Getting Serious: Diary 10/26 to 10/31/21

Dreams; Chucky; memory failure; probation; Hemlock Club failure; impressed by two books, Pollyanna and Moby-Dick; other Melville.

Herman Melville portrait
Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{10/25/21} and {10/26/21} omitted.

{10/27/21}  Weight 212.4 at 6:20 am.

Two dreams this morning.  In the first I was in a fish processing plant trying to buy a large piece of fish.  The dream got lost in my calculations of likely price.  Second was even less interesting:  I was in an office, seated at my desk, eating something from a plastic bag.  When I finished, there was a bit of liquid in the bag.  I put the bag in a wastebasket next to the desk but became concerned that the liquid might have spilled.

Over the last two evenings I’ve watched the first three episodes of Chucky, a new series about the homicidal doll.  The first two were amusing, mostly played for laughs, the third mostly wasn’t—Chucky trying to turn his new owner into a killer.  Increasingly silly without being funny.  I wonder how Brad Dourif (voice of Chucky) feels about his career these days.  Probably as disappointed as I am about how I spend my evenings.

{10/28/21}  Weight 212.4 at 5:20 am.

Took Murder Your Darlings off the shelf and was amazed to find that I read it in July of this year.  It seemed completely unfamiliar despite the highlighting and my comment on the title page, “One of the best!”  I reread the highlighted parts but I’m not excited about anything I saw.  Later I wrote down something in response to what I saw in the book, “Lower your standards.”  I see this as applying to the quality of ideas I seek when trying to get a novel started.  Here’s what I wrote in my 100+ Ideas notebook:

121.  Lower your standards for what to write.  A poor idea pursued can lead to anything.

122.  Start by explaining something—a character will pop up to argue about it.

The second one is particularly a possible way to start the Hemlock Club novel.

Call from Julie Martin (my probation officer), saying that she wants me to come in “to pick up my MacBook.”  Last time we went through this I was carted away without warning, for nine months in Kern County Jail.  I asked her, and she said, no, this time it’s really to give me back my MacBook.

I’ll be leaving in ten minutes.

I didn’t get arrested.  I have no use for a broken MacBook, it’s just one more thing needing recycling.

While waiting for the bus I sent a text to Pablo that if he didn’t hear from me by 2:00 I’d be in jail.  His response made absolutely no sense:  “Wed Thu Fri?”  I didn’t get arrested, so as I was walking to the bus stop I texted him, “No jail.”  He texted back, “What.”  I texted, “Call.”  When he called me, he understood something about what I’d intended; I didn’t ask him to explain his texts.

Having had poor sleep last night, and wanting a nap, I went to bed at 6:30 pm. and got up at 10:30 pm.  This is going to lead to some weirdness.

During this fragmented sleep I had a weird dream:  I was sitting on the sofa with Charles [my late stepfather] one evening at my parents’ house when the phone rang.  He asked me if it was “business.”  I said I didn’t know, and answered the phone.  A man said something about Saturdays and Sundays being available.  He wanted to know if I would “conduct services.”  I told him, “I’m a humanist.”  After a few more words, something about letting him read it first, I said I’d call him back to let him know if I wanted the job, and I asked his phone number.  He began saying things in a foreign language, which I figured must be Latin.  He continued with that for a while, then I interrupted him, saying something about not knowing Latin.  I wanted to write down his phone number on a small piece of greasy cardboard, probably the cardboard that I use to cover my trackpad on my laptop (as I’m doing right now) when I’m typing.  I guess he gave me the number because we hung up, and I began thinking what I might write, how does one write a sermon anyway, and the like, finally thinking about “what’s wrong with America?”  Or should it be, “what’s right with America”?  That we seemed to be on the brink of another Civil War and what might I say about that.  That’s it.

My “lunch” was an ice cream sandwich.  Shortly afterward I started feeling sick.  I think that my “lactose intolerance,” which I’ve had for decades, has gotten worse this week; I may have to stop eating ice cream altogether, and maybe cheese, too.  That would be a bummer, as I typically have both every day.  The cheese would be more annoying, since I can always eat more cookies or something to replace ice cream.

Spending hours on my laptop and getting nothing of importance done.  Now I’m ready for cookies.

{10/30/21}  Weight 213.2 at 6:00 am, darn it.

Hemlock Club today.  We’re supposed to discuss Bertrand Russell’s “Mysticism and Logic,” an essay that impressed me when I first read it a month ago, but now not so much.  In it he—the “logician’s logician—says some surprising [positive] things about mysticism, but he finally comes to some negative conclusions about it.

{10/31/21}  Weight 214.4 at 4:40 am.  Catastrophe.  On 10/13 I weighed 210.4.  Yet, “I’m always hungry.”

Another disappointment was the Hemlock Club yesterday.  I waited for two hours and nobody showed up.  First time for this that I can remember.

An interesting and miserable day.  After I ate a banana in the early morning I felt nauseous.  After a couple of hours I felt better and had breakfast.  Then the nausea returned and increased, with some dizziness.  I stayed in my chair, napped, but finally vomited.  Since then I’ve been somewhat listless and wondering what was going on.  I’ve been feeling a little nausea for more than a week, always after a meal—but of course I rarely miss a meal.  I might even say “never.”  Now it’s 10:00 pm.  I’m not going to eat until “morning,” which these days can come as early as 2:00.

What prompted me to write was the thought that missing a meal, or even fasting for a day, is probably good for the digestive tract, giving it a rest, allowing it to heal if it needs to heal.

Now, the “interesting” part of the day comes from two books:  Pollyanna Grows Up and Moby-Dick.  I was impressed by the former, that Porter was able to continue with this unique, classic character without turning her into a “young lady.”  One chapter in particular moved me to laughter and tears, the very thing one might want from such a book.

Moby-Dick I looked into because I wrote in my “BB Journal,” “Ponder Ahab’s question(s)!  Versus the cogito [reference to “Cogito ergo sum,” or “I think therefore I am” of Descartes].”  I read my favorite chapter, “The Symphony,” which contains the referred-to questions, specifically, “Is it I, God, or who that lifts this arm?”  I was astonished at the beauty of the writing, being too small, it seems, to hold this fact in my mind.  I know of no other prose that is so amazing.  I went on to read I think four (actually two) other chapters, “The Hat” and “The Pequod meets [sic] the Delight,” and my delight was not diminished.  Now I want to reread the book again, the fourth time maybe.  But in looking for it among the four volumes I have of Melville (the Library of America volumes that I got very cheaply at a library sale, with the exception of the Poems that I paid full price for—not at all cheap) I became intrigued by Mardi.  I looked at the flyer that accompanied the subscription-volume, which I had also done a few weeks ago, and Mardi sounded interesting.

Then I went to the living room to look up “demoniac,” which I had noted in “The Hat.”  I opened the dictionary to the very page, which could be read as “a sign” if I were so inclined.  I wanted to check the pronunciation.  I browsed a bit, then turned to the Reader’s Encyclopedia to read about Mardi and Melville.  This is a book I should browse in often—tons of things I want to know about.  I’d do better to browse there than in the “cable guide” from Spectrum (or is it “Direct TV”?) [It’s the latter].  Anyway, the article on Melville piqued my interest in Pierre, which the book calls Melville’s most personal book, something like that.  I’ll be reading Melville for some time to come, I think.

I have been neglecting not only the novel, which is never very far from my thoughts, but also two books on my desk from which I intend to type out quotes, and also the important (or “important”) Prison Diary.  Just because the novel isn’t working is no reason to just piss away hours and days.  Today I’ve had some time to think, and some things to think about (the two books, etc.) and I feel ready to get more serious about how I use my time.

Of course I go through this periodically.

I just learned that “fap” is slang for masturbation.  You can expect me to use it here when appropriate.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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