To make myself feel better, I’m going to pledge to write a book – right here, right now – about politics. Keep reading though, because even though a book about politics may only be something you’d read if it was the last book left in the prison library… you’re going to love my book. It’s going to talk about Democrats and Republicans. It’s going to talk about elected officials. It will detail campaigns and elections and discuss the divide between getting elected and actually governing.
You’re going to read it. Then you’re going to read it again.
Sound boring? Insert me. Insert me as a national operative that works in the seedy underworld of special interest money. (Hey, in just an hour and a half I have a call about how to discretely direct millions of dollars into a few fringe third-party candidates…). Insert me as a campaign hack that has spent 15 years working around the country on a variety of local, state and national campaigns. Insert me as someone who, for a long time, couldn’t make responsible sense out of relationships, couldn’t stand to not be in the middle of everything and never could pick a direction that would eventually connect me to adulthood.
Insert me as someone who wouldn’t read a book about politics either.
Rest assured, my book won’t be about policy fights and the ideological battle of good versus evil. That said, throughout the book there will be an over-arching theme of a broken system whose gluttony for power and money has long hijacked the purpose for which it was constructed in the first place. Because that’s what I think. But there will be a whole lot more, too.
Like maybe I’ll include the time I got a Fed-Ex package stuffed with cash from the office of an elected official or when I had to pay off a local magistrate for the right to campaign in his county. Or maybe I will detail three women – two of which are now elected officials and the other a high level staffer for a senior member of congress – and the sordid trysts we shared over one long and lonely campaign (none of them are in this picture). Could be interesting to write about the time we had to ‘hire’ a girlfriend for our candidate. Because he needed to be seen with one. Because there were rumors about him that weren’t helpful towards us winning. And for sure I’ll share the time I threw up in the bathroom of the !@#%^! Because I was so hung over from the night before. And I’m definitely going to write about the guy I have to get on the phone with in a few minutes because I hate him. See what I mean? I’ve already started a list of stories you will love and, believe me, I’m not wasting any of the really juicy stories on this teaser.
Trust me…it will be a good book.
Ok, so I’m jealous.
It’s aggravating the fuck out of me to hear that I have three peers that are either writing books or have just finished writing them.
Aggravation 1 – that they are passionate enough to write about the progressive movement. I have been in this field for 15 years now and have about 10x as much spite as I do passion for my work. And I don’t mean that to diminish what I, myself, think or believe in. I’m very passionate about my personal politics. Rather, I am just cynical of the actual design that I’m a part of, if that makes any sense. It’s a sociopathic, mechanized system that consumes money to get its calories. And I guess if I was a visionary, I would be looking for ways to make things better. Hell, I am a part of those discussions all the time. How do we build a permanent, progressive campaign? Truthfully, at the end of the day I have developed a very transactional, if not co-dependent, relationship with my work; I do it because it does what I need it to do.
Aggravation 2 – that they are writing more than I am. My writing has, in large part, slowed to a near halt as parenthood and work have begun to evaporate my free time in half-lives. How do these fuckers do it? We work in the same m@!@% f@!^# field. Now I have a different agenda for my writing than they do. For one, I want a decent chronology of my ups and downs over time to remind myself who I am and where I’ve been – good and bad. That’s mental health writing and you’re reading a prescription for anti-anxiety now. But more to the point, I haven’t been writing creatively. I’ve got eight completed scripts, 30+short stories or so, a half written book and about 90 bazillion ideas sketched out for various things and I have made no progress on those or on anything new in years.
Aggravation 3 – that I have things to say about politics too! I don’t write about work much. Never really. And that’s sad because I’ve got a lot of me in work…happy me, anxious me, professional me…sometimes mad me. If I write for mental health, seems like all the aforementioned alter-egos would be served well by an occasional mental consolidation. But it’s also sad because a lot of shit goes down that other people would find interesting. But I can’t do it. Until I decide to depart this field forever and stop relying on politics to put juice and lunchables in the fridge…I will not be spouting off any insider trading secrets.
Countless times I have gone on these long rants about not self-editing. I’ve said, ‘Writing what I want to write about and making it public is personal accountability that I am being genuine and not living a compartmentalized existence. I’m not being one person to some people and someone completely different to everyone else.’ Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Simply put, anything I would have to say about work is just too radioactive to go in any public journal of mine, let alone my “book.”