Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

09 Nov 2001, 13:32 p.m.

Crying: Last night I read Harlan Ellison's Paladin of the…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Crying: Last night I read Harlan Ellison's Paladin of the Lost Hour and cried. I've been thinking that nothing lasts. Sherwood Anderson has this great line in Winesburg, Ohio, in the short story "Sophistication."

There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. ... He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds, a thing destined like corn to wilt in the sun....
The sun is like time. It nurtures us, it lets us grow, and then it kills us. This particular melancholy thought I first had about three years ago.

(Whilst looking up "Paladin," I found another story by Ellison, "Susan", which speaks to the same sorrow.)

I woke up this morning to National Public Radio. Various listeners spoke of how their lives have changed in the past two months, because of the immediate shock of the terrorist attacks on New York and D.C., and because of the war, antiterrorism actions, and other terrorism-related recent events. One woman joined the Peace Corps. One American Literature class can relate better to Bradstreet, Sandburg, Whitman, and Ginsberg.

I've been paranoid and melancholy for years. The recent terrorist attacks just confirmed it.