Novel Idea: Diary, 6/16 to 6/18/21

Movie reviews, Durant book, Thriftbooks complaint, sudoku books, my new schedule, Twitter popularity, Anatol Lieven interview, novel plotting.

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

{6/16/21}  Weight 215.2 at 6:00 am.

Dreamt about Vanity Fair; Becky ended up abandoned and broke, with only a few lemon pips in her hand.  All other details are forgotten because I persisted in trying to get back to sleep.

{6/17/21}  Weight 214.2 at 6:40 am.

Watched The Scarlet Pimpernel, not the old Leslie Howard version, but a 1982 version starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour, a TV movie running just over two hours.  It was watchable enough, but I’m donating the DVD, never wanting to see it again.  It’s just a bit slow and uninvolving; for some reason, I wasn’t terribly upset about French nobility and aristocrats going to the guillotine.  The DVD I have has no extras.

I’ve been depressed enough to eat two gross pastries over the last two days—they were delicious enough, I suppose, but I really should never buy them again.  Six hundred calories each.

Did my writing this morning, then took a nap; working a lot of sudoku yesterday and today, another sign of depression.  But reading Will Durant:  The Story of Civilization II:  The Life of Greece last night and this morning has me excited to reread this volume again.  Despite very much reading about the ancient Greeks, mostly the ancient authors, I feel abysmally ignorant about their civilization; I suppose reading about Plato and Aristotle in the Walter Kaufmann title (Tragedy and Philosophy) has primed me for the Durant.  I know that I’ve read the 600+ page volume at least once before, and I think twice, but so little sticks—my usual complaint, and it’s only gotten worse since prison.  I’ve sometimes said that an experience isn’t important because you can remember it…but that’s just trying to cheer myself up.

I received two books in the mail, Ansen Dibell:  Plot, and The Oxford Companion to the Mind.  The latter, alas, is the first edition (1987), while I had ordered the twenty-years newer second edition.  I’m anticipating that, in response to my message, Thriftbooks will send me the newer edition at no cost and without requiring the old one back.  I think this is only the second time I’ve had a problem with one of their shipments, and I’ve probably ordered at least a hundred books from them.

Silly tweet gets almost 6,000 impressions in less than two days:

{6/18/21}  Weight 214.6 at 6:00 am.

I finally figured out the obvious:  the time to write in my diary is early, because I write it on the laptop and it’s coolest early, while the time to write my fiction is later because it’s hot then but the notebook is cool.

Thriftbooks, as a “one-time exception,” said they were returning the cost of The Oxford Companion to the Mind.  I responded that, contrary to their policy, they had sent a book with a different ISBN; this resulted in a removing of the “one-time exemption” wording.  Yay.  As it is, I feel that they responded with ill-concealed churlishness, this time, but I’ll continue shopping with them in preference to evil Amazon.

Watched Rabbit-Proof Fence last night.  The setting is Australia in 1930.  Three adorable half-breed girls are taken from their village and mother and grandmother to be put in a school fifteen hundred miles away.  They run away to return to their mother, but the pursuit is relentless.  The follow “the world’s longest wall” north because they know that it runs by their village.  Dramatic and entertaining, based on a true story—at the end we see two of the girls as the very old women they’ve become.  The “making-of” featurette is also delightful.  I haven’t watched the commentary yet, but may tonight.  Highly recommended.

I bought a sudoku book, Frank Longo: Sudoku U—PhD in Sudoku, from Barnes & Noble about a week ago, but, despite taking a look at a “Sudoku Solver” web site, the ones in this book are somewhat beyond my current level.  So I bought a simpler books from PennyPress, where the “challenger” puzzles are “just right.”  It seems that there are levels beyond my…uh…worst nightmare?  The web site, alas, is just about as puzzling as the “challengers.”

Anatol Lieven on Democracy Now yesterday gave a long, satisfying interview about Joe Biden’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva.  I had been disgusted by Biden’s speech after the meeting, all over the news media, because the pundits ignored or didn’t know about America’s interference in the elections in other countries, “not to mention” our backing of coups to overthrow elected leaders and install military dictators.  In other words, Lieven was supporting my view of the hypocritical but thoroughly standard “position” of the United States, an official position that fools no one but ill-informed (propagandized) Americans.  Readers of Noam Chomsky will have expected all of this.

The HCN has run into a problem.  I need to decide, or write, about a relationship going sour; clearly, four talking heads do not a novel make, no matter how interesting I can make the conversation.  So, I’ll want the group to split, two versus two, over some controversy.  I’d rather not make it about politics, and not about something so silly (to me) as the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays.  Whitehead’s “simple-minded versus muddle-headed” distinction looks the likeliest, if I want to go there, or maybe “philosophy versus antiphilosophy,” which would require some reading and thinking, thus making it more interesting for me and easier to distract myself from (because reading).   I should also have one of the four characters use “bleakspeak” sometimes.

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

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