Diary, 2/13 to 2/16/22

Florence Pugh in Lady Macbeth; morning writing; tinnitus; Highsmith reviewed; macro programming; Hap abandoned? Cheetos (again); web pages gone; a full notebook is a joy forever; Peniel; Deathfinger Rock

“Deathfinger Rock” prop for Chato’s Land

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


Watched Lady Macbeth (2016), starring Florence Pugh in her first movie, a well-acted but otherwise uninspired domestic drama.  It’s called a “period piece,” and I suppose that’s technically correct, but given the ambiguity of time and place it seems generous.  It was not the movie I wanted to see, but I’m glad to have finally gotten the story of Shostakovich’s opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, based on a short novel by Nikolai Leskov.  The movie gets 88% from critics and 71% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, but I’d recommend it only to fans of Pugh who want to see her other movies (besides Marvel’s Black Widow from last year).  She is an actress worth seeing.  My main complaints about this movie are that it’s often painfully slow, and that it’s quite unpleasant.  Perhaps it will be more to my taste as an opera.

The San Joaquin library system has no books by Karl Popper. They have books, audio books, and DVDs of Maddie Ziegler, however.


Read the lengthy “Notes of a Novelist” post on my blog and found it very interesting, useful shop talk.  Came up with an idea for morning writing:  just start a new conversation each day until you strike gold.  Conversations seem easier to me to write without unnecessary previous handwringing.  But I suppose anything is easier to write than nothing: scenery, settings, weather, person walking, person sitting, person with an animal, person doing something with her hands, person going to bed, person waking from a nap…any trivial crumb just to narrow the infinities to a lesser infinity.  Hell, start with a “prompt” if you want to.

Old advice, which I again am so unlikely to put into action.  Time to get breakfast moving and watch Democracy Now! (their exclamation point).


My tinnitus is reduced this morning.  Perhaps because no caffeine for a few days?

I put a partly empty notebook on my desk last night, more or less intending to try morning writing, as suggested yesterday.  I was inspired by reading in the most recent (Dec/Jan/Feb 2021-2022) Bookforum about the Patricia Highsmith that I’ve been reading for a few weeks, or more specifically, about her more than the book.  Her journals amount to 8,000 pages, or ten times my prison diaries.  But now that I’m faced with the actual writing, I hesitate.  Come come, how many times have you done it?

So I wrote a page.  Now I’m going to work on the Prison Diaries.

Didn’t do a lot of dictation; mostly worked on my test macro for the system that will step through a document and fix dictation errors.  The “stepping” part seems mostly to be working right, but detecting the end of the document is still a problem, and there is much yet to be done.  I’ve worked on this many times, spent many hours…

The part of the PD that I dictated is a lot of gushing over the value of the Subjective Microscope; once I actually spent three days and wrote fifteen pages about one paragraph from The Grapes of Wrath.  Unfortunately, I didn’t save that exercise or any of the others that I produced.  It would have made a good “page” for the blog.

I’m resistant to putting more of Hap on the blog, I’ve gotten so little back from the readers.

Well, not a bad day—dictation, diary, programming, naps—I’ll stop now, before I get to the bad things (Cheetos).

Given my talk of being able to avoid bingeing, I should explain:  I am still following my rule of taking only a partial cup of Cheetos; but today I had two partial cups.


My old free web site is still up, but the clowning pages are gone.  I downloaded all the “family photos,” just in case I didn’t already have them (pretty sure that I didn’t).  I’d better spend some time saving whatever else I might want to save, because it seems that Angelfire has gotten a bit less “generous” than they used to be.

My “morning writing” lasted one day; this morning I came up with a couple of ideas about the Fynn novel, which I had thought to play with, but now it’s 7:20…

My 100+ Ideas notebook is finally full; numbered ideas come to #150, but there are substantially more than that in the book.  So if I start a new notebook, do I still carry around the old one?  Given that I rarely look at it when I’m carrying it, I might as well leave it at home.  Adding the best to the A-List is a likely possibility.  Also, that way I “couldn’t” lose it.

Yesterday Thom Hartmann was reading from Stokely: A Life, which I mention only because the author’s first name is unfortunate:  Peniel.

A few days ago I came up with “deathfinger.”  This is a hand gesture which involves the hand snapping forward like cracking a whip, with the index finger extended, stopping abruptly while pointing at someone.  The idea that came to me was of a boy doing this, pointing it at distant strangers, one after another, as he muttered “Dead. Dead. Dead.”  Bart teased Lisa with something like a “death touch” in one episode of The Simpsons.  “Deathfinger” gets 741,000 hits from Google; it’s a character name in World of Warcraft.  Everything I come up with like this, every word, already exists, I might even say “massively exists.”  Added a cross reference in the Ideas notebook, #151.

Looking a little further, I found a site for “Deathfinger Rock,” which was built for a movie called Chato’s Land.

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

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