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"Two out of Three"

     "Books that heal" was the announced theme of the Border Book Festival
in Las Cruces last winter, but they didn't mean it.  They meant "books by
healers."  Amador Publishers proposed a workshop on our attempts to produce
"books that heal," but were turned down, since we had interpreted the
announced theme literally.  We had taken three serious "ailments" that
needed healing, and produced a book for each one.

     [1]  The first ailment we tackled was "Christmas and all that pain."
Michelle Miller convinced me, very easily, that we needed to collect and
publish an anthology of writing about "the downside of the holidays."  We
began to search for writers who shared our concern.  We found some, but the
project stalled, until Zelda Gatuskin joined the team of editors.  She
knows how to make things happen.  We ended up with more than a hundred
manuscripts:  short stories, essays, poems, memoirs, cartoons, rants.  We
selected sixty, and Amador published CHRISTMAS BLUES: BEHIND THE HOLIDAY
MASK.  Zelda found the subtitle.
     The pieces fell into five sections:  Tradition, Family, Outsiders,
Stuff and Remythologizing.  The book heals.  First it healed the editors.
Finding kindred spirits, and wallowing in it until we were saturated seemed
to do the trick for us.  Readers and blurbers also reported healing.  One
advised, "It works best in small doses, out of season."

     [2]  The second ailment that we tackled was "God and all that guilt."
With a post-graduate degree and more than a decade of professional
ecclesiastical experience, topped with a colossal institutional failure
which resulted in a major career change, I have done a great deal of
thinking, and writing, about "God."
     I conducted a written enquiry which took years:  "Well, Harry, if you
don't believe that, what do you believe?"  I prepared a manuscript,
originally entitled, GOD ANONYMOUS, like a 12-step handbook, except the
obsession that needed treating was the Higher Power, so the A.A. solution,
to "turn it over to a Higher Power," wouldn't work.  The thing kept
evolving, and finally became FREEDOM FROM GOD: RESTORING THE SENSE OF
WONDER.  After "New York," which is my code name for the large publishing
industry conglomerate corporation, told me it was too specialized, that
there was no mass-market interest in such a book, Amador brought it out.  
     This book also heals.  It healed me.  The liberation that I found
motivated me to try to share it with others, and others, one by one,
indicate to me that they too have been set free, and that the book helped.
"A breath of fresh air," one said.  "I can tell those missionaries to back
off," another exulted.  "The second half, where you describe living with an
enhanced sense of wonder, is the best!" said another.  

     [3]  We tackled a third ailment that needed healing:  "WIPP and all
that poison."  WIPP is the Department of Energy's first repository for the
low-level nuclear waste produced by the production of our country's nuclear
PLANET, by Charles Hyder.  The first fifty pages contain Dr. Hyder's
scientific reasons for believing that WIPP is not a safe repository for
nuclear waste.  He links the destruction of living cells by alpha rays to
genome size.  The amphibians are already in trouble because their cell
nuclei are the largest of all and have already been damaged by radiation
from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini, Nevada and other US war arsenal secrets,
as well as the USSR's similar "experiments" and accidents.
     The second half of Dr. Hyder's book pledges a "terminal fast," if WIPP
should open.  The facility opened, but Hyder's friends revived him when he
fell unconscious after 82 days of fasting, preventing the terminal part.
The upshot is that he, and we, failed with this book.  We failed to heal
the planet.  The plutonium is now loose in wet salt under pressure, and
more is being added to the release system every week.

     Two out of three, we scored, in the "books that heal" department.  One
is tempted to think, "Well, two out of three ain't bad," but the one that
failed is the one that will prove fatal.  Christmas and God can be dealt
with individually and mentally, because they are both imaginary, at bottom.
 But plutonium is not imaginary, even though the damage and the time frame
involved are unimaginable for most people.
     Alpha rays blowing cell nuclei to smithereens for 250,000 years is not
what most people care to spend any of their precious time thinking about.
So they handle it the same way they usually handle Christmas and God --
they refuse to think about it seriously and persistently.  They shove all
three things away, out of consciousness.
     Christmas troubles people very little, if they don't think about it
much.  God doesn't bother and oppress those people who never think about
him.  Both Christmas and God can be put under control, by careful and
protracted honest thinking, and the resulting relief and liberation can be
very positive factors in one's life.
     But thinking about it, or not, doesn't change plutonium.  What is
required is action, a united will, changed priorities, changed commitments,
changed policies, changed behavior.  The situation remains dire, if not
hopeless.  Plutonium is mankind's most serious attempt to interfere with
Nature, and it is quite like Nature itself.  It doesn't change anything to
lie about it, or to refuse to think about it.  It simply is what it is and
does what it does.  And what plutonium does is bring to an end those life
forms with large genome size.  That includes the humans.
     But it works slowly, and randomly.  The universe does play dice with
us, in spite of Einstein's unscientific assertion that "God does not play
dice with the universe."  So, maybe there's time, for individuals to find
healing.  If you're needing healing, from either of the first two ailments,
it will probably still be worthwhile to get help.  And we have these books...
                            *   *   *
Copyright © 2002 Harry Willson

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