Diary, 1/26 to 1/28/19

Watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula, finally, a very ambitious attempt to make people forget the 1931 Bela Lugosi classic. Director Coppola took the only possible approach to such an attempt, going back to the original book and trying to bring the essence of that masterpiece to fire-breathing unlife. In this he was mostly successful, but some choices seem regrettably silly. The Videohound review at two bones is ridiculous, and the criticism of Winona Ryder’s performance as “way over the top” is even moreso...

Diary, 1/24 to 1/25/19

I had asked Pablo to read a chapter in Kick Me (“I Survived the Worst Day of My Life”) and let me know what he thought: was it worth keeping in the book? Well, he read it and mostly didn’t like it, though he waffled around and later praised it, ridiculously. But mostly he just wanted to give me advice on how to write, and how to make it funny, and how to “improve it,” and so on. I wanted his reaction to it as a reader, but he wouldn’t let it rest...

Diary, 1/19 to 1/23/19

Persistent vertigo interfered with my Writers Writing this morning, as did the arrival of Pablo at about 9:30, but I put in three and a half hours, mostly working on KM. New macros I had added to my “ribbon” didn’t work, though they worked yesterday, so I still have confusion about how macros are saved and templates and so on. That’s pretty damned frustrating, though there have been workarounds so far. Even more frustrating is that the “help system” is generally useless and stupidly designed. I’ve been doing word processing since around 1980, and computer and macro programming for decades, yet when it comes to Word, I’m practically a beginner—despite extensive (though fifteen-year-old) experience with Visual Basic. Naturally, I blame Microsoft, not myself.

Diary, 1/14 to 1/18/2019

Okay. It’s good that I have expressed these thoughts, because let’s face it: Leo Tolstoy was no great philosopher, perhaps not even a great religious thinker and writer, yet he persuaded. The combination of specific writer and specific reader can work miracles, even if neither is “of the first rank.” Because books are, at bottom, communication, and it isn’t necessarily the most perfect book that changes someone’s life. We pursue our dreams because they are ours, not because they are guaranteed of success and high praise.

Diary, 1/12 to 1/14/19

My Writers Writing work this morning was also disappointing. I spent a lot of time struggling with MS Word, and a lot of time struggling with my approach to the material. I was alternately judgmental and defensive, and not happy with either approach. While talking to Pablo later about it, I recognized that I can make no judgment of myself in the book. Too harsh would be as unsuitable as too lenient, while a just judgment is impossible to me. I must avoid all judgment—that’s the only reasonable approach. Let the reader decide, which of course they will do in any case. Indeed, I think it best, now, to make no mention of my nonjudgmentalness. At any rate, I am past that sticking point, I hope.

Diary, 1/8 to 1/9/19

I finished reading W. W. Bartley, III: The Retreat to Commitment. I don’t know why it is that the philosophy books that most impress and influence me get little or no attention from others. This one seems to me incredibly important, but The Oxford Companion to Philosophy has nothing to say about Bartley, “pancritical rationalism,” or even “critical rationalism.” Likewise, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [link] doesn’t mention Bartley or much of anything else that relates to my work

Diary, 1/3 to 1/7/19

The Hemlock Club was good today, though a bit shorter than usual. Four attended. I ate too much at Dagny’s. We talked about Poe’s poem, “Alone,” which Pablo had prepared for us, I took some notes (hence these details), D sang (from his phone) “Silent Night,” a very creditable performance, I talked about how I was a lousy employee and got fired from virtually every job I ever held, Salomé worked on a watercolored bookmark which she presented to me, I asked Salomé to marry me (a joke), I talked about Norman Cousins: Anatomy of an Illness (but had the title completely wrong), D mentioned The Biology of Hope by Bruce Lipton (which sounds really interesting), and we all went for a walk around downtown Bakersfield (it was fun).

The Bleak Philosophy: A Preliminary Sketch

A book, a sentence, a proposition, a position, a truth, anything is worthless to me unless I can understand it. Sometimes it requires a great deal of time and effort to understand something, and sometimes it requires more time and effort than I am willing to expend. For instance, I have read some things about quantum mechanics, enough to know that to fully understand it would require at least a year of study, including learning some probably very difficult mathematics. Given my age and interests, learning quantum mechanics and related subjects simply isn’t worth my time, especially as I can see no practical...

Diary, 12/30/18 to 1/1/19 & Free Book Offer

Reading Janet Malcolm: The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1994, hc. This is a book that I had taken to Dagny’s as a donation, never having read it (though I might have started it), then, on a later day, I retrieved it. It’s peculiar, as much about the writing of the book as it is about Plath & Hughes. Correction: about the researching, nothing about writing. Now, halfway through, I quite like it, and last night I even read three of Plath’s poems, the first three of Ariel. Her poems are like tea leaves...