Nine Elven Essays

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I have spent every Christmas between 20 in the United States of America — in Indianapolis, Indiana, to be specific. I turned it into more of a “personal essay” than a “review”. Now that I’ve approached the following essay as a reader, I intend to write another, sharper essay on the subject, and see about publishing it elsewhere. It’s about dating, technology, and, in a secret way, disappointment.

However, after Christmas of 2009, I left the country again. The canine breed we call the Afghan hound is doggish enough in its appearance and mannerisms that a parent would not correct a toddler who sees, points, and says “Dog”.

— that if we all as a race united and prayed constantly for peace, we would have no war.

That is not a spiritual argument — except that it is, and that it is also mathematical and scientific.

However, one of my essay-writing practices is that I try to keep the writing difficult for myself, so the bullet point list is out of the equation. Then again, you’d run laps and lift a bunch of weights in order to get in shape to — for example — play football, which is a game with strict rules, even if you’re playing it with your friends. I’ll try to write about my novel-writing process with the discipline I direct at writing novels. In other words, they will skip right over acknowledging that you’re telling a story, and you’re trying to be interesting, and coincidences are interesting. I wrote about the seven Christmases I spent away from America.

Part of that discipline requires me to acknowledge that metaphors are stupid. Included in this story are two Christmases I spent in America during the same time period. I feel I have not finished my thoughts about Tinder, or other similar technologies whose intention is to connect people to one another.At my most natural, I can guess that everyone looking at my profile, like me, simply wants to discern what it is exactly that I do for a living."Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.I only want you to know that the title of this piece represents a little sleepy thought that moved me as I sat on a high-speed train at the sun-hot height of a sleep-deprived Sunday early afternoon far away from home, pointed at last toward home. Two days before I left for a two-week business trip to Japan, I became sad about a particular thing.I am not going to talk about that particular thing. It is not my explicit intention that the many other things I talk about triangulate the location of the other particular thing.The Rings of Power were the masterwork of the Elven-smiths of Eregion headed by Celebrimbor, who was descended from Fëanor.The impetus for their creation came from Sauron, who could at that time still assume an appearance fair enough to deceive at least some of the Elves.I will not reveal the title of the other one of these novels.The first of these essays we can call “miles beneath these tires a muffin monster”. I’ve often considered, either in a spiritual mood or scientific, the Problem With The World.When I returned to the United States in 2010, I did so for an indefinite term. I have spared any insinuations toward The True Meaning Of Christmas. It is also about meditation and, in a secret way, it is about my politics. When adults begin a philosophical conversation, the issue is not as certain. I hope it is not about memory in the way that all writing is about memory.I do not imagine I will spend Christmas 2015 not in Indianapolis, Indiana. If you want a summary, I’ll tell you: I consider Christmas as good an excuse as any for a ritual self-evaluation. In a not-so-secret way, it is about the time my friend raped my friend. An Afghan hound is less an item of science and more a thought experiment: to see an Afghan hound is, if its particular haircut invites, to experience with immediacy an imagination of what terrible larger animal’s ghost it is. Maybe an essay this old — to flatter it, I’d call it “thoughtless” (its writing was easy) — is immune to my hopes.


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