In the past twenty-four hours, one of my old friends has gotten great life-changing news and a friend from high school revealed he is dying, quickly, of cancer. And somehow learning of both things together has left me feeling existentially exhausted.
Life. It is too much and never enough.
I hope I am doing right by people. I really do.
Wow, I’ve gotten some really nice feedback on the Finnelson piece. I mean, really nice. I’m kind of stunned, because I never did find out why Finnelson did what he did. But I tell you what, the longer I blog for The Scene, the more I’m convinced that people, especially in Nashville, are hungry for stories about the past–even messy stories that don’t really have a resolution.
I might not be the best writer on these things, but I love those stories, so I am glad to get to tell them. And I really love that era of about 1770-1815 or so. The people there are just full of interesting crap.
Still, man, sometimes you read nonfiction about the past and it’s so good. You feel like you really have gained some insight into how people were. I don’t have that talent, yet. But I want it.
Another thing I want is to read more books in which Native Americans are treated more as individuals. One of the biggest problems I had understanding what was going on here is that, for instance, it’s obvious that the Cherokees have big differences of opinions on things and different loyalties to each other–and those loyalties can be based on family relations, clan relations, and where one lives, along with personal opinion and preference–you know, how it works for people in general–and yet, so many of the texts I consulted just treated them like a monolith, even in the face of the rise of the Chickamaugas (which should be a huge clue that people within groups associate with subgroups within those groups) that it’s hard to understand what’s really going on.
It would be nice to read works in which everyone is recognized to have mixed motives. I want to see it done well, because I’d like to learn to do it well.