I like my walls. I like putting holes in them with bits of metal. I like making the loud noise with the hammer – like cannon fire. I like putting pretty things on the bits of metal and feeling like other humans can know me just by glancing at a jumble of paper and plaster in a house.
But I only put things you can see on my walls. Pictures with frames. Raw-edged photos. Shiny cut outs from magazines. Lots of things that were once part of calendars. I am not one of those that hangs words. My walls will not tell you to “dream”. Nowhere will my apartment ask you to “believe”. If you came to see me wanting to read “love”, “laugh” or “home” in large scripty fonts, I will disappoint you.
I make windows and mirrors all over my house with pictures. Just pictures. Because this is how some stories are made. This is how walls talk; this is the language they use. Mine are absolutely singing. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t have secrets.
This is why I am a “lover” and not a “fighter”, and when that line is drawn, I fall spectacularly into crumbly oatmeal-heart pieces on that side. A strong, silent soldier I am not. And my walls will tell you no lies – you don’t need the stale words from Target, because you can see it everywhere.
Don’t ask me to be a spy. Fighters? Spies? Talking walls? I think we’re on to something.
Some walls are a vacuum. Some people inside those walls have sleeves without mushy hearts, sleeves decorated in the art of war. These stories are told differently. These stories need coaxing to be told. We need a professional coaxer. How fortuitous:
Recently featured on the front page of the New York Times book review, veteran military journalist Fred Kaplan knows how to say what these secret walls cannot. Bringing his new book, The Insurgants: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, Kaplan will share how a small group of “soldier-scholars” sought to reshape 21st century American military. Join him tonight, Thursday, January 31st at the Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch.
Currently working as a columnist for Slate magazine, and with contributions also featured in the likes of The New York Times, The Atlantic and The New Yorker, Fred Kaplan has been covering international relations and U.S. foreign policy for decades. Using his experience in the field of military journalism, and providing readers with an avalanche of secret documents, private emails and special interviews with more than a hundred insiders, Kaplan’s The Insurgents weaves a true-life tale of how the modern American military wages battle – both abroad and on the homefront. Starting at 7pm, Kaplan will present his book and his thoughts, revealing how the prominent players in today’s warzones have created their own circle of war strategy and culture beyond the public eye.
Their walls surely have everything to say, but no windows there to do the talking. These are fighters. Brave the snow, join Fred Kaplan tonight at the Library and break the silence.
The Louisville Free Public Library's Main branch is located at 301 York Street. This event is free, but tickets are required. Call (502) 574-1644 to reserve seats.
Image: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org