Some days, I wake up and stare at the computer as if doing so will inspire me to do something. I check my Facebook (there, I’ve said it, I’m a masochist) and follow all the links to stuff, in the hopes that I suddenly will become emboldened to write something. But, there are days like today when I just don’t feel like putting in the effort. I just want to be spoon-fed some entertainment. Where are the monkeys on a stick?
Suddenly, the sun is down. I’m writing something, now, because a writer who doesn’t write isn’t anything at all. It’s mental gymnastics, but I also want to say something. If I could only figure out what that is. I’ve been through this many times as a song writer. Sometimes there are six or a dozen songs rattling around up there. I know what I’m going to say. But I just can’t bring myself to go through the process. It can sometimes take weeks before the muse suddenly staples me to the chair and it all comes out on paper (so to speak).
I’ve been reading a lot about a lot. As I do, it becomes harder and harder to write something. It’s not that there is nothing to say. It’s that there is too much. For instance, I read Ann Coulter’s book, Treason. Good book, but it deals with FDR and Truman besides McCarthy and all the soviet spies. Meanwhile, I’m also cuing to read books on FDR and Truman, and I’m in the middle of a biography on McCarthy. Then there is Bombshell, by Joseph Albright, which tells the story of the actual spies that McCarthy was trying to expose who gave away the atomic secrets to the Soviets. For background, I’m also reading Lenin on the United States and Joshua Muravchik‘s Heaven On Earth, the Rise and Fall of Socialism. These books all have a different angle to the same story. That’s enough sources from which to write my own book. But I won’t get read if I go over 2000 words.
My favorite read just now isby Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac (try saying that name three times fast) It explores how Russian and English expansion put the squeeze on central Asia. The people of Afghanistan get caught in the middle quite often, which probably says something about their animosity for the new superpower on the block. Of course, this history intersects with the biography of Disraeli that I need to finish. The biography will be a much more interesting read, now that I have the other side of the story. More to these two books than any other can I give credit to shaping my understanding that conservatives like war. But that also adds to my schizophrenia, since I am a conservative that does not like war. OK, so I’m half libertarian. But I don’t like smoking pot. And I could have lived with Prohibition, which means I’m probably a fascist who hates big government. Meh!
Today I went on a nice bike ride. I only went about 25 miles. I did the same thing yesterday, chasing rainbows amid scattered showers. I have been thinking about my great adventures, no doubt having been fired by reading of the great empire builders and explorers of centuries past. These days, there are not uncharted lands that call for a cartographer. England and Russia have long since spat out all the states that they once gobbled up. China, the once mysterious land across the mountains, is still secretive but not impossible to access. And yet, there are still some of us for whom the call of the road is sometimes squelched but never silenced.
I have already laid out the three routes that I would like to travel by bicycle before I die. The first speaks to my high school dream to ride a bike across the United States. That trip is thoroughly researched, down to the daily elevations, distances, and routes. The second is a trip around the world, of which I have only planned through Asia. I still have to make an itinerary for Europe, Africa and South America. It depends a lot on politics, unfortunately. The greatest thing about America is not needing a visa to go from one state to the next. Also, everyone here speaks a dialect that I can understand. My third trip, and probably the last I’d ever attempt, is also by far the hardest. I hope to ride from New Delhi to Chengdu, via the backside of the Himalayas.
I know that a year’s worth of travelogue might not exactly be riveting to political junkies. After all, I probably will have to write stuff that gets past the local censors. So I won’t even be able to write about foreign politics. But, politics is for countries. Life should be divined on a personal level. I already have many friends in China, and some in Russia. I don’t think there’s a better way to bring the world together than by making the people of the world your friends. It’s been said that it’s a lot harder to shoot people you know. It’s also a lot easier to understand people when you have spent a day in their shoes. Hopefully, spending a day in the shoes of 300 other people will teach me more about the world than a year’s worth of reading.