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In which I write something that isn’t part of either of my novels-in-progress

I read some more nonfiction recently, and I thought putting some thoughts on paper would be nice (or…well, just go with it).

First I read The Next 100 Years by George Friedman. It’s a book that goes from history to economics and then into a bit of silliness, under the pretext of predicting the next hundred years of world political history. The analysis is excellent throughout the book…the silliness arises from the inherent futility in going so far out in advance. That being said, Friedman’s reasoning for all of his predictions is excellent, and considering the state of politics these days, refreshingly nonpartisan. Friedman is clearly a realist in international relations terms, but so am I, so that pandered to me a little bit.

After that I read Columbine by Dave Cullen. What a spectacular book. Now, I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve thought a lot about the events in Columbine high school, mostly because there were some, in my mind, disturbing parallels between what happened in Colorado and my own circle of friends. Understanding the situation better, I now see that this is simply untrue. Cullen portrays Eric Harris as a textbook-case psychopath, with Klebold as a depressive who was both feeding the energies of and pulled in by his companion. The myths of the shooting are laid bare and dissected, while both the lead-up and the aftermath are explored in as much detail is possible given the sources. After holding a somewhat (in my opinion) perverse fascination for years, I now feel content to put it to rest. Excellent read.

So now, I sit here, at the beginning of my last week before I go home, then returning to being a student again. I hope to work on my writing during break, and probably will, though I doubt I’ll reach any major goals. That’s all right…I’d really like to finish a first draft of the second so I have a good stopping point before I turn entirely to schoolwork.

It’s a grand time to have things unfinished. Single, still in school, two unfinished novels. School I guess I’m right on schedule, albeit a revised one. The novels hit one delay after another, but I’m making something resembling forward progress. As for the third item…ha.

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2 thoughts on “In which I write something that isn’t part of either of my novels-in-progress

  1. Thanks for the shoutout on my book (COLUMBINE). Very nicely said. I’m glad it had an effect on you. It’s nicer to know the truth, right–even when it’s not what we expected?

    It frustrated the hell out of me, too, in the beginning, hence the ten years on it. (I hope to spend a bit less on my next book.)

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  2. On Nov. 21, 2008, the Harris and Klebold parents were sent the same letter requesting cooperation. “Your stories have yet to be fully told, and I view your help as an issue of historical significance,” it said. “In 10 years, there have been no major, mainstream books on Columbine. This will be the first, and it may be the only one.” The letter came not from Mr. Cullen but from Jeff Kass, whose Columbine: A True Crime Story, published by the small Ghost Road Press, preceded Columbine by a couple of weeks.

    “Mr. Kass, whose tough account is made even sadder by the demise of The Rocky Mountain News in which his Columbine coverage appeared, has also delivered an intensive Columbine overview. Some of the issues he raises and information he digs up go unnoticed by Mr. Cullen.” –Janet Maslin, New York Times

    “A decade after the most dramatic school massacre in American history, Jeff Kass applies his considerable reporting talents to exploring the mystery of how two teens could have planned and carried out such gruesome acts without their own family and best friends knowing about it in Columbine: A True Crime Story. Actually, there were important clues, but they were missed or downgraded both by those who knew the boys best and by public officials who came in contact with them. An engrossing and cautionary tale for everyone who cares about how to prevent kids from going bad.” ——-Ted Gest, President, Criminal Justice Journalists

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