Comments: “As a former banker (almost 20 years at JPMorgan, left in 2001 before the Ahabs truly lost their minds), I can tell you that you have nailed it.” “Fantastic piece. Even better than usual, and that’s a big statement! But then, so is Moby-Dick!” “Brilliant!” “Your Moby-Dick piece is inspired! Congratulations for a message crystal clear because it is cast in language of the metaphorical power that the geniuses of literature can give us. Moby-Dick was a favorite of my father’s and I would have loved for him to be able to read this. On the other hand, I’m rather glad that he has been spared the Ahab of Wall Street mismanagement.” “Brilliant! I think I speak for English majors everywhere.” “Brilliant, absolutely brilliant—and sad, very sad.” “Excellent piece. And now I want to pull out my old copy of Moby-Dick.”
Comment, in full, from a particularly thoughtful reader:
“Brilliant. But should we expect our Starbuck to emerge from Wall Street? If we, the 99%, are all innocents aboard the Pequod, with Wall Street greed and hubris and unchecked ego represented metaphorically by Ahab’s delusions of grandeur, then might Starbuck come from anywhere in our system?
It is clear that Wall Street, like Ahab, cannot be reasoned with or brought into balance by invoking something so quaint as conscience. They are greedy and power mad. Hoping for Ahab himself to awaken and put a stop to the madness is highly unlikely. Rather, he/they must be forcibly controlled. But who now has the positioning of Starbuck in the hierarchy, combined with the vision and virtue to not just take a stand, but lead a rebellion?
Ah, that Obama had chosen to be that Starbuck, which he intimated throughout 2008, then willfully backed away from as president. Obama, his appointed economic first mate Timothy Geithner, and sergeant-at-arms Eric Holder, have only enabled Ahab’s continuing destructiveness. Obama might have channeled the collective angst into meaningful reform and at least a modicum of justice—Ahab’s stiff reprimand and perhaps a little cage-time—but instead he allowed Wall Street to sail on—with a parting gift even (of billions of dollars)—in crazy pursuit of something it doesn’t even comprehend.
Alas, I see no one individual or small contingent. So if there is no Starbuck, then we crew-members have no choice. We must take matters into our own hands. And so the metaphor continues—a collective of more virtuous power emerges—We the People—forcibly wresting control of the bridge and bringing the ship of state back into harmony with our own constructs and ideals (Pequod and home) and with nature (the sea and the whale, who in reality is only defending himself).
Alas (again), we are not fully united. We will be opposed not only by the powerful Ahab but by a sizeable number of our own crew-members as well, the conservatives.
None of this is particularly unusual for American history. I’ll be looking for a figure or two to emerge and seize this ‘fatal’ opportunity, this ‘crack of doom,’ to lead us forward, perhaps into a brand new paradigm of national virtue.”
Op-ed: “”Why Strauss-Kahn case should give us hope,” The Christian Science Monitor, 5/23/11. Original title: “The mogul and the maid: A shift in power.”
Comments: “Yours is the best piece written to date on the Strauss-Kahn scandal. Really excellent. I circulated it to thinking friends in the U.S. and U.K.” “Right on target. A case of power, not sex.” “Yours are the critical points of the case so far. Couldn’t agree more.” “Like always, you hit the nail on the head. I’ve been almost thrilled while watching this story emerge. I was shocked at how seriously all sides (hotel, NYPD esp.) took the allegations from the start. While I wish this didn’t have to happen to anyone, it seems this woman has the support and character necessary to survive it.” “Maid’s got guts, as does the hotel management.” “Nicely done. As much as I totally believe the maid, I still find it hard to believe that DSK would do such a thing. Yes, he’s famous for womanizing, but that’s not rape. The trial will be brutal for the maid. DSK will have the best defense money can buy, and what will this poor women from Guinea have?” “Good article. It is also significant that the hotel where DSK was staying, Sofitel, is French-owned—and yet they came down on the side of their employee…..Having lived three times in France, I can tell you that the French suspicion of an ‘Anglo-Saxon plot’ is always lurking just below the surface.” “I liked your article, which speaks to morality. All cultures seem to be searching for what’s right, including established religions. Your writing is packed with intellect and inspiration. Writers and people like you form the majority-thought in the world and make it a better place. Keep writing.” “The world still has a very long way to go in accepting that women are not property.” “I love reading your wonderful prose.”
From an attorney: “Good commentary. Maybe there is more hope for victims to be taken seriously. This [matter] could have been swept under the rug.”
Op-ed: “Violent anti-government rhetoric has a target: politicians,” The Olympian, newspaper serving Olympia, state capital of Washington state, 2/2/11. Published under title “Going forth from Tucson shootings, choose words more carefully.”
Comments—pro: “Right on!!!” “We have had one massacre after another for the last ten years, starting with the Malvo case in D.C., then Colombine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, then Tucson, and yet we want more guns. Guns to be worn openly w/o permit, guns to be worn hidden with permit, guns in parks, maybe in schools—totally depressing. And all for self-protection!” “Preach the gospel, Carla! One can’t get far from the greater forces you imply and reference: a wider culture that incubates the maniac need for notoriety, worships weaponry, and through a powerful lobby makes guns so widely available.” “I continue to like the way you think! That said, I am fed up with this country. If I were younger, I would head north to Canada.” “We must have a peaceful, safe environment to have true debate. If people are too intimidated to state their opinions on issues, then we’ve lost part of our American soul. Thanks for your pluck.” “I fear our negativism will produce more casualties. We need courageous people like you to bring the truth to our consciousness.” “As always, your pieces intrigue and enlighten. One of the points about staunch conservatives Americans miss is that they share similar opinions in many parts of the world: namely, that war, warfare, weapons and weaponry are a good thing.” “Your article is a huge positive, which advises folks to cool it, be more civil. However, I have one exception: gun control and 2nd Amendment rights. Saying this, I am a staunch protector of civil liberties. This is why I’ve given money to the ACLU for the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights and to the NRA for the 2nd Amendment. All these are needed to make the package whole. Love reading your stuff, keep exercising your 1st Amendment rights. I support you all the way!” “Carla, I really wish I had half your brains!” “This article, and your many others, elicit one word: ‘brilliant.’ Someone once said that the highest form of appreciation is ‘I wish I had done that.’ There, I’ve said it.”
….and con: “What passes for a ‘fair’ view of who caused the Tucson assassin to kill people, is a column by a liberal accusing ‘conservatives’ of the crime and then adding, at the very end, ‘the left must modulate its rhetoric too’….What about all the hateful words used to describe Pres. George W. Bush, by the left? A far better case can be made that the left is far more influential in our society at stirring up hatred of all things good, right, traditional, & valuable in our society, than are conservatives. You should think rationally about what you write prior to having it published. That can’t be too much to ask, can it?”
Op-ed: “Hope for reversing America’s decline: the Millennial Generation,” The Christian Science Monitor, 9/24/10.
Comments: (From one of the Millennials featured) “What a well-written, thoughtful piece. It’s so cool to see someone you know published—and even cooler to see that you show up in it! I’m humbled.” (From another of the Millennials featured) “Your article was lovely, and I am very honored to have been mentioned. I agree with you entirely—that it is a shift from material to ethical-moral values that will be crucial in the years ahead. And the good news is that I think a lot of my friends are like-minded.”
General: “Terrific piece!” “How good to read something positive! I see some of the things you mentioned in our 19-year-old grandson.” “I think you are right—this generation is fine. My son, who had every privilege, including an Ivy League education and law degree, chose to join the U.S. Army JAG. This choice came after a year of work with a prestigious NY city firm. The handsome compensation was not what he wanted. He wanted to work for the soldiers. We are so proud our son is among their number.” “I’m not convinced this is particularly generational. When I get really depressed about the world-gone-wrong, I look through my rolodex of friends and remind myself that there are really good people of all ages acting according to high principles and making a difference. Can we tip the scales?” “Though some of today’s youth are advanced profligates, it is serious comfort that others echo what the young lady in your op-ed said: ‘I want to be part of something bigger than me-me-me.’ The worthy ones among the young are truly amazing; they shall ennoble all with their good deeds.” “You are exactly right about the Boomers. Where the H-ll has all that passion gone? Are wealth and toys so important, that we just gave up on principles? I have friends whose only mission is to pay less taxes and accumulate things, and while they mainly opposed the Vietnam war, now many of them work for defense contractors, and they like war and don’t know how to break away to a peace-time industry. You inspire young people with salutes such as these.” “When I was a student my friends and I were passionate about civil rights and in our opposition to the Vietnam war. I don’t remember any of us giving up, we just got tired.” “Your commentary is very much needed in the conversation about our future.”
Op-ed: “‘The Hurt Locker’: Hollywood’s unsettling view of the Iraq war,” The Christian Science Monitor, 3/29/10.
Comments: (From a Monitor columnist) “I wanted to tell you how brave and brilliant your piece on Hurt Locker was. It’s the best piece I have seen on Iraq in an age.” (From an Iraq vet) “I don’t think I could sit through any movie about the Iraq war. It would be too disconcerting. Having worked with the EOD teams there I never saw one that wanted to keep doing it. They did it because somebody had to.” (From a Vietnam vet) “I suppose the filmmakers will claim their film simply provides a snapshot of combat and the soldiers of fortune who get highs from participating in it. I can relate to that, having been for two years in the Vietnam War. Hating it but somehow unable to wean myself from the excitement, the danger, the faux heroism of having to destroy villages to ‘save them’—all signs of madness. Meanwhile the film gives Neo-cons a revisionist heyday—skipping over nonexistent WMDs, Saddam’s lack of connection with terrorists, etc.—all conveniently forgotten so they can crow about bringing democracy to Iraq.”
General: “YES! Finally someone has the guts to tell the truth about this film. I wish your article were required reading. Already we’ve forgotten how we got ourselves into this mire (the lies, the longing, the oil). Thanks for being one bright candle in the darkness. I mean every word, Carla. Thank you.” “Loved your article on Hurt Locker. I was outraged it won Best Picture and for all the reasons you point out. I thought the movie was about as empty as a film could get. I didn’t care a hoot about anybody, except the poor Iraqi man who was wearing a bomb that couldn’t be undone.” “Wow, now I know why that film upset me and left me feeling empty.” “Right on! I thought I was the only one that thought the movie sucked (that’s how my students speak). I know the female director bit was long overdue, but this movie was all about individual narcissism, whose message left me empty and unsettled. It was no anti-war film like Paths of Glory or war is a necessary hell like Saving Private Ryan. Thanks for courageously going against the political correctness of Hollywood.” “So well-written, and with the historical Greek play background that added depth. Dear God, I hope we can find ‘the upper air” and balance out this country. We didn’t see The Hurt Locker but we did see Avatar and were blown away by its artistry and anti-war comment. This movie had the ill-fated Iraq War written all over it: a re-enactment of an invasion of a people that we consider to be misguided. But surprise, surprise, in this movie the indigenous people won and, in the end, escorted their white invaders out of their land under armed supervision. To me, something felt good about that.” “I wonder if the point behind the film is that many people (as represented by the anti-heroic Will) are fascinated by war, perhaps a majority of people are; and as long as that fascination remains, there will be war; we will have no collective peace.” “You are right, war is hell. The only glory is when the war is over and the ultimate glory is when a nation avoids one in the first place!” “And the basso profundo sang, “Brava, Carlaaa!”
Blogpost: “Wall Street Paints a Target on Main Street’s Back,” The Huffington Post, 3/17/10.
Op-ed: “Resetting our moral compass with a torture commission,” The Seattle Times, 8/9/09. Centerpiece essay of Sunday opinion section. Published title: “To reset moral compass on torture, we need both justice and answers”.
Comments—pro: “This is tremendous!” “Well stated. You have identified the real issue—losing our moral compass. It has happened before (Japanese internment) and will happen again unless our compass is reset.” “You have found an astute way of addressing the torture issue—moral reset. Ultimately, I think that transcends punishment and personal accountability. I say that with some hesitancy because I too would like to see some accountability for conduct. I remember when accountability was a key tenet of conservative thinking, but somehow that got lost in favor of exercising available power. Moral reset gets to the core of what needs fixing and recognizes the political limitations of punishment efforts.” “I agree that Obama can’t simply ignore the past and have felt that a Commission makes more sense than a couple of prosecutions that might well fail.” “I agree completely. One of the few areas in which I have been disappointed in Obama is his failure to understand the importance, indeed the necessity, of studying what the U.S. did re torture.” “You are dead right on this issue. Once you climb in the taxi to the ‘Dark Side’ there is no telling where it will take you. However, I do hope Obama takes care of this healthcare thing before this torture thing finally blows up. Once it gets seriously investigated—secret prisons, mercenaries hired to do the torturing, deaths due to torture—this thing could get really ugly and healthcare could be lost.” “You hit the nail on the head. What surprised me most was your quote that churchgoers, believers supposedly in a loving Christ, support torture. Did any of them ever hear of the Sermon on the Mount? This is, too, why we hear arguments that empathy—the essen ce of being human—is not appropriate for Supreme Court justices. Really, it’s lack of empathy that allows regular people to torture other human beings. We truly sank into a horrid moral abyss. So sad for this wonderful country.” “Excellent! Truly startling fact re % of ‘religious’ v. non-religious who approve of torture!” “You are so right on all points. We do need the discipline and perspective a commission would bring. And, we should prosecute those who actions rise to the level of crimes against humanity. We should not tolerate ethical relativism; that leads to getting away with anything if in a position of power.” “Especially appreciated the time spent on terminology, which is the way we use obfuscation to cover our tracks into hellish areas. ‘Enhanced interrogation’ is a phrase that allows us to rewrite some rules, disregard others, and show utter contempt for all (laws and people). It IS time to demand we play by the rules that we—of all people—ascribe as essential to living in a wort hy world.” “Always a blessing to hear an articulate voice of reason amidst the shouters.” “Remarkable piece. I’ll use it in my classes.” “Outstanding! You have sent this to the Attorney General and Barack Obama, yes?”
…and con: “I have concluded there is a strong moral basis which compels the use of torture. Assume I have the terrorist who hid the bomb but refuses to tell me where it will explode. If I knew the bomb would kill 100,000 innocent people, wouldn’t it be moral for me to torture the terrorist into revealing the location of the bomb so those lives could be saved? How can I have the preventable death of 100,000 innocent people on my soul and still say I’m a moral person? Aren’t we forced to take even despicable action when we have the ability to prevent the deaths of huge numbers of innocents ?” “I have been around government for years and very few commissions have produced anything that has been used for productive purposes or result in any form of change. Perhaps it is just the public discussion of these issues that would be beneficial.”
Essay: “Going after Godot about Hope and Torture,” re: Why would a major New York production of the great Modernist play about hope forever deferred, Waiting for Godot, open after the historic Inauguration of the Hope Candidate, Barack Obama? Included in my book, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character
Op-ed: “Goodbye, Tony Soprano. Welcome back, Atticus Finch,” debut weekly print edition of The Christian Science Monitor, 4/12/09.
Comments—pro: “Beautiful!” “As a young attorney struggling in solo practice, Atticus Finch is a personal hero of my imagination. You’re right that our popular culture tends to celebrate amoral anti-heroes these days and rarely, if ever, produces moral heroes. We need a return of this type of hero.” “You have a wonderful ear for the subsurface currents in our society.” “I hope producers, directors, and media people will convey to the masses all the virtues you point out in your fine op-ed.” “One of my favorite words and qualities is ‘equanimity.’ I truly valued your use of the word. And yes, President Obama epitomizes this quality.” “One reason why our society stopped admiring real heroes had to do with mass comfort. Also, the assassination of three of our heroes—JFK, MLK, RFK—all in a short time, had a great impact. Your article is a nice ‘push’ back in this direction which, as you say, is so badly needed.” “We have needed the ‘moral hero’ for decades now. I especially like your explication of ‘edge.’ It is time to push back and Obama gives so much energy to that effort. So many difficult issues compel inquiry and are not conducive to easy moral resolution. When we have to be reminded of the moral implications of torture and of personal responsibility, you know we have strayed.” “I’ve pondered a lot about how the hero has turned either villain, anti-hero or conflicted at best, or more likely how the hero has to weigh that evil ends justify the means (to reach a happy ending) and does not even blink about it. Sometimes I wonder if ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ came out now how much of a failure it’d be at the box office, or if it’d even be made at all.” “Now that the news is largely about political compromises, unpaid taxes, and slowed policy changes, it’s good to be reminded of the larger significance of this remarkable president. A very welcome op-ed.” “Inspiring to recognize the true possibility of Obama for our moral culture. I hope he sees your piece.”
…and con: “Making associations between edgy, transgressive art and moral depravity (or older movies and real heroes) is simplistic. Why not wish that bad guys always wear black, good guys white? A list of movies for and against your associations could easily be made. So what? Show me specifically how one type of movie leads to this or that. Both the transgressive and the life-affirming are idealizations….Finally, it is hard to believe that you equate art with making us ‘happier or wiser.’ There is no necessary connection between art and the good. Although I do like how you characterize both Tony and Atticus, and I would agree that many of today’s movies emphasize the hero as loser, what’s needed are real people who have ‘qualities of intellect, equanimity, civic responsibility, and—vitally—moral conscience,’ not movies.”
Essay: “Going Out Going In with Barbara Lee Smith,” catalogue essay for exhibition, Going Out Going In: The Language of Landscape, new works in collage by Barbara Lee Smith, at Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, March-April 2009.
Essay: “Hope and virtue,” re: President Obama’s closing reference in his inauguration speech to George Washington. Included in my book, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character.
Op-ed: “Obama and American anti-elitism,” The Christian Science Monitor, 10/1/08. Also posted on the ABC News website.
Comments—pro: “Terrific, insightful. Thanks for taking on the elitist label.” “A powerful and necessary piece.” “Excellent. But you forgot de Tocqueville also predicted that mediocrity would eventually rule this country, also tyranny of the majority.” “I see that disregard for learning you speak of in my classroom every day. I hope the present financial crisis will force us to improve.” “The Rome-Athens metaphor is scary, sort of Revelations-esque. What better way to say ‘vote Obama’?” “There are a lot of Sarah Palins out there who have never travelled, who have no other framework than their own communities, and—most of all—show no interest in anything besides their comfort zone or the world ‘out there.’ Oops, am I being ‘elitist’?” “The Obamas only finished paying off their student loans a couple of years ago. Elite, my foot!” “About the origins of our anti-elitism: The Quakers (my ancestors) as early as the 1600’s got into serious trouble in England because they tipped their hats to no one and used the familiar ‘thee’ to their ‘betters,’ even the king.” “Unfortunately, McCain is going to win—such is my respect for American racism and my horror at the Republican machine to manipulate the populist-patriotism card. Emotion outguns intelligence. Hard to fathom.” “There is a distinction between the intelligent, rational position and the elitist position, the latter used today to imply a disdainful superiority of the privileged class towards a scrappy and much-romanticized underclass. We need to declare our positions rationally, without apology. And let’s let the religious right become the new elitists of ‘moral superiority’ and not flinch in calling them out in their errors.” “Jon Stewart is right: Of COURSE we want our president to be ‘elite.’ The only thing more terrifying than Sarah Palin, a ‘leader’ who can’t construct a coherent sentence, are the millions who don’t realize why Sarah Palin is terrifying. God bless our elitists!”
…and con: “Senator Obama is an elitist. While talking to a group of fellow elitists at a fund raiser in San Francisco, our egalitarian Oblahblah says that during hard times the rural folk in Pennsylvania ‘cling’ to their religion and guns. Was he praising the people of rural Pennsylvania or letting his fellow elitists know how superior they all were to the unwashed masses? We all know the answer. The Harvard-educated elitist was looking down on those who were not as enlightened as he and his intellectual equals. Stick to being a playwrite [sic]. Better yet, write fiction, because your piece read like fiction.”
Comments—pro: “You did a super job of getting our focus back on Iraq. Until this immoral war has ended, we are doomed to a moral and financial bankruptcy.” “Your column was the best thing I’ve read in months! Obama should follow your advice.” “Superb. Your pushing the war argument is so important as Obama tries to exercise leadership in this direction.” “Thanks for including the economic argument. This is the most important thing and people are not understanding it.” “I agree, the Iraq war affects almost everything in our society and, consequently, it—rather than whether someone wears an flag pin on his lapel or knew someone 20 years ago—should be the overriding issue in this campaign.” “I envy your elegant style and cogent, forceful reasoning. In my view, Iraq disappeared from the campaign trail largely because…deep down, a majority of the voters know that at one point they supported the war (71% did during the run-up to the invasion) and raking it up reminds them of their own misjudgment.” “Much admire your logic and passionate framing.” “Outstanding. I’m sending it to Obama delegates statewide.” “Excellent. I will share it with all 170 of my students.” “Well stated. We carried the article to our camping trip last weekend and shared it with many others.”
…and con: “To be honest with you, I could not even read to the end of your column. I think that one of the reasons so many Hillary supporters will never vote for Obama is because of his supporters’ holier than thou, self-appointed purity. I am tired of the bitch t-shirts, the nutcrackers with her face on it….He could easily have stopped it all. I am also tired of this approach to Obama as Christ. His campaign is as dirty and ruthless and deceptive as you think Hillary’s is….If Obama is the nominee, McCain is the president and that we both equally fear.” “I am astounded by the tone of your attack on Hillary Clinton. It is too bad that the paper printed it. Hopefully they will publish a response.”
Op-ed: “A call for responsible change,” The Seattle Times, 2/27/08. Published title: “We’re all for change, as long as we don’t end up hitting an iceberg”.
Comments: “Responsible change: bravo! Especially now that I am a candidate, I am seeing more clearly how a large segment of the electorate grasp at the mantra of ‘change,’ simply for the sake of change and without clearly defining what it means. Assuming he will be the Dem nominee, it will be interesting to see how Obama fine tunes (read: ‘changes’) his rhetoric for the general election.” “You hit the nail on the head regarding change. Although I am still in Hillary’s corner, I am grateful as Democrats we have two such excellent candidates.” “Well written, as always. But I don’t support him. I think Obama is an empty suit and aside from kumbayah, change, kumbayah, change, I didn’t vote for the war, change, hope, and kumbayah, he has nothing to say and nothing whatsoever that appeals to me.” “Yes, yes, yes, and yes! You speak so eloquently for so many of us.” “I see the call for change as if in an old WWII Bill Mauldin black and white cartoon, with the wounded being us. Insert ‘change’ for the ‘Medic!’ call, screamed from pained lips. We are all in so much pain. Our country is in pain. We want relief. We don’t care who the medic is because we believe, or want to, that s/he has morphine. And just a few years ago we were young, strong, and bulletproof, with money in the bank. Plus ca change.” “Smart and timely. I hope (here is that magical word!) the promotion of change will have a solid foundation of knowledge and realism that can pave the road to the desired end result. We are so damaged by Bush’s actions that nothing will be fixed overnight, but it would be nice to feel pride once again for our president-elect and feel better about our identity as Americans.”
Op-ed: “From disaster springs humanity,” The Christian Science Monitor, 1/16/08.
Comments: “ Thanks for your story about our flood. It helps.” “It is so good to read about all those who rushed to help and make a difference.” “As someone who grew up in suburban New Orleans, I know all about flooding, the bureaucratic nightmares associated with it—and the deep kindness of people.” “Just beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. Then, it made me mad all over again remembering how FEMA turned away volunteers during Katrina. Reading your story, I just know they would have made all the difference in the first few hours and days of that disaster.” “An important piece. It was from the heart and about the heart. Thanks for reminding us that goodness can prevail.” “Great article that will show the rest of the country something special about the people in your hometown area.” “One word: BEAUTIFUL!” “You touch a chord softly but firmly.” “Seeing ‘home’ devastated like that unnerves our core, even with the glow of the support of humanity. Beautiful essay.” “You truly captured the feeling of home, your mom, as well as the beauty of the place and the people of Lewis County. I hope they do something to prevent such a disaster again.” “Beautiful and thoughtful. I hope your mother’s wrong….”
Op-ed: “The conscientious public,” The Seattle Times, 12/02/07. Centerpiece essay of Sunday opinion section. Reposted at CommonDreams.org.
Comments from Times readers—pro: “Thank you for expressing so eloquently what so many of us think about the media, the moral loss, and the sadness at the state of affairs in this country and its people. Your spitball was downright uplifting. You deserve kudos and I hope you hear from a lot of folks of like mind.” “Your commentary hit home with me. As part of the ‘conscientious public,’ I have felt so demoralized, simmering with a mixture of fear, anger, and helplessness for the past 7 years.” “Uh, wow. Great piece!” “Your piece put clearly into words exactly what I’ve been thinking. I retire next year and will move to Europe. I am one of those ‘soon-to-be exiles’ you talk about. I’d too rather not witness us self-destruct.” “How I wish we had people in office who thought and spoke as you do.” “Celebrity is cheap news…The news-mongers unload this tripe on us day in and day out, and then tell us how much we like it. We don’t!” “Focusing on celebrities allows the public to remain safe from discovering any ethical uneasiness with the government or our society that may lead to actual active opposition.” “It is the media that creates celebrity and consumerist stories, then spin and spin them to dizzy and distract us from the great and pervasive political issues of the day, robbing us of our American birthright [of democracy]. We are a unit of their mercenary calculus, nothing more.” “You hit the mark. The press was originally created as a tool to inform and educate. Up until recently, it was a huge responsibility to engage in the act of reporting—a responsibility that required courage, intellect, morals, and a sense of public service. Today, the task of reporting and editorializing seems to be influenced more by the business calculus of reader/viewer share multiplied by advertising rates.”
….and con: “Are you serious? We get your [sic] a ‘playwright’ and your [sic] a pompous elitist with the answers for us downtrodden ignorant fools. You’re no different than brittany spears, both looking for some attention. She flaunts her butt and so called stardom, you flaunt your ability to write a sentence no one wants to read.” “For four paragraphs you far better trumpeted the cause [of media garbage] than I ever could. You were powerful and you said, ‘Enough.’ I was feeling good, said ‘Harrah, here is a gal that has a great message.’ And then, Ms. Seaquist, beginning in paragraph 5, you blew it. You became politically partisan. You zeroed in on Iraq, calling it an unjust war. Remember, some of the best brains in our nation concluded a dictator had to be removed….Thanks for listening. I think you would be an interesting lady to visit. We can sure agree on four paragraphs.” (Signed: “Here because Harry dropped the bomb”)
Dialogue: “Back to Casablanca.” In which Ilsa returns to Casablanca for two things: Rick and an America as moral beacon. Summer 2007. Included in my book, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character.
Op-ed: “Wrong way to judge a candidate,” The Christian Science Monitor, 5/15/07. Posted on The Washington Post blog “The Editorialist,” among other venues.
Comments: “Brilliant.” “You bring a playwright’s sensibilities to our national policy debate. I too see what you see—the US media’s adolescent dwelling on the superficial rather than leadership qualities. I’ve stopped listening to our domestic media (the Monitor being the exception) and rely on BBC World Service and Radio Netherlands.” “Good job, but you are battling human nature. The only cure is if the media does a better job covering the candidates as a whole person and highlighting philosophy and platform. Oh, wait, that’s a pipe dream. In my history as a politician I found my success was more on how I presented myself, rather than what I presented. So I became an expert in the sound bite and got great press. Sad, but true.” “Excellent piece. But if we are so much into voting for people we like, how come Nixon got elected twice?” “People didn’t vote for Gore because his delivery was ‘wooden,’ as was hammered home by the press relentlessly, yet (sigh) think how much better off we’d be, had he been in office on 9/11. It’s the critical thinking skills, as you say, the ideas, the ability to bring people together by appealing to our better angels. And, I agree, they should be allowed to acknowledge mistakes and develop their ideas.” “Nice work. The laziness of the media in using the Rove-invented term ‘flip-flopping’ really bugs me. We’ve seen what happens with a dogmatic president who doesn’t flip-flop, getting us involved in a war that we will never live down….” “Wow, nice write-up. Way too often the press stresses superficial qualities over executive decision-making. One guy I’m interested in but rarely hear about is Bill Richardson. And Obama—he’s super bright, but I wish the press told us more about his leadership qualities than what his ancestry is. A Hillary-McCain duel would really irritate me. Sadly the press is pushing things that way.” ”Far more people know the name of the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby, thanks to the media, than who their legislators are. Sigh. You op-ed was great but, sadly, my cynicism is greater. I’m still an activist—I do what I can do so I can sleep at night—but I don’t expect much help. America is desperate for an MLK or FDR to save us from ruin. But where are the great Americans?” “Great column! I think of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, ‘Great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.’ You’ve captured how the presidential campaign has fallen into the realm of small minds. Here’s to lifting us up to the discussion of ideas again!”
Letter to the Editor: “Regarding Carla Seaquist’s May 15 Opinion piece…: Thank you for pointing out the foolishness of rating presidential candidates on their ‘buddy potential.’ I believe that I’m in the majority when I say that I’m desperate to see courageous, principled leadership in the White House and in the Congress.” Maren Hofstad, New Hope, MN
Essay: “Of hypocrites, ‘moralizers,’ and Frank Rich,” re: Putting it to columnist Frank Rich of The New York Times that a self-confessed hypocrite such as he may not—repeat: not—set the terms of the moral agenda. Included in my book, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character.
Op-ed: “In ’08: Reject torture—and redeem America’s soul,” The Christian Science Monitor, 1/17/07.
Comments: “Required reading.” “The Monitor’s circulation includes many who play important roles in our country. Your essay will influence.” “As usual, you are right on the mark. I cannot abide how ‘American’ has become a dirty word. Let’s cleanse it!” “I couldn’t agree more with the need to address torture in a very public way. Perhaps a public repudiation at the polls might redeem a democracy for sins that it willingly conspired in, but would it not be helpful as part of that repudiation to turn the issue over to a international court, since the sins of our political leaders are actually violations of international law?” “Few politicians will face the pain required to change our country’s direction. I hold some hope for Edwards and Obama, but others like yourself who have the courage to acknowledge wrongs will be needed, as this battle is not Democrats vs. Republicans, but rather flying souls vs. dying souls.” “Excellent. I was reminded of my father who was part of the Moral Rearmament movement. Now there’s a group that needs to be revitalized!” “Once again you’ve hit the issue squarely—a little more emotionally than usual, but considering the topic, OK. I admire your readiness to take on these hard intractable issues.” “We have moved far from Christianity in our quest for dominance. That is not to say that the other side is any better, but we should know better, especially if we propose to spread democracy. Our candidates will ignore this topic because too many of our fellow Americans do not understand that what we do to others can just as easily be done to us. Germany of the 1930s and ‘40s should have taught us that. You stimulate thinking; what a great thing to do for our fellow Americans.”
Resources: “Another thoughtful piece beautifully said. There is something Americans can do, are doing, and that is to participate in the work of the Center for Justice and Accountability, an NGO that litigates in America’s civil courts on behalf of foreign torture victims. See www.cja.org.” “Thanks for your article. In case you didn’t know, there is a National Religious Campaign Against Torture: www.nrcat.org.”
Op-ed: “Bush’s torture policy hurts our soldiers,” The Christian Science Monitor, 10/4/06.
Comments from the military: From a Vietnam vet: “Your argument is that the administration is committing a dereliction of duty. I think that is true and is stated quite mildly, yet forceably.” From a retired submarine captain: “Wonderful piece. It reflects my view exactly. How can these people, most of whom never served, be blind to the obvious? It simply reflects what I see as their fundamental disdain for professional military opinion.” From an Army doctor: “It is a tenet of Western Judeo-Christian philosophy that evil is the metaphysical absence of good. Under no circumstances can good be a product of evil. Torture is by definition evil….We have an immature, imbecilic dry drunk in the White House because the voters are incapable of critical thinking.” From a former under-secretary of the Department of Defense: “Absolutely right, but perhaps not strong enough! And what a Congress — they seem never to have heard of the Constitution, nor separation of powers. We are indeed in a sorry state.” From a retired British four-star general: “Carla, how right you are in everything you say! What happened to the moral high ground? Whatever criticisms have been leveled at the USA in the past, no one -until now – could have accused your nation of lowering its standards in the area of human dignity. Bush’s approach is that of Alice: ‘Words mean what I want them to mean.’ It does your great country untold harm when its leader gets into the gutter with the rest of the world’s thugs. Sorry, but I feel strongly about this – as do you.”
And from Seymour Hersh, investigative reporter: “Right on.”
Essay: “Democrats: Make torture a campaign issue and values a theme,” 8/06. Who will raise the radioactive issue—torture—and restore America’s soul? Included in my book, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character.
Op-ed: “Free speech, responsible speech, and the ‘right to offend,’” The Christian Science Monitor, 4/4/06.
Comments: “Brilliant thoughts, beautifully written!” “You manage to make more waves than anyone I know.” “This op-ed is another triumph. It makes me wish you were our Secretary of State. Seriously.” “You are one helluva writer! This should be published around the world.” “Great and thoughtful article. The notion that with free speech comes the duty of being responsible seems so basic that we don’t comprehend that in many (most) cases there is no intention to be accountable; indeed accountability is for wimps or the other guy.” “Great stuff. It is quite bizarre that people think free speech can be ‘defended’ by replicating its irresponsible exercise. No, the right defense is, as always, ‘I disagree with what you say (specifically, with your gratuitous and counter-productive insults to a large fraction of the world’s population), but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” “I agree, one has to start with self-critique. If only we could reintroduce the idea of holding oneself accountable. How do we do that with an administration that reacts to self-analysis like it was kryptonite?” From a theatre director: “I loved your shot at ‘The Vagina Monologues.’ I call it Vaginaland (as in Disneyland)—catering to the lowest common denominator. Kudos to you!”
Op-ed: “Harold Pinter’s pen betrays his normalcy,” The Christian Science Monitor, 12/7/05. Headlined on the websites of American Theater Web and Broadway Stars.
Comments: “A tour de force!” “I haven’t seen a Pinter play but I like your thesis. I don’t think art has to abuse, it should elevate us, send our spirits soaring by perceiving or making beauty. I’m going to check out this guy Pinter. I like your writing style—very sophisticated, but it communicates well.” “So beautifully written and reasoned as to be remarkably accessible, even to me who’s not a theatre-goer. And the sudden but graceful expansion of context at the end—from a detailed analysis of the contradictions in Pinter’s work and life to their relevance to the human condition and the state of the world in general—is break-taking, refreshing, and rings true.” “Excellent. I used to imagine Sam Beckett wandering home at the end of a long, bleak day mentioning to his companion then wife of sixty years Suzanne, ‘Alas, still no hope in the world. What shall we do for supper?’” “I wonder if ‘the contagion of abuse in human experience’ Pinter encounters in liberal Britain isn’t a reincarnation of the torture and suppression of the human self in ancien regime West.” “Congratulations on another stellar contribution to public enlightenment.” “It was an ancient Jewish sage who memorably wrote, on the theme of ‘repairing the world,’ that ‘You are not expected to complete the work, but neither are you excused from advancing it.’ Thanks for advancing us.”
From a playwright: “Very interesting. I’ve been labeling my plays as ‘sentimental’ but really they are about normal things: family, love, communication, reconciliation, heritage, what keeps us glued together. I’d written them off as the musings of a mother who can’t take the world in right now, instead I’m thinking I need to tell my daughters about those normal things.” From an actor: “Excellent. Pinter’s characters are opposed by internal forces. The Greeks were right all along: We must bring our characters into a larger arena.” From a theatre director: “A fine and thoughtful article. Chekhov said, ‘Unhappy people write happy works, and happy people write the unhappy.’ Keep up the unhappy work.” And from another director: “Thank you for your ‘pure and generous words.’ We don’t always live where we work.”
Letter to the Editor: “I wish to applaud Carla Seaquist’s Opinion piece…. It concerns me greatly that a lot of our entertainment, particularly in film and television, is that of menace, and that it is too often without redemption. I think redemption is always present, if sought. Surely in a world so stressed by menace, seeking redemption is active in all people. Thank you, Ms. Seaquist, for your clarity, and for addressing this apparent vacuum of morality. You are helping in the redemption. I write as one of those unseen ‘antagonists.’” Lesley Mascall, Mona Vale, Australia
Op-ed: “Notes for a moderate’s manifesto,” The Christian Science Monitor, 9/9/05. Selected by the Monitor as its guest op-ed in observance of the 4th anniversary of 9/11.
Comments: “Bravo, you’ve done it again. Good thoughts for those of us who have been silent far too long.” “This article is so great. I wish everyone in America would read it and ponder what is happening to our country. There is a core of goodness and rational thinking that has been taken over by crass consumerism and group-think. I love your writing.” “Imagine, making a political exegesis of Yeats into an op-ed for CSM…wisely saying nothing about the beast slouching toward Bethlehem. Is it because the beast is already there, slouching his way to immortality as the worst president ever? Or because we have all become beastly slouchers, in our path towards US hegemony without responsibility?” “Your op-ed pieces are very much a force for good. They help people clarify their thoughts and feelings by giving voice to important ideas and positions on crucial issues.” “Absolutely excellent! I completely agree with your cultural argument. I think this has as much as anything to do with negative world views towards the US, particularly in the Arab world. Yet so many seem afraid to say anything.” “Just love that mind of yours.”
Op-ed: “Marching orders from a survivor of Auschwitz,” The Christian Science Monitor, 6/8/05. Published title: “Needed—a new American spirit.”
Reader comments – pro: “You write: ‘We must learn to act without guarantees; to know the score yet play the game flat-out, with hope no longer natural but manufactured.’ This reminds me of…Vaclav Havel: ‘Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.’ Your piece makes absolute sense to me.” “Extraordinary. You say, ‘Turn Tragedy into mere tragedy and in doing so make life into Life’—Yes! And ‘to act without guarantees’—this is a challenge, but it must be our new American spirit. After all, what guarantees did the early settlers have?” “You are a master writer, an Emerson.” “You articulate feelings and stirrings I have, but without the time (or talent) to articulate them myself they only cause bad dreams. To read them stated plainly, sanely, is such medicine.” “Your column on Saba is an honor to journalism.”
… and con: “In response to your question, ‘Would [Saba] be proud of us today,’ I would offer that she may say absolutely. We are the most welcoming country in the world for those seeking a better life…Our diversity remains our greatest strength…We have liberated millions from oppression…We lead the world in providing assistance to those in need from poverty, environmental disasters, disease, national debt…We have addressed the threats that hit us on 9/11 by leading the world in addressing the evil that generates such destruction.” And finally: “The ‘new American spirit’ will require backbone to enforce our standards on unwilling subjects.”
Op-ed: “Abu Ghraib and the mirror,” The Christian Science Monitor, 2/11/05.
Reader comments: “I have waited years to hear an artist say what you said. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” “Absolutely excellent and timely as ever. You’re doing your part to help distinguish what we do well and where we fail.” “I particularly liked your point that we need core, not edge.” “Very insightful, especially the metaphor of the psychological prison.” “I am always amazed at your ability to hit the nail squarely on the head. What would take another writer a thousand pages and lose most readers along the way, you capture in a few precise words. I hope everyone acts on them.” “Another fine piece. I know some people who, otherwise, lead very sensible lives but who cannot get enough ‘action’ entertainment and who rave about the put-downs on ‘reality’ TV. I don’t understand it, but I feel way down in my soul this is neither healthy for them as individuals nor for our society. I believe that we are living in an era of bad feeling, that our lives are not quite right. We are hedonistic and self-destructive at the same time, looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places and knowing down deep that we are not going to find it. We choose not to look in the mirror because we know we will not like what we see, but, of course, we must. Thanks again for speaking out.”
Foreign reader: “Every word of your article was intelligent writing, the kind of thinking which makes me feel good: that there are lots of civilized Americans like yourself that we Europeans can count on and look up to.”
Op-ed: “In praise of a murdered ‘do-gooder'”: An appreciation of Margaret Hassan, Tacoma News Tribune, 12/19/04.
Reader comments: “Exquisitely written. Margaret Hassan was a magnificent, selfless, and inspiring woman whom I would have wished to have known.” “Heartbreaking. I am ready to resign from the human race” (from a former diplomat). “I’d never thought about the term ‘do-gooder’ before. Thank you for holding up a mirror to us.” “You articulate so well some very sad feelings I have had for the past several years regarding our society. I truly feel we are in a dark age.” “Your compassion and your way with words is rare and brilliant. Left unsaid, but very much on my mind, being ex-UN, is how the UN abandoned Iraq, but people like Margaret stayed on.”
Essay: “Stop the burlesque!: American pop culture in a tinderbox world,” re: Three years after 9/11, American culture focuses, not on the best, but the coarsest. Included in my book, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character.
Op-ed: “At heart of good political discussion: the idea,” The Christian Science Monitor, 10/20/04. Top story in number of hits on CSM’s website.
Reader comments: “Superb!” “Thank you for the voice of reason.” “Your catch-phrase, ‘That’s interesting, why do you think that?’ will help me from slipping into sputtering outrage.” “Your point about separating the idea from the person is SO important.” “As a passionate partisan, it was very good to be reminded of the benefits of a open mind.” “Your essay helps take the fight out of the firmly held blues and reds.” “The ultimate irony is that some would ridicule the very idea you’re suggesting, specifically because ‘that’s how the French do things—and we’re Americans!’”
And from a blog, El Oso.net (Nov. 5, 2004): “Looking back on all the thousands of blog, newspaper, and magazine commentaries that I have read this past year, the most important of them all probably came from a….playwright in The Christian Science Monitor. I wish I could somehow force every single American, every single human to read her piece.”
Op-ed: “Accidental convention delegate gripped by hands-on democracy,” The Christian Science Monitor, 5/13/04.
(From a fellow delegate) “Great job! It’s so true about the convention and the overall feelings expressed there.” “… an eloquent and moving piece.” “You have almost convinced me that maybe, just maybe, there is still something healthy about the democratic participatory process.” “My wife agrees that copies of your fascinating story should be distributed to our local party activists and that moistened eyes are in order.” “Dear Talking Moderate: Keep up the good work.”
Foreign readers: “In times like these when one despairs… it is good to read about a democracy at work. Despite all its shortcomings, the US version is not only one of the world’s oldest, but still one of the most vivid and viable ones — and your article, Carla, is an excellent demonstration of this.” “Excellent, because so human — no great answers to complex problems but feelings that touch so many of us. People like you give me hope.”
“On behalf of all Americans who feel acute shame, as I do, at the reprehensible actions of the benighted few in our armed forces, President Bush should issue an apology to the Arab world. A great nation acknowledges its errors.”
(Signed) Carla Seaquist, Gig Harbor, Wash., May 1, 2004
Reader comments: “God bless you, Carla!” “I hope my friends in the Middle East read these letters. They are a true expression of who we are as a people and as a nation.” “I hope the outcry from Americans sickened by this incident shakes our leaders to the core. If not, I hope public indignation carries on to November at the polls.” “A sensible and honorable suggestion, not bleeding heart but on target.” “Good for you! I am absolutely appalled that such acts should occur. It betrays the lowest morals as well as a sad ignorance of the cultural values of mid-eastern people (virtually all people for that matter).” “Thank you, Carla, for doing what we all should be doing. We must be having a national nightmare where the moral foundation of this country seems not to be merely crumbling, but leading us into a never-ending abyss of depravity. I want to wake up and learn that it’s all a bad dream… but new horrors are instead revealed in the morning paper.” “I am so ashamed of what we must represent to the rest of the world. Like the worst religious hypocrite we espouse liberty and human rights and behind closed doors we pull off the surplices.” “Thank you for standing up for what we are all thinking.” “You are right – a great nation acknowledges its errors. In this case I fear that our leaders are acknowledging their public relations mistake, but not their errors. Truly shameful and truly stupid. Again, thanks for giving voice to the revulsion.” “Way to go!”
Op-ed: “America, we need to talk—seriously,” The Christian Science Monitor, 6/24/03. Top story in number of hits on CSM’s website.
Reader comments: “Right on the money! People want to be healed, not talk seriously.” “Thank YOU for expressing MY feelings so eloquently!” “Should be on the front page of every serious newspaper in the nation.” “Thanks again for making us THINK.” “A most sane, penetrating, finely-wrought piece.” “So timely. Americans need to stop wishing for the white picket fence and face our future with courage and a hard look at our escapist, fearful blindness.” “Very important piece. I’ve sent it out to friends.”
Foreign readers: “I forwarded it to some of my friends who are bitterly disappointed in the US. The feedback was very, very positive. They were all thrilled to find out that someone in the States shares their views.” “Your (and Abraham Lincoln’s) idea of testing the character of the USA by how it handles power is magnificent.”
Op-ed: “Saber-rattling doesn’t enhance security,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2/21/03. Original title: “The American ‘street’ and foreign policy”.
Reader comments: “Your succinct, impressive language and ideas.” “Simply marvelous insights in the current situation.” “I agree, the Administration has no sense of the Golden Rule, politically.” “Have you thought about running for office?” From a theatre administrator: “Thanks for this very thoughtful, calming statement. May I send it to THAW (Theatres Against War) for their website?”
Op-ed in dialogue: “Behemoth in a bathrobe,” The Christian Science Monitor, 2/4/03. Included in the best-selling anthology, The Impossible Will Take A Little While: A Citizen’s Guide To Hope in a Time of Fear, along with the “engaged” writing of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Amos Oz, Vaclav Havel, Tony Kushner, and others. Ed. Paul Rogat Loeb, pub. Basic Books, 2004. Named a “Best Book” by the American Book Association and No. 3 political book for 2004 by the History Channel. For more information, see www.theimpossible.org.
Letter to editor: “I sit with my colleagues each day during lunch listening to conversations about American Idols, Bachelors, Bachelorettes, and someone named Joe Millionaire. Each day I search for words to express what I’m hearing. Carla Seaquist has found the words I seek. I will put her essay on the fridge at my office so everyone can experience it.”
Reader comments: “Brilliant!” “Nobody can copy your style or infuse so much fresh energy!” “Every time I read it I am engaged, challenged, and encouraged to act.” “Excellent—and, unfortunately, more accurate than we’d like to admit.” “I am forwarding this article to a lot of people.” “I have never had what I would call a great intellect. But I believe I am able to recognize brilliant expression when I see it. It took me a couple of readings, but I finally recognized the sincere brilliance of Carla’s piece. Unfortunately, it is on a level that ‘the mob’ would rarely attempt to consider.” “I hope you’ll continue this as a series?”
Foreign reader: “You had America on the sofa, exposed to some serious psychotherapy. I wish that Behemoth’s revelations are shared worldwide.”
Essay: “A hitchhiker looks back,” The Christian Science Monitor, 5/6/02.
Essay: “Around the block with a dying man,” Seattle Times, 4/7/02. Second prize, D.C. Arts Commission essay competition. Finalist, Belles Lettres essay competition.
Op-ed: “Reinventing ‘normalcy,’” The Christian Science Monitor, 3/5/02.
Reader comments: “A fine, fine piece.” “When an item in print causes an intake of breath and the reaction ‘Wow,’ I underscore it and write comments. When some event (or essay) with deep meaning occurs, tears well up.”
Essay: “Recovery of a family’s past,” Journal of Family Life, vol. 5, no. 4, 2000.
Essay: “Instrument of torture: The story of a piano, a flaw, and a search for joy,” Lear’s, republished in The Washington Post, 12/29/96. Original title: “On being not good enough for Carnegie Hall.”
Op-ed: “Pete Wilson’s gorgeous mosaic,” The New York Times, 8/15/95.
Op-ed: “Newer than the ‘new’ racism,” The Baltimore Sun, 8/18/90.
Op-ed: “A little respect for the dread, please,” The Chicago Tribune, 7/12/88.
Essay: “A night in limb-o,” Hippocrates, July/August ’88.
Op-ed: “Excuse me, but were you in Vietnam?” The Christian Science Monitor, 5/20/86.
Essay: “Smart steps for stepparents,” distributed by News America Syndicate, Dec. ’85.
Essay: “Education of a stepmother,” pseud. Nan Trova, Stepfamily Bulletin, Summer ’83.
Op-ed: “Why do the ‘nice’ people remain silent?” San Diego Union, 11/14/82.
Essay: “Couples: Alone again…unnaturally,” The Washington Post, 7/23/82.
Essay: “Budgeting in Japan takes ingenuity” The San Diego Union Tribune, 3/22/79.
Essay: “Change from Below: Forming a Women’s Caucus,” Women’s Work, Sept./Oct. 1976. About our successful experience at the Brookings Institution, Wash., D.C.
“Foolscap,” a novel about the theatre, by Michael Malone, The Bloomsbury Review, Jan.-Feb. 93.
“Rich in Love” a novel by Josephine Humphreys, Belles Lettres, May/June ’88.
In dialogue: “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit,” by Brenda Ueland, Belles Lettres, Nov.-Dec. 87.
Interview with Rosellen Brown about her novel “Before and After,” Belles Lettres, Winter 92/93.
Short-short story: “What’s Wrong with This Picture?: Being about the nature of friendship in the Capital City.” Keyed to painting “A Friendly Call,” by William Merritt Chase, in the National Gallery of Art.
“In-House Guerrilla,” a tale of life in a think tank, featuring Maurice, who arrives at the Institute with all the right ideas about how to run the place more efficiently. But Reason in this think tank comes under fire—spectacularly. Told by a “lifer” who overdosed on For Whom the Bell Tolls and was in love, sort of, with this exotic guerrilla.
“Casanova in Love,” about our first First Lady with a full-time career (she is a concert pianist), told by her Secret Service agent, who at first resists the assignment, then falls in love with her and thereby alters his life totally.