I finished Kenneth Stampp’s The Peculiar Institution yesterday, during a break from the Sekrit Projekt. I had to take the book in small chunks, because so much of it is sickening. If one wishes to understand America, one must look unflinchingly at chattel slavery. It’s that simple.
It took a little while, sitting on the deck with my eyes closed, for the nausea to go down. Part of it was that Stampp’s attempt at “balance”–Christ knows he probably wouldn’t have gotten the book published without it–delved into the “moral quandaries” of slavery for the owners. I have long been, and remain, completely unimpressed by the idea that whites were somehow forced to enslave others, and unsympathetic to their moaning about how haaaaard it was to do so. The sheer number of mental contortions they had to perform to convince themselves what they were doing was somehow acceptable is astonishing. It’s akin to the just-as-breathtaking contortions conservatives perform today, both in number and in kind.
Next up: Harrison Salisbury’s The 900 Days. Which is a terrifying book already, since I’m familiar with the Siege of Leningrad from other books on the Eastern Front. I’m only about a hundred pages in, and I can’t look away, the suspense is awful.
In other news, I got 3K words in on the Sekrit Projekt, did an hour of yoga (my hips felt weird afterward) and almost forgot about the new short story up for preorder. It’s one I wrote a while ago, when I was first thinking about doing a werewolf novella. Unfortunately, the narrator had other ideas. It’s not often a short story comes out in a whole, bloody chunk, but this one did on a very cold winter afternoon. Funny how I tend to write winter stories in summer, and vice versa.
Anyway, I’ve a 6km run today, and another push to get the bulk of the Sekrit Projekt done before I have to shift to revisions. The revisions are for a book I doubt the publisher will take anyway, but when professionalism demands, the writer performs. I mean, I’ll certainly bitch about it to my writing partner, but I’ll do it to the very utmost best of my ability. Roll for adulting, +3.
Over and out.