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2004-11-21 | 1:08 p.m.

Dreamed that we were under attack. I was in some luxury high-rise with a passel of children, not necessarily my own, running around the lobby, trying to decide whether we could get anywhere useful on foot; seeing a mushroom cloud take shape on a barber shop TV screen, then scrambling through somebody else's glossy black-surfaced apartment, trying not to be found. We ended up in the bathroom, on the floor, me shushing the children, trying to keep them calm, and listening for the approach of the enemy.

After I woke up, I told Duff what I had dreamed and he showed me the cover story of the newspaper section he was reading. It showed a huge, full-color mushroom cloud over a burning San Francisco, with the headline "Unthinkable?" in 72-point type.

None of this has done anything good for my state of mind, but I can't think of anything to do about it except write a Christmas letter saying what I really think. (Ooooh, risky! Might offend someone! And not a mind will change!)

Seriously, am thinking it's time for a new career. Want to become an activist for social and political change. Will write clear, comprehensible essays that really do change minds. Isn't my true skill as a writer just ... explaining things? I wrote hundreds, maybe thousands, of how-to tips. Surely I can change people's minds about nuclear proliferation.

All of which came to me after browsing giveaway copy of Scholastic grade-school publication, 100 People Who Changed America. I take my inspiration where I can get it.

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