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January, 2008

Fear Of Writing

The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Alice in Jesusland
By  Robert Fripp

Journalists' jobs become difficult when questions depart from the realm of reason.
The phrase I use as this article's headline belongs to Bill Moyers. I wish it were mine.

Moyers was addressing those who had just presented him with the Harvard Medical School's Global Environment Citizen Award. published Moyers' full text on December 6, 2004.

Moyers was trying to explain that it is difficult for journalists to present complex issues. Their task becomes doubly difficult when the issue in question seems to have departed from the realm of reason, and when it moves from the edge of society to "sit in the seat of power." He was referring to the supremacy of the Bush White House and the current U.S. Administration's utter lack of concern for the fate of our planet.

President Ronald Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources (make that our environmental envelope) was not important because Jesus Christ was about to return.

Watt said, "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." That leaves me wondering whether Christ's return might actually be contingent on total environmental collapse. Watt was speaking over 20 years ago, and things have become much worse (or better, depending on one's point of view).

Moyers' talk hit me between the eyes because I am currently doing two apparently unrelated things. The first is that I am reading a brilliant series in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert, who demonstrates the serial collapse of many societies over the past 4,000 years brought on by environmental exhaustion. Simultaneously, I am organizing and writing a commercial project whose star is Alice In Wonderland, and whose supporting cast consists of the characters she meets in that wonderful world.

A striking aspect of Wonderland is that it appears consistent throughout in its application of logic. (Lewis Carroll was a mathematician.) Familiarity with the text of Alice makes it clear that each one of the players behaves in a baffling, absurd way but, at the same time, manages to justify extraordinary behaviour via "logical" arguments that are themselves complex. If one looks at the world through distorting lenses, one's world is distorted, rationally, and consistently.

A recent Gallup poll tells us that several million U.S. voters believe in something called the "rapture index." This relates back to a curious pastiche of biblical passages that, assembled like a forced jigsaw, show that once Israel occupies the full extent of the Holy Land, the massed armies of the anti-Christ will attack, bringing on the conflict at Armageddon. True believers will rise to heaven; the rest of us will suffer plagues similar to those that once subdued Egypt.

The journalist Glenn Scherer has reported that several million Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction should be welcomed, even hastened, if it signals the onset of the apocalypse.

Which takes me back to Alice In Wonderland. The final chapter, 12, describes the trial at which Alice refutes: questions from the King of Hearts; a poem offered by the White Rabbit; and demands by the Queen of Hearts for her head to be off. Alice responds that her accusers and the jury are, after all, only a pack of cards. That said, all of the cards in the pack rise up, fly around her face, and Alice wakes up with her head in her sister's lap.

Would that the rapture index were a dream, and the notion itself a pack of cards. And would that I might wake up!

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Robert Fripp has been writing freelance for 14 years, mostly in business, IT, engineering and science. Apart from creating, writing and editing IBM Visions for five years, he has been active in television science and wildlife documentaries and spent nine years as the series producer of the CBC's the fifth estate series. Most recently he's completed a four-part screenplay, Edith Cavell, for the Belgian Film Fund.

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IN This Issue
Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Part II: Researching Nonfiction
Part I: Researching Nonfiction
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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