The Rumpus: An Essay On The Power Of Nonfiction

A beautiful, short, poignant essay about being transformed by Orwell’s essay, “Shooting an Elephant.”

“I started arguments with the Pittsburgh kids, legacy democrats, and was not well liked. Outside for a cigarette I asked them for a light then attacked them ad hominem the first chance I got. Democrats distributed wealth, which was socialism, and the difference between socialism and communism was so slight to be negligible. I regarded anyone who disparaged the Bush administration or the war on terror as a coward and a fool. America and Christianity were narratives of faith and strength and I could not tolerate unbelief . . .

. . . I wanted very badly to be good at writing. It had something to do with the size of the world and how it thrilled me. There was a big narrative going on out there: tanks were running fast through the desert, G.I.s were marching bearded men across the sand at gunpoint, our president was evoking the name of God. The world had become clear and palpable. There was a battle between the righteous and the deceived. I understood the truth and wanted to be able to stir the hearts of men with it.”

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