Inspiration: Diary 4/20 to 4/22/21

2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{4/20/21}  Weight 214.0 at 7:00 am.

Watched Cursed last night, a werewolf comedy-horror story starring my beloved Christina Ricci, and enjoyed it greatly while recognizing that it’s nothing special.  She and Jesse Eisenberg clearly were having a lot of fun, and I laughed occasionally or more often, while hoping that she would take her clothes off eventually.  She didn’t, nobody did, but I still enjoyed it more than it probably deserves.  Loved seeing Ricci on the featurette, too, where her voice sounded quite different.  I’m finding that a woman’s voice is sometimes as effective at attracting me as is her appearance.

Some notes made on the bus today (to and from getting my second COVID shot):

  • On Writing:  the desire to push can also be a form of inspiration.
  • Accumulate prompts; maybe Tasty Words can serve?
  • Write some T.W. in “Words” notebook.
  • Orwell’s 1984 taught us a vocabulary of tyranny which we applied and apply to our own society.
  • Writing prompts:
    • “Did you ever have shoes that went flapdoodle on you?”  A malapropism using a T.W.
    • “I find the word [X] inspirational [depressing].  A formula.
    • “I aim to do at least one really new thing each day.  [Eventually I’ll try suicide/murder.]
    • A good conversation is a great place to start.

It seems that I plan to try writing fiction again—not much of a layoff!  It’s the last suggestion that I’ll be trying sooner or later—a couple of characters having a good conversation.

Reviewing my “Self Mastery Quotes” printout on the bus, I found several that I marked for further contemplation; here are two:

Fritz Perls:  “I don’t want to create an impasse by admitting ambitions.”  I wrote, “Inauthentic.  I want to admit my ambitions, and make them priorities.”  But now I say, maybe I’m at an impasse myself, because I have admitted my ambitions?

Lisa Feldman Barrett:  “When you experience affect without knowing the cause, you are more likely to treat affect as information about the world, rather than your experience of the world.”  Which affects where you put the blame for your rage, for example.  But where should the blame go?

[Note to blog readers:  I can’t reasonably post my “Self Mastery Quotes” here, not wanting to totally ignore copyright law; but I can list the books, all of which are well worth your time to read, though only the first relates directly to self-mastery:

  • Kelly McGonigal, Ph. D.:  The Willpower Instinct:  How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
  • Frederick S. Perls, M.D., Ph.D.:  In and Out the Garbage Pail
  • Johann Hari:  Lost Connections:  Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions
  • Lisa Feldman Barrett:  How Emotions are Made:  The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Snell Putney and Gail J. Putney:  The Adjusted American:  Normal Neuroses in the Individual and Society
  • Carl Rogers:  “Some Observations on the Organization of Personality,” downloaded from
  • Barry Stevens:  in Carl Rogers, Barry Stevens, et al.:  Person to Person:  The Problem of Being Human
  • Henry Thoreau:  Walden]

Watched a fourth episode of Andromeda with Pablo.  I thought it the least tedious and stupid of the four we’ve watched, though only in comparison with the previous three.  Looks like we’re in for the long haul, though some things were ominous, such as the way the ship AI salivated over, or more accurately, was troubled by her sexual attraction to, the Captain as he presumably exited the shower.

Watched a DVD; here’s what I said to Zena on Twitter:  “So the frivolous thing was “definitely, maybe” [sic], a rom-com with the totally smashing Isla Fisher.  Just what I needed, another impossibly beautiful, cute, and sassy young actress I’ll never meet.  Too-long clip with Ryan Reynolds:”  I called Zena “sweetie,” a word I don’t ordinarily use, but it seemed harmless enough and hopefully not creepy.

The movie is about as good as rom-coms get.  Abigail Breslin as Reynolds’s daughter is “winning,” too, in a really good script.

I got L’s number from Pablo, planning to invite her to have lunch with me.  Olive Garden?  I am not interested in her as a potential sex partner, just as a friend; but one never knows.

Talked to Dr. H for an hour and ten minutes, which is twenty minutes longer than my scheduled time; don’t know why she let me run on, though I believe she mentioned previously that I would be her last call of the day.  It really demonstrates how desperate I am for people who are interested in me—though I’d think that Nog would serve, since we can talk for four hours or more with no sweat.

A page and a half of diary today, which cheers me, though I didn’t do any “work.”

{4/21/21}  Weight 214.8 at 5:55 am.

Laundry day.

To show my mood this morning, I’m going to copy my most recent tweets (slash indicates new paragraph):

My head is exploding again.  I’m trapped in a madhouse.  Why did I ever want a heart? / Really, there are no words for this.

Can’t we put mothers in charge now?

You make me feel so ignorant I’d like to sit at your feet a couple of days and listen. [Said to a black woman Marxist/anarchist or something]

I’m really, really down this morning.  Breakfast will help.  Maybe I should become a drunk. / Nah…hangovers.

I’m woke enough to know the system is rigged in my favor.

How in hell did we get from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet to George Orwell’s worst nightmare in my lifetime? / I mean, I know I’m old, but JFC.

Am I “spiritual”?  When someone asks me this, the proper response should be, “Is ‘how should I live?’ a spiritual question?”  If yes, then I am spiritual, because I have spent much of my life reading about and pondering this question; if no, then no.

Watched Places in the Heart tonight, first time.  Good movie.  But you probably knew that.

Got my laundry done, survived a tumble with only minor bruises, my Twitter followers are up to 3,400 (from 3,333 on 4/1), did seven pages of dictation, didn’t overeat; at 11:00 pm I’m still feeling down.

Good words on racism from a tweet (link):

{4/22/21}  Weight 214.4 at 6:00 am.

It has become my habit, like Coleridge, to write only when I’m “inspired.”  If inspiration came predictably, like, every morning, I’d write a whole lot more.  So, if I want to write every morning continuing my habit, I need a method to generate inspirations.

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird:  “…all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.  This is all I have to bite off for the time being.”  (p. 17)  I have found this bit of advice well worth the price of the book.  Now I want to turn this into an approach to a detailed method for putting something in that frame, to prime the scene-writing pump.

What can be seen (or heard, or smelled, or felt?) through this small frame?  I imagine seeing a small bit of scenery and perhaps a few people.  I can generate, randomly perhaps, those items:  create a number of potential characters by selecting: sex, age, and (optionally) ethnicity.  Select a location that I know or can imagine.  To avoid creating just a static description (which do have their uses), select a “tasty word” and use it in the first sentence, and write that sentence.

From the “verbs” list, which is where the link goes, my eye settled on “bilk.”  But what about the scenery and people?

The idea for this method came to me subsequent to seeing this picture on a blog:

The picture reminded me of what I said on 4/20:  “A good conversation is a great place to start.”

So:  I can put in my picture frame a road, probably a country road (bird song, scent of pines), with two girls (twins?) sitting on it, and one is trying to bilk the other, which gives a hint at least of the character of one, as well as the start of a plot.

My dictionary (Webster’s New World Collegiate) provides definitions of “bilk,” which held some surprises (the text is edited):  “1. to block or thwart 2. to cheat or swindle; defraud 3. to get away without paying 4. to manage to get away from; elude.”  I had known the word only as #2.  It seems a good idea, then, once I’ve settled on a TW, to look it up before proceeding.  Never know what you’ll find.

Another idea:  use a search engine to locate images, entering the tasty word, perhaps.  Entering “bilk” into Google, I discovered images of a clarinetist (Acker Bilk, deceased), links to dictionaries, and a link to, which produced four cartoons using or demonstrating the word.  (Clearly, using Google to investigate a word can either help or lead one astray.  The dictionary can be enticing enough, tricking me into twenty minutes of browsing; the Internet can tempt to hours of “wasted” time.)

Now, have I been “inspired” to write about these girls, one bilking the other?  Nah.  It’s time for breakfast.

Text only copyright 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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