Friday, December 19, 2014

Grading War Letters to Home, Winter 2014 (Day Two)

These are the letters from the second day of the 2014 Grading War.  If you landed here by accident and don't know what you're reading, click here for the backstory.

Day Two, 3:05am
My Dearest Leigh,

You cannot imagine my joy upon receiving your letter! I worked ceaselessly to fend off any and all of the dark scenarios that encroached upon my thoughts with regard to your welfare. It does my heart well to know that you were, at least for a moment, comforted – by Rabbit and Potatoes no less! You are quite right – a favored dish of mine. I shared a similar fate when the dreadful call came down to rejoin the ranks for this latest campaign. I was enjoying the company of our good friend Paul Taylor (who sends his greetings). We were licking our wounds and telling lies about earlier battles. Foolishly, I had grown comfortable in my home, with friends and family. I knew The Call to Battle would come; it always does – it is Relentless in that way. And yet, while I knew it would come, some small part of me resisted its inevitability. But, that is all irrelevant now. Here we are, once again, at The Ready, facing a foe that, at times, seems to know no fatigue, and is unremitting in its dubious determinations.

Once again, we weather the cold, endure poor rations, fight through illness and try to catch a glimmer of the stars when the Heavens will permit. We also seek to catch slivers of light and hope wherever we may find them. It is a dark time. But knowing you are well brings a faint smile to my face. (I must say - I was truly saddened by your reassignment. As they say, War is Hell; it is made all the more so when it is led by capricious, beef-witted, folly-fallen souls. You are sorely missed in many of the quarters of our camp. From what I hear, you are flourishing in your new position. I hope that is the case.)

I was heartened to read that the Philosophy Company you battle with was prepared for the Onslaught of the Opposition. I can only hope that we in the History Division have a sliver of the Courage you and your Comrades must routinely display. Our initial encounter with The Opposition resembled yours. We saw many of the same weapons: Non-Sequitur canons, the rapid-fire Run-On Sentence Rifles. We were also prepared for the ravages wrought by the Haphazard Citation Formations (this one is a particularly fiendish maneuver, and always so troublesome.) But we were NOT prepared for what, to us at least, looked like a new, nefarious technique: Reality Inversion. This is the Godless practice of taking information they were provided with during a time of relative Peace, and perverting and distorting it until it no longer resembles its original form. I’ve seen members of the Opposition deploy this technique with grim regularity. It is both sickening and astounding what they can produce with this dark weapon. In their hands, up is down, black is white, and History becomes Rumor, Myth, Innuendo and the Faintest Suggestion. Ultimately, it is the Conviction with which they proclaim these untruths (or former truths?) – with incessant determination – that I find so dispiriting. But, this is the Nature of our War, isn’t it? We are cursed to see these rhetorical atrocities, these hasty-witted formulations, and to do battle with them. This Grading War seems overwhelming at times. The horror that is visited upon the Language, the Discipline, indeed, upon Thought itself, drives me to the brink of Despair. This Vile Endeavor does more than sadden me; it Sullies my Soul.

Like you, we scratch and scrape our way to Victory, but as you know, that is the most temporary of situations. We are bloodied, but hopeful. And we live to fight another day.

It goes without saying that I hope these few, disappearing words find you well and warm. I will try to write to you once again after our next campaign. May God Bless You and Keep You, my friend.

Yours in the Eternal Bond,
Charles W. McKinney

Day Two, 7:45pm
Dear Leigh, 

I trust in your grace to receive this missive from a humble servant. I have heard of your skill in writing encouraging letters from the Grading War, and I fervently hope that our Encouragement of one another shall keep up our spirits as we engage the terrible foe in all the places where they Attack. The Opposition continues to besiege, attacking us this day as we huddle behind the walls of Fort Final. Pressed as we are not only with the ferocity of our common Enemy but also with mounting despair over yet another Christmas spent far from home, we fail to see the promised Justice, Fairness, Nobility, &c. of our Cause, which our Leaders preach with indefatigable sternness, such that one would be forced to wonder if they are fighting the same war as we, and that one would certainly conclude that they are not. The Enemy's arms in this present siege are principally Objective Questions, yet the lightness of these munitions are accompanied on nearby fronts by a larger and more terrible Weapon, the Thesis Proposal, a most nefarious 125-mm cannon. This last is the most fearsome when the ammunition is loaded therein and lobbed in our direction by a most terrible band of mercenaries, the English-as-a-Second-Language Brigade. This Brigade fights not only with the TP but also constantly Harries us with small-arms skirmishes, with no Day of the campaign beginning without a Red Dawn, the sign that Noble Blood has been spilled in the night just spent. The Enemy has, alas, recruited soldiers from all round the globe, such that we not only fear the Non-Sequitur Canons, and the Run-On Sentence Rifles, and even air strikes from Two-Page Paragraph Planes, but also we are forced continually to revise and modify our Tactics, as the different companies of this Brigade use their common weapon, the English Mistakes Dagger, with fearsome skill. Moreover, and since they all wield it to great effectiveness it is a most nefarious Weapon, and Whereas that each company uses the blade in a different way, we are unable often to prepare for an assault in advance, even when we know this blade is present. Nevertheless, my heart clings to the hope, as I have been graced with a glorious gift of Leave for three weeks. If I shall survive the current battle--and the numbers of the Opposition continue to dwindle, so brightness is coming--I shall not have to report again for duty until 12th January. I dare not think of the Horror that lies ahead, though it marches toward me from the future with irrepressible advance. I pray that you will remain safe the final days of your campaign, though they are certain to be arduous. And I pray that you will find Solace in the company of your family during Christmas, if even for a brief respite. 

Again with hope that a letter from a new correspondent shall not be unwelcome. I am 

Your humble servant, 
Mitch

Click here to proceed to DAY THREE of the 2014 Grading War Letters to Home

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