Nothing is the short answer. That's about all I've been doing since leaving my job three years ago. Selling a house, buying another, riding my bike every day, losing weight, eating well. Sorry, all that counts as nothing. Have you been writing, everybody asks. Do you have a job?
No and no. I'm living off pensions and investments and reading. I'm getting ready to write by reading others. That's what I say. Oh, yeah. And I say I've started a blog. To be exact, I've started three blogs. Two had to be abandoned because I got tired of them, in-laws were reading them and I didn't like their names. Those are all good excuses for Blogger abuse. Blogger must be filled with dead blogs containing a few half-hearted entries. It's got to be a huge electronic drawer for America's unfinished novels and memoirs. It must be a horrible mess in that drawer.
About the reading I'm doing: I'll read almost anything that strikes my interest, but what most strikes my interest is the literature on the Iraq war. I've read them all. Cobra II, Fiasco and that Emerald City one about the teeming Republican life inside the Green Zone. Yes, I've read them all, if you include Blood Money, which I'm just finishing, about the corruption and incompetence of the "rebuilding" effort in Iraq. This is the least publicized of the Iraq war histories, but author T. Christian Miller lays out the complete criminal negligence of the Bush-Halliburton program. They stole money from the taxpayers, from the Iraqis, they got thousands killed for their own profit and they shamed our nation.
If you're ever unemployed for just long enough to read one book about the Iraq disaster, I recommend this one. It's the book with the least publicized fuck-ups in it. It follows the money, unlike Bob Woodward's books, which follow his finger in the air or up some powerful person's poo-hole.
So I'm lying here, watching Iraq and the United States go down the tubes, and you know what astounds me most? The histories of this disaster have already been written. The killing, corruption and lies are still happening, and the books about it are all lined up at your local Borders. It wasn't until the war in Vietnam was over for several years that the histories came out and the lies exposed. In this war, the first, second and third drafts of history have been written and the war goes on.
And Bush goes on. But he has an excuse. He doesn't read.