writing in the raw: where IS melvin?

i don’t have much tonight. i thought i’d write about writing on the blogs. like how to structure these essays or diaries. how to make them work better. but suddenly, i don’t want to anymore. I want to jam about Jay Elias’s essay, Of Politics and People

Many of you may wonder why I have been so dogged with my “Quotes for Discussion” posts over the last year.  I usually offer them up without context or commentary, and they are tangential to the point of the sites where I post them at best.  Further, few people, including few of you, bother to read them or discuss them.  And even more, sometimes the quotes, and my purpose in posting them, is very hard to gather.  So, I’ll tell you why.

I post those quotes to remind us about people, and to try to get people to think about them, often in a different way than usual for politics.  Because it is easy to speak of political policy and strategy without thinking about these things, about the crucial role that people will have in them.

It is my belief that most political programs and ideas fail because they are not conceived or implemented with people in mind.

emphasis mine (and also a bit out of order of the original)

And I want to go on about Delivery in jessical’s Pony Party: Oh Superman, In a Box.

What strikes me about Jay’s piece is how simple its main premise is: politics is missing people. It isn’t that it’s new, it’s how he slams me with the relationship between the words and the ideas. And when he makes the words sing the ideas, he is illustrating levels below or above his own meaning. That shakes me up and then, as i am writing this right now, puts me back in the frame work of how to write in this medium.

We have brilliant pieces of work here… on complex and hard-to-breakdown subjects. People do lots of research and, hell, you could put together your thesis from the work of these writers. And for all the work and preparation and immersion and brilliance, sometimes they don’t seem to generate the same heat as meta or emotional pieces that are more or less thrown up and land here…

Reading Jay’s piece made me see again. Emotional housing of intellectual ideas is incredibly effective.

So why is this important? It speaks to the structure and density of what we see here. Literally. Long box quotes, words crammed in rectangular space and dense…

I’ve been thinking about playing around with ideas on intro, summarize the meat, all of it, and conclude by sweeping into the detail, for those who want more.  a play within a play… an essay within an essay. hit all kinds of readers… some only want topline, some will chew on it and come back, others won’t stop and will take it all in.

Work on the emotional casing… like Jay said… make what we’re writing about include the people we want to inform and build a foundation for action. It will take self-editing or maybe we can get a group together. No glad handing, but really do the job of editors and writers.

I’m hoping Cronie will stop by and let me know what she thinks. She’d be the one to shepard this. Cronie has an innate sense… she is emotional in a way that makes me want to cuddle up, have a cup of tea, and talk the day away looking at family pictures or reading aloud or laughing and eating cream puffs too…

The work here is becoming clear. It’s not just informing. It’s not just action. It is NOT about anger or blame. It’s some way to incite our beautiful and powerful minds to that “wait just a fucking minute” moment of healthy skepticism and willingness (and ability) to pull apart what is being said. Critical thinking. How to write to that… how to talk to the reader, and how to listen. Now it’s up to you guys… tell me what you think……………

Delivery. Huh. What the fuck. It twisted me a bit. It set me up. the industrial, dehumanized, dirty city. the lone house and that guy… what got me was the way he rubbed his head… that was so fucking normal and the old man gum no teeth how do you describe it…. like my grandfather at night before bed and we’d say poppy, take out your teeth… oh, put them back, take them out and we’d laugh at this wonderful magic and how silly he looked…

certainly, though, something mutant about him. not scary. and that scene, with the flowers and the sparing drop of water.

when it was over, i thought i’d be satisfied. but it kind of freaked me out, those big flowers

did you see? what did you think?

something that shattered me…

… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

something shattering me…

Cost of the War in Iraq
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one last thing. where THE hell is melvin?


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    • pfiore8 on October 12, 2007 at 04:07

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  1. I checked yahoo links to the site and there were well over 7000 found already.  That’s pretty quick work!

    Congrats everyone.


  2. The pot is on to boil for tea, but I’m not quite sure what you are asking of me tonight – you got some ‘splaining to do, Lucy.

    • Alma on October 12, 2007 at 04:22

    is very important.  Duke had a piece out about a week or so ago on the dream act where he commented that they saw the kids as a status.  I mentioned that I didn’t even think they saw them as that because that would represent a person to have a status.  I think they see them as collateral damage.

    So yes we need to add the heart and soul in.

  3. writing. The great thing about this site is that it does just what he’s talking about. It is people, it not just wonks and stats although those are entertaining they are the vapor trails of politics. This site really isn’t about isms it more about people and their place in the universe and our society and it’s wrapped up in art. We got it all here.

    • RiaD on October 12, 2007 at 04:27

    politics is missing people…it’s something i said in orange many times, never seemed to be noticed much…we Must reach the people…the common man…you know even the ones who don’t have computers!
    so many want to write off the poor, or those to whom being on-line is Not a priority…I think this is where a Lot of the dissatisfaction is…there’s a misconception that the 29% loyal bushites are poor- I most humbly disagree…that 29% is the super rich fuckers who ARE blackwater, lockheed-martin, oil corps, etc….the common man Does have a bit of common sense… if you show him Why choice B is better in a simple way, he’ll see it

  4. yesterday I went and toured a home for sale that has over fifty acres, a huge barn for an art studio, a patio with a roof for outside living and it comes with a tractor, tools etc.

    The house is small but will only be used as a cabin while the solar home gets built.

    I’m meeting the owner on Monday so I’m trying to compile a list of questions for him.  If you have any questions you wish you would have asked your home’s previous owner what would it be?

    • pfiore8 on October 12, 2007 at 04:37

    … I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

    it pulverized me… how can he write that? it made me remember coming back to life after my mother died. it just happened one day with hearing something funny and starting to laugh……..

  5. …that if I’d had any idea Delivery was going to get extra press, I would have put the Alix Olson next to it…

    • fatdave on October 12, 2007 at 06:09

    I liked that very much.

    Whilst enjoying it simply for the story it told, the toxic gloom outside the house was oddly welcoming. It possessed the shade of gloom I often crave. We live in a beautiful world, yet I have from time to time a palpable need for a halflight of sepia and coffeewash brown. where scytheblades of light criss-cross as if to smite the shadows, the kind of light that only the very first person to enter a facory after shutdown would see – weakening and tainting with their gaze.

    pf- there in the piece you quoted, for me is not a photograph – but a painting,some paintings actually

    Jay’s essyas I will need to come back to. That is exactly the way pain leaves. There is a gap between the departure of it and the return of feeling. Not numbness, a period of reassembly.

    • nocatz on October 12, 2007 at 06:09

    blues lyric that I posted a couple days ago that ended up being the dead -end of the diary and I think only fishoutof saw it.
    It’s about airport security. A friend of mine was put on the list for what we speculate was a ‘suspicious’ travel pattern. Wanna see?

    • pfiore8 on October 12, 2007 at 06:25

    melvin would appear… oh well

  6. …it is that putting people back into politics isn’t only about understanding what more we can do.  It is also, at least as much, about learning the limitations of what we can do.  Trying to change people will almost always fail.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had many problems in my life where any possible action I could take would be certain to make things worse.

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