Sunday, October 12, 2008
This is my desk. It's in the basement, along one corner of my library. All the books in the picture, over and around my desk, are part of my psychology thesis, now to be part of the research for the book I'm writing. They consist of most of the books I own about combat, the psychology of killing, and the processes by which veterans reintegrate into civilian society. The binders on the desk (middle of the picture) hold most of the paper copies of research studies I've read. On the left side of the desk, on top of a tiny bookshelf, are copies of the American Psychological Association journals Military Psychology, Psychology of Addictive Behavior, and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. The photographs stuck to the shelves are
Also, there's a small collection of frogs made of ivory, glass, wood, plastic, and rubber.
I've read most of the books. Many made me cry. Many horrified me. Some combined with fatigue or medication to inspire hallucinations. Scanning the spines, I see many words repeated: trauma, military, war, combat, soul, honor, PTSD, stress, psychology, hell, killing, obedience, aggression, hero, violence, death, warrior. I'm trying to discover what a warrior is. I am studying killing. I study killing like a virgin studying sex - through books and imagination and the experiences of others. This corner of my library is devoted to figuring out what killing means. What trauma means. How a human being can act to hurt another. What torture does to the torturer.
There's a little American flag in the pencil holder. There's a silver box a Turkish shopkeeper gave me. There's a red silk box with squirrel bones, a .22 casing, and a flawless one inch sphere of quartz. There's a stuffed bunny I sewed.
The chair is more comfortable than it looks.
I'm sitting there now with a Pottery Barn catalog, a Lisa Frank notebook (with a fairy and butterfly and lizard in neon pink, green, blue, and yellow), and my two cats. Dr. Phil is telling me "Monsters and Ghosts work in the dark." A half-finished poem and a notebook with doodles of the flow of a website I'm designing are among the mosaic of paper to my right.
I suddenly realize I'm blogging to avoid a writing task that involves a couple of books on the minds of Adolf Eichmann and Franz Stangl. Damn it. Okay, back into the darkness I must go)