I spent most of Sunday gnashing my teeth. the reasons why are pointless to explain (same o'crud). then I did the stupid thing of reading myself a bedtime story so depressing that it carried my mood overnight and now I am officially in the glums.

The book, Dennis Brandt's Pathway to Hell isn't spectacularly written ~ it's rather short (barely over 200 pages), and isn't exhaustive about much ~ but that made it perfect for me: no long explanations of campaigns I already know too well, no endless nattering about hardtack. instead it's a true chronicle largely in Angelo Crapsey's own words from his letters and diary, documenting in the most painful way imaginable, his slow decline into self-destructive dementia.

Crapsey's story is unique as far as books of the war go, though there's unfortunately nothing unique about what happened to him. It tells the story that Paulson's Soldier's Heart tries to tell, but doesn't.

When I think back on the origins of Reconstruction, I think i wrote it in part because this book hadn't been written. Crapsey's story is more heartbreaking than any novel anyone could ever write: a disaster that could have been avoided a hundred different ways. The circumstances of his bizarre upbringing at the hand of a religious whack-job father, his fervor for the Union, his abolitionist sentiments that sour after emancipation drags the war into a seemingly endless slaughter, the shame of his surrender and imprisonment ~ all of it horrible, horrible ~ and then to come home to the father-figure and friend he looked up to the most only to find himself rebuffed, feared, and ostracized. And finally the everyday event that led to Crapsey's end is so banal, almost ~ so utterly human in its simple cruelty. It isn't any wonder he blew his brains out. Twenty two years old.

Of course I imagined a different end once upon a time for Reconstruction which is in many ways this same story: an endless cycle of addictions, an abusive marriage, desolation, death. Even I was never so brave to actually make any of that stick, though. I had to find some hope in there somewhere. So I did.

But there was none for a lot of young boys like Crapsey. Even Howard Bahr didn't shrink from drawing us a picture in The Judas Field (which is maybe why I didn't like that book as much as I wanted to ~ it hit a nerve with me).

So yeah. I don't know why I am writing this except to wonder at the meaning of it all. I really seem to be out of touch with the world in so many ways. I don't see that improving, either, and it concerns me from time to time.

from LookingLand.com

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sparowe: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparowe

Personally, I think finding hope is an important element, so good on you.

From: [identity profile] lookingland.livejournal.com

it's a good thing hope is free! ours for the taking.

Thank God for that.

: D

From: [identity profile] countrysoaper.livejournal.com

I have no stomach for cruelty and unnecessary heartbreak. Stories like this have ruined my mood, too.

From: [identity profile] lookingland.livejournal.com

i wish i could go so far to say all heartbreak is unnecessary, though recently i read this great quote to the effect that sometimes the only way for God to get into your heart is to break it. i remind myself that people who have suffered and died are reborn and comforted in the after.

but yeah, kinda a killjoy of a read just after Easter ~ hahahahahaha ~

: D

From: [identity profile] java-fiend.livejournal.com

Oh no, don't be in the glums!

Image (http://s47.photobucket.com/albums/f166/java_fiend/?action=view&current=hugs_05.jpg)


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