured. I can extrapolate the cost of war from that experience; I can recognize those costs.

Ymar said...

When you get a chance to visit those who have fought in war personally, but then cancel the visit because you found out you wouldn't be allowed to bring camera crews and photographers, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what the con is.

And the only instances where you do experience second hand the consequences of war is when you finally find a family that is willing to let their coffins be televised, and you use this as the justification for your experience, it might not even take someone of average perception to figure it out.