Disgust: Diary 4/1 to 4/10/21

Copyright (text only) 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{4/6/21}  Weight 213.2 at 6:30 AM.

I have enough text for a diary blog post (4/1 to 4/5), but on rereading it, I’ve decided not to.  It’s so boring!  [Those entries omitted.]

Long twitter conversation with a (twitter) friend about making and keeping friends.  The takeaway:  I should look into the Humanists & atheists for local like-minded folks.  Which suddenly makes me feel very tired.  This was perhaps an important conversation and worth “interrupting” my “work.”

To use the “one-inch picture frame” idea to get a scene started, it can’t really be an empty frame, can it?  As it is, Fynn and Apple get along too perfectly; there should be a little friction; he should be shocked by something she says or does.

Watched some of the PBS show, Hemingway, from Ken Burns.  I don’t like Hem much, or at all, while recognizing that his writing is powerful and subtle.  But the show inspires me to try to take my writing seriously again.  I don’t know what to do about TLC; but I need to try things and spend hours “with butt in chair” as I used to put it.

So:  three short paragraphs. [Of new TLC material.]

{4/7/21}  Weight 213.2 at 5:35 AM.  Given that I had lunch at Leo’s (a BLT with fries), I’m pleased to see no change.

Bought and watched Wonder Woman 1984.  The highlight of the movie comes early, in “The Amazon Games,” with Lilly Aspell, ten years old, as the young Diana, stealing the movie while doing all her own stunts.  The movie as a whole gets a “splat” from Rotten Tomatoes (59%), though the critics’ consensus is entirely too generous.  Everything, especially moralistic lectures, is laid on with a steam shovel.  The plot is jawdroppingly silly and the main villain makes one squirm at his smarmy and oft-repeated speeches and bits.  I couldn’t get too little of this nauseating “bad guy.”  It’s satire (Pablo said he was “like Trump”), I suppose, but I was not amused.  There are good things here—costumes especially, camera work, production design, and stunts—but they’re overwhelmed by Hollywood excess, corn, unfunny humor, and mawkishness.  The love story was pretty much predictable and just nothing much, though fans will likely enjoy it.  I am a Gal Gadot fan, and she is always entertaining and eye-candy, but I was very disappointed by this movie and can’t imagine watching the whole thing again without fast-forwarding through about 50% of it.  The extras (“2 hours”) are generally good, especially the one about Aspell’s role—she is charming and impressive, and her accent comes as a surprise to my tin ear.

Still struggling with TLC; I’ve rewritten the five new pages, some of which I think is excellent, but that’s not what I need to be doing.

{4/8/21}  Weight 213.2 at 5:35 AM.

Something I want to address at length is Pablo’s statement that he “chooses to believe,” as though this should defeat all skepticism.  Unfortunately, it’s equivalent to saying that facts and rationality are meaningless—it’s [Walter] Kaufmann’s “decidophobia” to a tee, I think.  Also unfortunately, I don’t have his book [Without Guilt and Justice].  In fact, Pablo is frivolous about the whole thing.  And I can’t quite put my finger on what I specifically wanted to say about this.  Didn’t use my Bullet Journal, unfortunately.

Listening to Puccini’s La Rondine and reading Tolstoy’s Confession, when it came to the end of Act 2 of the opera, it was so beautiful that I couldn’t help stopping reading, and finally ended up sobbing.  A rare experience; Maslow might call it a “peak experience.”  Doesn’t matter.  If this kind of thing happened more often, I would listen to opera more often.

Sobbing again when Ruggiero sings “Lamore” at the end of Act 3.  (Don’t know the spelling—it’s Italian.)  This one hit me while I was on Twitter.  Nobody does it like Puccini, and Rondine has a special place in my tear ducts, right next to Madama Butterfly.  It helps that I know the story well enough to just listen without a booklet.

Read and skimmed some pages of the Fynn novel (TLC), the previous version.  There’s stuff I want to rescue or rework, but I am not at all interested in the Karen material and didn’t even look at it.  It was an odd experience—the stuff I had rewritten was very similar to the old version, as though it was all in my head, details of descriptions in the very same words; but I think if I’d been asked, I’d have been at a loss to say, “Yes, this is in the old version.”

{4/9/21}  Weight 213.4 at 5:30 AM.

Bookhounds is supposed to be open today at 9:00, a cause for celebration, though I don’t need any more books.  Alas, the price that they pay for books and stuff is abysmally low, but I may take a bag anyway, since it’s there to be gotten rid of.

Spent $50 at Bookhounds, including maybe $13 for Pablo.  Came home with about seventy DVDs, fifty of which covered five seasons of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda.  They were selling all the stuff that wasn’t worth space on their shelves, almost no classics or literature of any kind, and absolutely no nonfiction books.  Some documentary films, of which I got many.

Pablo and I watched the first episode of Andromeda; it’s looking like a mashup of Star Trek plus Battlestar Galactica plus Firefly, with some of the worst tricks of each.  But we’ll see.

Reading Tolstoy:  A Confession, one of the truly great short books which I have often praised highly before.  It’s like second or third on the “My Best Books” list.  I plan to write a response, maybe for the Hemlock Club tomorrow, but I haven’t quite finished reading it yet.  Hoping to come up with something good for the blog, which was hot for two weeks but has been stone cold yesterday and today.

{4/10/21}  Weight 213.8 at 6:25 AM.  Disappointing.

I’ve abandoned writing The Lolita Curse.  I saw yesterday as I was talking to Pablo about it, that the idea of it had become revolting.  I had seen part of a movie a couple days ago, the title now forgotten, with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz as “May-December” lovers, and it had seemed gross to me; how much grosser if she had been ten years younger!  I can’t explain this change of feelings.  Possibly it’s a negative reaction to reading Lolita.  Possibly it’s due to the endless stories in the news of Matt Goetz and his seventeen-year-old.  Possibly I just “want” to quit beating my head against the wall of my own indolence or inability, and “don’t know it,” and this is just a convenient excuse for failure.  In any case, for now, the novel is dead, and “Apple” has become just a name.  Which is rather sad, because it’s virtually done. [Longtime blog readers are entitled to a summary of The Lolita Curse, so here goes: An old man moves to an isolated cabin in the mountains following the death of his wife.  His nearest neighbors have a daughter, Apple, who is eleven years old.  They become friends.  To his horror, he finds himself becoming sexually attracted to her.  To squelch this desire, he moves away, but he finds that it does no good—he becomes her stalker.  Finally, desperate to avoid hurting or damaging the girl, he walks into the desert to die.  It seems that my disgust with Fynn’s attraction to Apple has become disgust with the novel itself, and so this death of motivation to finish writing it. It’s conceivable that I’ll return to it someday.]

Good:  This morning I’m thinking, “Maybe I’ll just read fiction for a while.”  Which would open the way to work on other things, like my response to Tolstoy.

Better:  Having fallen off the horse, get right back on.  Not with TLC, but another novel.

Best:  Sleep on it.  Have breakfast.  Pray for lightning.

This morning, this depressed morning, the state of the nation revolts me exceedingly.  I seem to be falling into a permanent state of resentment.

Copyright (text only) 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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