WAR in Europe! Diary, 2/22 to 2/25/22

Less psych, more writing! And less TV. Firing up the Fynn novel again; MK Ultra and Pablo’s sources; poetry tiff; the mad Russian and Fox “News”; Saint Clara and other DVDs; {comments in braces added 3/5/22}

Harriet Andersson in Summer with Monika

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


Something I wrote in my “mini BuJo” yesterday:  “All the time I spend on reading psychology and neuroscience—what if I could spend it on writing?  It would be my golden age.”  It might be an exaggeration to say that “I am OK” [a reference to I’m OK—You’re OK, a book on transactional analysis from the ’70s]; but I am OK enough.  I am as “fixed” as I’m ever going to be; it’s time and more than time to work on other things.  Today is the day to begin. {I’ve made many such changes; this one actually stuck, as far as 3/5/22.}

“Writing is the important thing.”

That is:  be more selective about my reading, and nag myself about writing, using “the Hammett method” [You set aside four hours in which you don’t have to write, but you can’t do anything else].

Does diary writing count?  I think, yes, and for this reason: when I want to write something in the diary, an enforced wait of an hour or two (until “my writing time is done”) might cost me an important idea.  Whereas I don’t want to lose even an “important” idea.

My self-expression this morning seems especially pedantic and stiff.  But I’m switching over to pen and notebook now.  Wherever my mind goes is likely to be unfit for blog-readers’ eyes.

Oh, and the TV stays off until breakfast time.

Wrote three full pages: one describing my childhood experiences at Disneyland, and two and a trifle of a crucial scene of the Fynn novel.  The latter was fun and almost moving; I’m inclined to pursue it, since the book is essentially written and needs just a bit of polishing and maybe a replacement for the not-very-interesting Karen.


Accomplished some good writing on the Fynn novel, continuing the scene started yesterday; it’s a turning point in the plot.

Had a typical frustrating “discussion” with Chris about his poetry, “MK Ultra” that he was keen to talk about and I was not keen to hear, and so on.  He wastes his time, then mine, on these conspiracy theories while neglecting (as I see it) the larger issues.  He wants to talk about the malfeasances of Bill Gates, Prince Andrew, the Maxwell woman, and so on; I already know enough from reliable sources, thank you.  I ask for his source on MK Ultra, and he mentions Twitter, while admitting that Wikipedia says “it’s been debunked.”  He dismisses that…argh!

Regarding the poem he had published in a zine, I said it was all word play and puns; he walked away in disgust, seemingly, then refused to discuss it, and we discussed it and “refused to discuss it” for ten minutes or more.  We’ve been through this before, and we’ll go through it again, because if we don’t do this kind of BS, we’ll have very little to talk about.

But the real news is that Russia has invaded and is bombing Ukraine.  We’ll look back on this, perhaps, as the start of World War III.  If Putin is mad enough to attack a NATO country, “it’s all over.”

The sickening thing is that the vile repugliKKKans will use this against Biden; Tucker Carlson has been asking why we support Ukraine and not Russia?  It seems that he prefers dictators to elected Presidents.  And, of course, we’re already sending aid to Ukraine.  He’s “the enemy within.” {Tuckums has a method: he asks insinuating questions to “say” things he doesn’t have the guts to say outright–thus avoiding lawsuits or obvious bias–an almost-possible example: “Can anyone tell me if Biden’s stopped beating his wife? Why don’t we hear about that?” But I should be calling him Tuckyo Rose, the fucking traitor. Also, and the point that prompted me to this comment: the “sickening thing” is not what the vile repugliKKKans are doing, because that goes without saying; the truly sickening thing is what Russia is doing to Ukraine! Barbaric… I want to say JUST LIKE our “shock and awe” attack on Iraq. This might make Pablo foam at the mouth, but he’ll likely never read it.}

While watching the news this evening, I tuned in to Fox “News.”  They were repeating Putin’s talking points while saying nothing about Biden’s response.  I hope they keep it up—so they can self-destruct—and I hope they don’t, because they’re destroying the U.S.


Watched Saint Clara (1996), an Israeli film mostly in Hebrew.  It stars Lucy Dubinchik as a junior high student who can predict the future.  The focus of much of the film is not on her, however, but on three other young teens who seemingly are bent on revolution and so get into various kinds of more or less serious mischief, including setting fire to the statue of Golda Meir, for whom their school is named.  I liked this movie a lot, though it took some getting used to.  The school Principal is rather repulsive and dictatorial, abetted by a male teacher.  Not reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes, but listed on IMDB where it scores a respectable 7.0/10.  I’d recommend this for everyone who can tolerate subtitles.

Also watched Summer with Monika (1952), Ingmar Bergman’s international breakthrough film.  It was released originally in the U.S. as Monika, edited and dubbed and sensationalized, as is made clear in the Criterion Collection’s featurettes.  One RT critic, Fernando F. Croce, calls it “very much a movie about photographing Harriet Andersson,” and for me that was the real attraction.  In this movie she is not the most beautiful of young women; but she is undeniably beautiful, seductive, and charismatic.  It’s a tale of young love and dismal life in Sweden, or maybe I should say “the dangers of young love”—though it’s part fantasy, reality has a way of spoiling things.  I got a bit bored at times, though never for long.  In a sense, it has not aged well because in 1952 it was pretty hot stuff, but the sensational parts have long since become clichés, rather as with Citizen Kane’s or Hitchcock’s camera angles and such.  On RT it’s called Monika, but the reviews are of the original film; it scores 100% with critics, 83% with audiences.  It was Andersson’s first film, and she ended up marrying Bergman.  I’d say it’s for Bergman fans only.

The real news is that my writing is going well, though I’m spending only about two hours a day.  I’m pursuing the Fynn novel, also called TLC here.  I’ve added one crucial scene, running over eight or nine pages in my college-ruled notebook.  However, I’ve decided that a supporting character needs to be completely replaced with a gender change and a new role, so much rewriting is ahead.  But the story is complete in my head and mostly on paper, so there’s really nothing to keep me from completing it except my lack of “self-guidance” so far.

I wrote only for an hour and ten minutes today; then tuned in to Stephanie Miller, where I learned that they’re calling Tucker Carlson “Tuckyo Rose.”  It was worth the price of admission, you might say.  Malcolm Nance was very good regarding the role of Steve Bannon in the slow-motion downfall of American democracy, that is, supporting Putin and then Trump.  Check your own sources for the details I can’t be bothered trying to recall or get straight.

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

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