Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Night & Fog

I still remember the movie though it was a short one by modern standards -- only about a half hour long. It was called "Night and Fog" and it was a chilling tale of how the Third Reich 'disappeared' its political enemies.

In 1941 Hitler issued the "Nacht und Nebel Erlass" (Night and Fog decree) to insure that political enemies, Soviet prisoners and other unwanted folks just vanished without a trace.

To quote the Wikipedia entry on the outcome of the decree:

"First, distinct actions against the German government were made far more difficult, because the exact cause of interment or death, indeed whether or not the event had even occurred; was obscured. It kept the Nazis from being held accountable.

The decree and hidden events afforded the Nazis the ability to act cruelly and unjustly without public decry.

It allowed an across-the-board Silent Veto of International Treaties and Conventions: one cannot apply the limits and terms of humane treatment in war if one cannot locate the victim or discern his destiny."

You folks know where I'm going with this. Our beloved democracy is being razed to the ground by those who swear they are trying to keep us safe. In so doing, they have caused irreperable harm to our way of life and have 'disappeared' both the innocent and the guilty. Are all those who were subject to 'rendition' innocent? Probably not. But if they are guilty, then put them on trial in a legal court of law, not behind closed doors. That has always been America's hallmark, our system of justice. To hold someone in custody for over three years without charges being filed and, in the case of Padilla (an American citizen), without being able to see a lawyer for a good portion of that time, is what I'd expect of a dictatorship. Hitler did it, so did Stalin. Our Rule of Law has always been the standard. Now it's being swept aside for 'our protection.'

Warrantless wiretapping was just one of the by-products of this regime. They're not worried if the wiretapping is legal. The prisoners aren't likely to see the inside of a court room. They just disappear into the night and fog.

It is time to clean house and put elected representatives in our government who understand what it means to be an American. Personally, I don't care if they're Republican, Democrat or whatever. It is time for "We the People" to take back our freedoms and keep ourselves safe from the fanatics both within and without.

If we don't save our democracy, the bad guys will win. And we allowed it to happen.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Back from the Land of the Verbs

I note I've not posted in a very long time. My apologies. I plead writer insanity. The book mentioned in the previous post has zinged its way to the publisher and now I'm regrouping and trying to deal with writer withdrawal. I see heads nodding out there. You guys know what I mean, at least those of you who do this writing thing with some frequently. You new guys will learn quick enough. Writing is a virus. It gets in your blood and replicates. It must be fed.

Right after you hit "Send" or drop the tome into the mailbox, that euphoric flush of victory flows through you. A few doubts linger; maybe you should have removed that cigar-smoking clown in scene four and made him a lawyer instead. You get the picture. The euphoria lasts a couple of days in my case and then cold, hard withdrawal sets in. What to work on next? Mind you, I've just spent 8 months on this book, creating the work in 2/3's of the time I usually spend. I'm emotionally, physically and mentally tired. And I'm already spinning plots for Book 2.

I've forced myself to stay away from 'the work' this last week. It's been penance. I mucked out my office (lots of garbage bags full of stuff), organized my reference materials for the Victorian books and even brought my business finances up to date to file the taxes. And yet, my mind is still screaming like a toddler who spies a big jar of M&M's just out of arm's reach. "Wanna write!" it shouts, kicking its legs and pounding its fists onto the carpet.


I took refuge in Terry Prachett and his Diskworld Series. The books are always sharp, satirical and outright funny. Mr. P. is one of the rare authors I don't feel the need to mentally edit. I'm too engrossed in the story to bitch about how the book opened or why he chose to make a point-of-view shift at that moment in the story. Other authors drive me nuts. Mr. Pratchett entertains me. He keeps me sane and that's saying a great deal. May his life be long, fruitful and full of endless creative wit. Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to thank him in person.

Next week I will begin work on the rewrite of my first fantasy book and start the "noodling process" on the second book in the Victorian Time Travel/Shapeshifter series. The characters are muttering amongst themselves and I suppose I should sit in on a couple of their strategy sessions before they get too far ahead of me and create a nightmare of a plot.

I've had my rest. It's time to get back to work. I can only stand the screaming toddler for so long.