Idler, Writer, Bum

Idlers, in the eyes of outside observers, are usually perceived as lazy, dawdlers, losers, parasites… Idling is perceived as socially unacceptable.

This is how I must be perceived by outside observers. Much of my day is spent staring at the ceiling, or watching the clouds.

I happened upon this book THE IDLERS GLOSSARY, by Joshua Glenn, which deciphers and breaks some of the common misconceptions about idling. Reading it brought to mind one of the best examples of such a lazy idler, a parasite, pathological slacker. I pulled the first volume, fingered through the pages and found a paragraph that will only fuel the sentiments of all those who perceive writers as lazy bums:

As I push forward from the inside toward the outside, following parallel states of my consciousness, I do not reach the horizon, but I find pleasures of a different kind: to sit comfortably, to smell the lively air, to not be importuned by an unexpected visit; and when the bell tower rings the hour, to watch as afternoon chips away, bit by bit, until I hear the last bong that will allow me to tell the number. With each passing hour it seems that the previous one rang only minutes ago; the latest one signed off in the sky just next to the previous one and I cannot believe that sixty minutes can fit in the small blue crescent that spans two gold signs. Sometimes an hour rings prematurely, twice more than the previous one; an hour passes that I do not register. Something happens, but it does not happen for me.
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time


Enemies of war

On November 16, 1989, special forces stormed the Universidad Centroamericana and assassinated six professors and two women. At the time civil war was raging in El Salvador. The profs, Jesuits, were vocal critics of the conflict. Their voices, voices of reason, were a shield capable of stopping tanks and bullets. Alas their bodies were frail, as all human life is. So the genocidal oppressors figured that the easiest way to rid the country of the troublesome Jesuits would be to riddle their bodies with bullets. But, with the bullets being supplied by the American taxpayer the murder backfired. A couple years later something of a truce was instituted, and a mock trial found the guilty of the murder. The world forgot about what happened. Until...

Yesterday, Spain's Association for Human Rights started the proceedings against the president of El Salvador and the military officers responsible for the assassinations.

Read the full story here (in Spanish), then watch the PBS documentary Enemies of War, listen to this radio podcast (in Real Audio or Windows Media) and wait for my novel AGENTS OF CHANGE, which echoes the events (I will finish it, soon, I promise!)