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June 15, 2005

A Cluttered Page in the Social Diary

by Ron Hogan

I had lunch yesterday afternoon with frequent Beatrice literary festival correspondent Karen Spears Zacharias, who was visiting New York with her twin daughters before heading out to Washington, D.C., for the annual Father's Day weekend gathering of Sons and Daughters in Touch, an organization of men and women whose fathers were killed in action in Vietnam. We talked about how the personal knowledge of the pain of having a loved one taken away in combat, which informs every page of her memoir, Hero Mama, has shaped her reactions to the current situation in Iraq. I shared my own perspective, as the son of two Marine Corps veterans, balancing honor and respect for our nation's soldiers with distrust in the leaders who sent them off to fight--especially when those leaders suggest that patriotic duty requires us to support their war "for the troops" while they're not even bothering to hide their dismantling of the economic and medical support system provided to our military.

Then, on a happier note, after a lecture at the Explorers Club , I met up with Ginger Strand at Lexington Bar & Books and we ended up ordering martinis and cigars to celebrate the resale of her Believer article "Why Look at Fish?" (excerpted online) to Harper's; it'll run in that front section later this summer. I've just started her novel, Flight, and I'm totally engrossed. The Litblog Co-op's bylaws totally prevent me from nominating books by my drinking buddies, but they don't say I can't press everybody else in the co-op to read their books when looking for candidates, so that's going to be my strategy.

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