From time to time I think of sending an open email to the staff of, say, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, asking them how they sleep at night. Me, what with climate change and Iraq and the tendency of my web searches to turn up sites like answersingenesis.org, it leaves me blue in the face and I want to write an angry novel, a corrosive book to sear one's hands; but if you insist, with Adorno, on “black as an ideal,” you run the risk of ending up with Blood Meridian, and we just don’t need any more of that. Approaching Zero is nearly finished. I know that I want my next one to make fewer compromises; but that’s abstract and I don’t know how to get there. I do know that something like this demands a response:
One night a guy came and broke chem lights open and beat the PUCs with it [sic]. That made them glow in the dark which was real funny but it burned their eyes and their skin was irritated real bad.
[“Person Under Control” or PUC (pronounced “puck”) is the term used by US military forces to refer to Iraqi detainees.]
[Chem lights refer to chemical light sticks. While we do not know the exact composition of the ones allegedly used in Iraq, these lights are typically made of a hydrogen peroxide solution mixed with a phenyl oxalate ester and dye for color.]
I have an idea. It might be facile; I might end up not writing it. Late, with the laptop open, a single lamp lit, there is so much I want to do. Rip away linguistic habit, drill down to the core of suffering; and then what? It was there first. It will resume its business after you leave. Older than you. Stronger than you.