End of Imprisonment

I have been haunted lately by the ending of King Rat, an old novel by James Clavell. It was a movie too, but I read the book first, so that's what stands out in my mind.

The book is about a young British officer in a terrible Japanese POW camp. He's not the King Rat. That's an American wheeler-dealer who kind of runs the internal POW economy.

What haunts me is the ending. They get rescued. They are miserable, in a state of near-starvation, in a terrible way. Even that's not what strikes me.

What strikes me is that their rescuers are not interested in how things were in the camp. Their rescuers are ready for the former prisoners to move on with their lives. All the power structures and conflicts from the prison camp... simply vanish. The people who were important are now nobodies, and everyone is expected to go back to normal. Not all the prisoners are ready to go back to normal.

I sure am. But a lot of people around me seem to be suffering from some strange malaise that's a bit like Stockholm Syndrome, a bit like Institutionalization, and a bit like Agoraphobia. They don't want to stop wearing their masks. Okay, keep wearing them. But please don't tell me you are still Following The Science. Because The Official Science took a sharp turn in the other direction.

Well, terror can be traumatic. We had a year of media-fueled terror. It's going to take a lot of people a lot of time to get over it. I'm sure there are some who will not live long enough to ever feel normal again.

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De Clutter

If I have a big pile of flyers,
Some of which have expired,
For classes on throwing things away...
Tell me, what does that say?


I assumed that the language, Python,
Was simply named after a snake.
You can see where that would be
An easy assumption to make.
But checking various sources,
I found that the actual scoop
Led back to a very silly
British comedy troupe.

Returning to Normal

Here in the States, it seems that all the vaxing
Is causing all the rules to start relaxing,
But now they want me to come back into work!
Can I say no? I don’t mean to be a jerk.
It’s true that I miss seeing all my friends,
And maybe it’s time for pandemic panic to end,
But I have grown so fond of my commute:
From bedroom to my desk for remote-compute!

Edifice Complex Wrecked

Today I went by the address where my first three full length plays were produced. I was feeling sentimental, wanting to see what they’d done with the old moldy building. What they’d done is tear it down and put up a new building!

I can no longer say:
“If only these stones could speak!”
I guess I’ll just pray
The basement no longer leaks.


Because we didn't really know her birthday,
We simply had to pick a date for Earth Day.
Saturn somehow gets a day each week -
Saturday in the language that we speak.


I was invited to write a play for an online 10-minute play festival. It's always nice to be invited! So I agonized in the way I usually do, and wrote one and sent it in. I hope they like it, because otherwise I will probably feel the need to write another one. The main stipulation is that the play should be designed as what I would call a "Zoom-native play". Each actor appears on a screen, and there's no pretense that they are "really" in the same physical location. The story somehow must involve people relating at a distance. Like a "telephone play" but with visuals.

It may be silly, but one of my worries, when writing for a short play festival, is that my play not be too much like the other plays in a festival. It's a danger when there's a shared theme.

Of course, the immediate inspiration for this is the way so many of our relationships moved online with this Covid crisis. But they specified that they were not looking for a negative take on the technology of long-distance interaction. They said they would be happy with the celebrations of our ability to communicate vividly over distance.

We've been living an existence
With an extra wall of distance.