As a result, I spent most of yesterday on the couch, slumped in a haze of torpor and basketball. But today I feel more normal. I have already written a letter-to-an-editor, and soon I am going to run all sorts of tedious errands and vacuum cat fur off the chairs and scrub the toilet and so on and so on, ad infinitum. But before I go, I'm going to give you some Tolstoy to think about . . . a passage I reread this morning, and that reignited my fear about this Vietnam project I'm undertaking. The story is so large . . . as large as history.
On the 12th of June the forces of Western Europe crossed the frontier, and the war began, that is, an event took place opposed to human reason and all human nature. Millions of men perpetrated against one another so great a mass of crime--fraud, swindling, robbery, forgery, issue of counterfeit money, plunder, incendiarism, and murder--that the annals of all the criminal courts of the world could not muster such a sum of wickedness in whole centuries, though the men who committed those deeds did not at that time look on them as crimes.
--Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, trans. Constance Garnett