Things I am Learning While Writing This Thing

1. The most popular rifle available during the Civil War was the Springfield. I don’t think there was actually a dominatrix in Black Bottom who would beat you with one after the War, but why the hell not?

2. Crinolines did not go out of fashion right after the War. One had to sit carefully in them or they would flip up on you and show the world your pantalettes.

3. ‘Pantalettes’ is a word I just learned tonight. I thought they were called “bloomers” but no, those came later. ‘Pantalettes.’ Suddenly, ‘panties’ makes sense.

4. Could someone kiss your intimate region (i.e. your cooter) while you were wearing a hoop skirt? Yes, but not easily. Would you be able to watch? No. Could your sister watch from an upstairs window? Yes. Lesson? This is not a very historically accurate book so far.

5. I was kind of bummed by the lack of historical accuracy, but then I thought, well, fuck it. No book is really 100% historically accurate. It’s all kind of a dream you have about the past. I’m just upping the dream feeling of it.

6. I have planned the book to end in roughly 1887. I’m still in 1865 right now, but I’m about done. Sue just needs to go out to Tuscalum to see about a woman. Then is 1867, when bad things happen. I kind of have the book set up to have two climaxes. There’s 1867, when the cave is discovered, Lee Overton kills his wife in order to marry Sue, and then Lee goes through the cave thinking he’s going to the spirit realm only to wind up in Nashville now.

7. Then it is 1887–the year Lee returns. And thus the actual climax of the book is the final conflict between him and the woman he thinks wronged him.

8. Here’s what I wonder about, though. And I know it’s a common problem with time travel books. But there’s Lee, sitting in 1867 and he jumps forward to 2010, then back to 1887. He’s also, obviously, dead in 2010, since he was born in 1837. So, is it like a straight line? Livinglivingdeaddeadlivingdead? Or is Lee’s life a straight trajectory of livinglivinglivingdeaddeaddead, even if that’s on a timeline that includes a big jump forward and back? Is time more like a large spiral? Imagine a spring big enough that 1867 and 2010 are on the same timeline and yet also appear to be running parallel with each other. Is it then just a matter of leaping between coils? He’s never dead between the 1800s and now from his perspective, because to him, he’s just up or down a coil?

That’s partially why I decided to let him both be gone 20 years and age 20 years, so that it would seem as if the whole timeline turns at the same rate. You can jump eras, but you can’t get outside the passage of time. If 20 years go by, 20 years go by, no matter where you spend them.

Still, I wonder what was in the casket for all those years. I wonder if, when he died, he just waited snuggly in his grave, knowing he was going to blink back on in a hundred and thirty years.

It kind of hurts my brain to think about.

Didn’t the Republicans Win?

I have to say, there’s a certain something that, once Southern Beale pointed it out, I’ve not been able to unsee: the rise of the unnamed, put-upon Republicans.

In Beale’s post, there’s a quote from Ron Ramsey: “Most people don’t want to be cited publicly. … They are dealing with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and think there will be repercussions.”

Then Jeff Woods has this quote from Governor Baby:

But after drawing withering criticism in the media and elsewhere for his crackdown, Haslam is biding his time and walking gingerly around this topic. The public swamped the governor’s office with complaints about the arrests. Of 400 emails to the governor’s office, only 11 supported Haslam. He now acknowledges both sides in the controversy and casts himself as caught in the middle.“

You know, this is one of those that there’s a lot of opinions on. I have a lot of people who thought that when we went in and tried to implement a curfew that we were wrong,” the governor told reporters last week. “I’ve had a whole lot of people say I can’t believe that’s happening on that property. If I went and set up a tent there four weeks ago, would you have let me stay? So there’s a lot of passionate feelings around it on both sides.”

(Now, let’s just acknowledge that it’s a bit strange, when you find yourself between 400 people on one side and 11 people on the other, to cast yourself as being in the middle of any thing. But more importantly, note the “whole lot of people” who remain nameless.)

And then over at Pith, Rick Womick is telling Steve Gill about more nameless people: “As for my fellow legislators, I’ve gotten multiple phone calls of support and text messages of support. Those who are not wanting to speak out publicly are not wanting to come out and condemn me either. They are quietly supporting me in the background.”

Here is my question: Didn’t the Republicans win? Do we not live in a state where the Democratic party is a hopeless clusterfuck of “As long as I get mine, fuck the rest of you” and well-meaning people who get burnt out throwing themselves against the immovable wall of the “I got mine” folks?

So, why are so many Republicans, who seem to be thrilled with the behavior of prominent Republicans, not willing to come forward and say so in public? If these are popular and wide-spread opinions, if the majority of Tennesseans put you in office, why are so many Republicans not willing to say “Yes, I believe this”; “Yes, I saw this”; “Yes, I, too, experienced this” and put their names on it?

The Republicans are in charge. The Democrats are in disarray. Who are these Republicans afraid of?

Is this really such a state full of chickenshits that even when the political costs could not be lower, Republicans still won’t step up and own their positions?

Did I Have a Good Idea?

One thing about a state like Tennessee, you’re never sure when you say something like this whether it spurred someone to try something like this. Could have been something I said. Could have been that it was just utterly obvious. Either way, I’m glad to see Democrats proposing something.

But, on the off chance it’s my influence, I’m kind of pissed that I didn’t blog last week that Democratic leaders should come clean my bathroom.

Or make me cookies.

Yes, I am all for democracy until I start to dwell on the fact that being dictator would mean people would have to bring me cookies whenever I wanted, which would be frequently.

Really, it shows why dictatorships don’t quite work–even when you’re joking about being one, your mind immediately goes to how you’d abuse being dictator for your own gains. It probably also shows why it’s hard to pass dictatorships down to your kids. If they’ve never wanted for anything, how can they have the drive necessary to boss everyone around? Being a dictator is going to turn you into a sociopath, but your kids will start out there.

Still… cookies.