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Alex Baer: Cinders, a Trump Card

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 Trump cardMost people know when something is missing.  Sometimes, it's a perfect word to finish a thought, or else a certain condiment to take the sandwich to "perfect."  Me, at this odd moment at the crossroads of the American Experiment?  I am missing certain writers.

Some writers are compasses of their eras, helping us find our way forward.  Others are beacons, to illuminate where we are, where we might want to go, or avoid going. Some are just comfort and solace --good company during whatever storms and strife we hapless, knot-headed humans have stumbled into this time.

Think of them as providing inspiration, companionship, guidance, patience, understanding, sympathy, empathy -- all of it:  Mother, Father, Confessor, Lover, Professor...  They are the whisky by the campfire, the hearty breakfast after a long night's gabbing into early hours, the hot coffee when you trod in, soaked in a cold downpour.

They help pick up the pieces, reorient yourself to the stars and the fates, and give heart for the journey ahead.  The best writers give you a sense of being perfectly equipped for the tasks ahead, for being in the right place at exactly the right time -- even for doing what needs to be done, however grand or unpleasant.

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