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Off the Snide

The Necessary Pledge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Fayetteville, Arkansas

EDITORíS NOTE:  The author of this space last submitted a letter on May 1, 2008 — twenty-four weeks ago. Herein appears his confession and amends. Maybe. Yes but.

A half-year passes. Nothing. It becomes a thing slowing, a creeping thing, edging toward inertia.

But itís personal, this long silence. Everyone has their message to send, their letters to open, their tabletop to clutter with yet done tasks. I canít blame anyone.  I can't.

But I thought we had something going, you and me — a good thing, bestowing purpose. And I let it go, slip away to some mysterious place of silence.

But enough of the confession. Enough of it. Maybe.

By hook or crook....

One way or another....

Come hell or high water....

Lord williní and the creek donít rise....

Iím gonna get this one done, break the stranglehold that Mute has clamped on my letter to you. Iím gonna push it onto the platform of arcane xhtml code, tweak and polish as I go, hit the send button, watch it fly into the World Wide Web. Iím gonna get back on track.

But inertia gains anti-momentum, becomes burdened-down by friction, slides like sludge toward a place of eternal rest.

Trapped in the Land of the Non-Act.

Hereís how it happened. The long silence started when I made a promise, which became a commitment, the one I didnít keep with timeliness and diligence. When I didnít get it done, the act of not acting began to raise barricades to progress. By then I was trapped.

But letís be specific. I was preparing to write the third installment of my series about malignant violence at school, the outbursts of evil that move from place to place like a den of demons to bring tragedy on the young and the innocent.

But, already reeling, my household came under the deluge of a hundred-year psychic flood. I thought I was a strong man, tough as new nails, but against my Will I was brought to my bloody knees. Thatís all Iím gonna say about it.

(Other than it was a refining fire.)

And then I just quit. Hence the half-year of silence. What a wilderness it was.

ďArise, for this matter belongs to you,Ē Ezra the Scribe wrote. ďWe will be with you. Be of good courage, and do it.Ē

But letís be specific. Preparing for the third installment of the series on violence, I sought commentary from my pals, former students, trusted colleagues and associates. Three responded with articulate and thoughtful posts, which I stored safely as bits and bytes on the hard drive.

Months later, the posts remain in storage, unseen, not read, mired in my long stasis.

In the meantime, allowing the commentary of my sharers to gather so much heavy cyberdust, and respecting each of them for their courteous participation, and exercising bitter self-recrimination, I slipped into a private shame.

Inaction gained currency, stopped my Letter from Crowís Cottage dead in its tracks. I couldn't write any more until I wrote the one too long undone.  It was an odd and mysterious set of solitary mind games afloat in the sanctuary. I'm baffled by it even now.

But itís time to do something about it, this stopping dead in tracks. Itís time for the crow to fly.

My Bad: a Way to Say, I'm Sorry.

To my friend Tony Foster, my student Sara Boyer, and my once ago shopboy Joseph Witt, I apologize. The best I can do is follow-up with the third in the series and publish your commentary.

I thought I could go directly to it. But I need an intercession. This letter is my way of getting to the cure.

Good stuff is happening here in the sanctuary. I want to tell you about it. But to get there, I've got to follow the logical path. It sits on an x-y axis in the nearby heavenlies.

So, here goes:

At 1448 hours on 15 October 2008, I make a pledge.  To get off the snide, to move out from behind the eight-ball, I shall on Monday, five days hence, publish the third installment of our series about malignant violence at school, the outbursts of evil that move from place to place like a den of demons to bring tragedy on the young and the innocent....

Lord williní and the creek donít rise.

Repetition confirms and strengthens habit, and faith becomes natural.

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Every man's work, whether it be literature or music
or pictures
or architecture
or anything else,
is always a portrait
of himself, and the more he tries
to conceal himself
the more clearly
will his character appear in spite of him.

Samuel Butler
The Way of All Flesh, 1903



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