Kick Me Reader: Diary, 9/27 to 9/30/21

Cleese’s autobio; The Wind; troubled dreams; Quine, the unspeakable, philosophy; Zack Snyder’s Justice League; purchasing blunder; $300 for a reader.

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

{9/27/21}  Weight 213.6 at 4:40 am.

{9/28/21}  Weight 213.0 at 5:40 am.

Finished reading John Cleese: So Anyway…, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2014.  It is the funniest book and the most consistently entertaining autobiography I’ve ever read.  He seems to have written it to honor Graham Chapman as much as to tell about his life, though he stops the story at the Monty Python years.  Most uncommonly these days, I never once considered not finishing the book; on the contrary, even though it’s 375 pages long, I didn’t want it to end.  Of course, I’ve been a Cleese fan ever since Jim Garrett introduced me to Monty Python, which may have happened when Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released in 1975.

{9/29/21}  Weight 212.4 at 7:20 am.

I woke at 3:30 and was unable to get back to sleep—I didn’t try for very long, since this has been happening with regularity lately.  So I got up and watched about fifteen minutes of The Wind, a silent movie starring Lillian Gish, which I had seen many years ago and thought highly of.  This time I was annoyed by how her character was drooled over by every man in sight (except her “brother”) and hated by the envious brother’s wife, so I turned it off.  I read a little, watched some news, worked a couple of sudoku, and returned to bed.

There I dreamt that I was watching TV with the sound off.  There was a long shot of a man, not moving but growing increasingly anguished, which I couldn’t figure out.  Then I saw Ms. Gish—how could this be in color, was it the same movie?  It was…but then, during the dream, I realized that it couldn’t be the same movie, and I wasn’t watching television, I had no TV in the bedroom.  Finally I decided that it was the same movie.  But I woke up, finally realizing that I had been dreaming, at times semi-consciously.

Reading, and struggling with, [W.V.O.] Quine’s Word and Object, and thinking that it’s pointless to read this now.  But I may continue with it because of the interest expressed in my note of 9/21/21; it’s related to my thoughts of 9/18/21 and the quote from Cioran.  This is all very vague and will probably lead to nothing, since I can’t even seem to express the question behind it all.  It relates to words being “a simplification for the sake of life,” which I got from Nietzsche (see 9/18).  Words cannot express “the unspeakable” (Korzybski), but we must deal with the unspeakable—the mystery of reality—and can deal only with the unspeakable, and we must have words to help us cope, words that simplify the mystery.  Nothing here is new for me except the specific wording, which primarily consists of substituting “the unspeakable” for “the mystery.”

So, maybe I want to speak no longer of “models and mysteries,” where “maps” are the paradigm of models, but of “words and the unspeakable.”  That seems to be a removal or literalization of the analogy of “map” from the thought, and so, hopefully, a gain in clarity.

Watched the Zack Snyder Justice League which I bought at Wal-Mart for $18.  It runs four hours.  It is definitely better than the previous version, which I liked well enough (but not well enough to buy a copy).  However, most of the jokes are gone, and there are new gross stupidities while many of the previous ones remain.  The Steppenwolf villain is much improved and almost a bit scary, the lame “mother boxes” are handled better, and there are additional villains.  Even the flying bugs are improved.  There is much more of Victor the Cyborg, a welcome thing.  But, Oy!  the relentless use of slo-mo!  I generally loathe slo-mo, and this movie did nothing to change my mind about that.  Also, the song sequence that I liked (“Everybody Knows”) is gone, replaced by “ancient mournful dirges” or something, endlessly, annoyingly repeated.  Bruce Wayne’s car (not the BM) was a pleasant surprise, gone in a flash.  Alfred comes off better in this.  The “Epilogue” was, I thought, a disaster with too many endings—it even includes a long dream sequence with lots of “spoilers” (if they come true) that I definitely did not want.  So, there is much to whine about, but the weakest parts come early and the rest builds rather well (again except for the Epilogue).  So, for $18 it’ll do.  No extras.

Exchanged some text messages with BS; we’re meeting tomorrow at 3:00 at Panera.

{9/30/21}  Weight 213.0 at 5:30 am.

A disturbing dream fragment this morning:  a woman being dragged by the hair and choked.  I can’t imagine why this came up out of the cesspool and source of all creativity.  I went on to wake into recalling the time that I was choked nearly to death.  Not a great way to start the day.

Met with BS to discuss my book [Kick Me: My Life of Blunders, Humiliations, and Crimes].  We talked for at least an hour.  He was basically positive about it, though he said a number of times that he reacted “viscerally,” especially at first, and mostly in relation to my mentioning bodily functions (?).  When I later asked if it was “cringey,” he again responded with his “visceral” reaction, which I take to mean that he was disgusted.  Other comments were more positive, of course; here’s a summary:

  • He said that I repeatedly “challenged the reader,” in essence questioning whether the reader had the courage to “get through” what I was about to say.
  • He said, “Why all the philosophy?”  I think by this he was referring to the psychological speculations, at least in part.  He mentioned that I used a philosophical approach to “ease into” touchy subjects.
  • He questioned my mention of the Bullet Journal, or the book about it.
  • He said something to the effect that some of the quotations didn’t connect with the following text.  I noticed and marked one such lapse.

That’s about it.  What I didn’t ask:  Would he recommend it to others?  There was more, especially about publication plans, but nothing particularly worth noting (i.e., I didn’t write it down and no longer remember specifics).  Worth $300?  Given that he read it twice and praised the prose, how I set up scenes, the courage to write it at all, and so on, thus massaging my ego, I guess I’m satisfied.  The written comment that I read later didn’t really add anything; he said in a number of places that he “could relate” to what I was saying, which I suppose is praise.

One thing I thought which doesn’t reflect well on him—that he was more interested in talking about AA, twelve-step programs, life coaching, and so on, that he’s interested in but didn’t much relate to the book.  He even said something about being off on his own tangent.  But he reined himself in and the rest was more to the point.

I consider it a victory that he was not at all overtly rejecting of the book.

Would I recommend him to other writers?  I suppose so, but not with effusive praise.

Wanting to “take the next step,” I went to Barnes & Noble and bought a Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market for $30, a giant mistake because this isn’t “the next step” and the update comes out December 7th.  I need a general Writer’s Market, not one specialized for fiction; unfortunately, I wrote in it, and so can’t return it.  I’ll order the proper volume on Saturday.  Between these purchases and some from Thriftbooks and Hamilton, and of course the $300 to Ben, I’ve been eating into the money needed for Tim’s car (if he ever delivers it).  Probably have about a thousand dollars in the bank.

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

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