Americans have long been taught to hate all people who will not or cannot work, to hate even themselves for that. We can thank the vanquished frontier for that piece of common-sense cruelty. The time is coming, if it isn’t here now, when it will no longer be common sense. It will simply be cruel.
The world is full of people who are very clever at seeming much smarter than they actually are. They dazzle us with facts and quotations and foreign words and so on, whereas the truth is that they know almost nothing of use in life as it is really lived.
Don’t you realize that all great literature -- Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, A Farewell to Arms, The Scarlet Letter, The Red Badge of Courage, The Iliad and The Odyssey, Crime and Punishment, The Bible, and The Charge of the Light Brigade -- are all about what a bummer it is to be a human being?
I wrote the Air Force back then, asking for details about the raid on Dresden, who ordered it, how many planes did it, what desirable results they had been and so on. I was answered by a man who, like myself, was in public relations. He said that he was sorry, but that the information was top secret still. I read the letter out loud to my wife, and I said, 'Secret? My God--from whom?'
If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
I congratulated him on what he'd said on his way to be hanged before a gleeful, jeering throng of white folks. I quote: 'This is a beautiful country.' In only five words, he had somehow encapsulated the full horror of the most hideous legal atrocities committed by a civilized nation until the Holocaust.
My name is Gabrielle and I am twenty-eight years old. I began to self-injure at age fifteen -- so nearly thirteen years minus a two year period. This website is one about self-injury (self-harm), made to let self-injurers know that they are not alone and to help their friends and family learn more about self-injury and how it affects their loved one.