What would happen if Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary and architect of the war on terror, was abducted at night from his Maryland home, held without charges in his own prison system, denied a trial, and kept in a place where no one could find him, beyond the reach of the law? Donald by Stephen Elliott and Eric Martin is a high-wire allegory that answers this question, but it is also a novel rooted in the harrowing stories of real people caught in America’s military campaigns.
Today on the site, Stephen Elliott imagines what if instead of starting a war, Rumsfeld had given relationship advice.
In love there are things you know, and things you don’t know, and things you don’t know you don’t know. You can’t share your feelings with your lover when you don’t know what those feelings are. Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up. Don’t treat your lover in a way you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Washington Post. Don’t speak ill of your girlfriends ex-boyfriends. Enjoy your time together, it may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life. First rule of love: you can’t win unless you’re on the ballot. I don’t do quagmires. If you screw up, talk it out, delays only compound mistakes. In our system relationships require consent, not command. Every day in every relationship is filled with numerous opportunities for serious error, enjoy it. It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. It isn’t making mistakes that’s critical; it’s correcting them. Leave your lover’s family business to them; you’ll have plenty to do without trying to manage the First Family. Let your friends know you’re still the same person. Look for what’s missing, your friends can tell you how to improve, but they can’t help you see what isn’t there. Love is human beings; it’s addition rather than subtraction. Preserve your lover’s options, she need them. The price of being close to another human being is delivering bad news, you fail them when you don’t tell the truth. The way to do well is to do well. If possible, visit the ex, they know the ropes and can help you see around corners. When raising an issue with your lover try to come away with a decision; pose issues so as to evoke guidance. You will launch many projects but have time to finish only a few. Your new girlfriend is not your old girlfriend. Your performance in a relationship depends on your significant other; select the best. Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.
Buy a copy of Donald here.
SUGGESTED READSAnother in a Series of Letters to Josh, an Aspiring Writer, from His Cousin, John Hodgman, A Professional Literary Agent.
by John Hodgman (12/22/1999)
The Convergences Contest: Contest Winner #21: Moral Confusion: Iraq, Munich, and Vietnam
by Donald Rumsfeld (11/2/2006)
The Convergences Contest: Contest Winner #22:
Seeing the Tree for the Forest
by Walter Murch (11/10/2006)
RECENTLYHitchcock After Therapy
by Shannon Reed (4/27/2015)
Hungover Bear and Friends: A Negative Grudge Endangers Recovery
by Ali Fitzgerald (4/27/2015)
I Feel Like NPR Doesn’t Like My New Radio Show Idea
by Dan Kennedy (4/24/2015)