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What happens inside a writer, in a world at war? Who to listen to, in a world at war?

 

The bombing continues, the cities are rubble, are emptied… whose plan… the children are at the center of the explosion, they burst apart, as if the heart of a child were the precise target. Fiercely some hold on to their own holocaust, but as I write a novel, “fiction” you’d say, the characters meet at such a deep level, in my “imagination,” my ancestral memory, my actual remembering, the terrain of the story that is coming up from rubble of lives that were acceptably blown up, tortured, humiliated, massacred, and I tell you, at the level of what exists most deeply within us, there is a common rage and a common agony, and the characters not bound by party and politic, are saying the same thing. The same damn thing. I can hear them. That is what we writers do. With all the enormous complications and specifics, the power dynamics, the long historical wrongs, of which I am aware, the characters see the children ripped apart, and are never the same. They float in and out of history in that blood that drains possibility. The utter lie that dresses horror, they see as a crime of the greatest magnitude. I’d listen to those characters before I’d listen to many pontificating about the why of slaughter. I meet with them as they meet with each other. Their words caress the insides of each others’ mouths, echo, echo, echo… as this human race imagines it is at war, rather than busy at slow and quicker mass suicide with a certain order as to who is slaughtered first, second, in what order, with what means, with what pitying attention or complete lack of compassion. The characters are talking about it, every moment. They are opening their eyes. That is perhaps why literature is still important. I don’t know for sure, but I am listening.

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