An Optical Illusion and the Usual

Diary 6/2 to 6/3/22: Only in America; a dream (with pun) and a nightmare; Highsmith quotes; boys with guns; bad movie; writing dismay; masturbation in men; new optical illusion.

Photo by cottonbro on

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


A book available from Hamilton BooksellersConnecting with Our Pets in Heaven: Interpret Signs from Animals in the Afterlife, Cope with Grief, and Heal.  Only in America.  Only $11.95.

Wrote in bed for over an hour, page and a half. It was good, by which I mean the experience of writing, saying nothing about the quality of the result.

Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man 2

Had a dream about Kirsten Dunst and another person in a long, narrow room which I thought was a changing room, but it was more like a closet with clothes hanging on both sides. In the middle was a pair of saloon doors, too small to be functional, and with a gap of a couple of inches between them. On one was a large sign, “Oil Well,” which I thought while dreaming was intended to prevent squeaks, but I also recognized it as a pun. Yesterday I had looked at a rather stimulating scene with Dunst in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and during the dream I was thinking that I was in the movie. The other person in the closet at first was a boy, a teenager, with curly hair, but when I saw a lip print on Dunst’s face, he had become a girl. I remember trying to figure out, while dreaming, how the lip print which I took to be hers, could have gotten on her own cheek. Could she have kissed the boy, and then they pressed their cheeks together? It seems that I was only half asleep throughout this dream; I can’t remember whether I woke up at the end, but that seems likely. I don’t recall ever having recognized a pun in a dream while dreaming before.

A quote from Patricia Highsmith: “1/13/59: On this happiest of all our days together, I foresee the choking death of me at our separation. I shall crumple by a bare wall, in a black coat, blend my tears into my fist, and you will watch from a distance with somebody else. You will bring your fist up to your mouth, too, and you will have tears, but they will be under control. You will know that I am dying and yet—very likely—that my body will go on living. So you won’t come to me. You will only wish you had later, just for a moment perhaps.” p. 693. Powerful stuff. I like the black coat.

Another: “It is the flirtation with the possibility that fascinates me, this tempting of the devil, tempting of the axe that will cut in two one’s honor, and that in the eyes of the whole world as well as in one’s own self. Dostoevsky wanted to be personally degraded, cursed, spat upon, for his finest emotions. So do I.” p. 696. The context is Dostoyevsky’s “unfortunate tendency to fall in love with a woman whom their best friend loves or is married to, [his] willingness—even great desire—to be a true friend of the other man.” I see myself here, of course. Also here: “To be in love with two people at the same time. What depressing immaturity! To be so in love with love.” Not the ‘two people,’ but the ‘in love with love,’ much like my experience in writing TLC.  Both quotes are on page 696.

Boys with Guns

I copied this photograph from the Truthout website. When I was this kid’s age, I suppose I would have been thrilled to handle a gun like that one, much less to own such a gun. My brother and I both got toy machine guns and we fired them at each other a lot; For a while it was all we wanted to do I suppose. When I saw a movie about a nuclear weapon damaging Baltimore, and the chaotic and lawless aftermath, I reasoned that in such a situation I would not want to be without a gun. I bought a Glock for $600. I later sold the gun.

There are many political changes that I hope for but never expect to see: repealing the Second Amendment is one of them.

Watched The Marsh (2006) a cliché-ridden ghost/horror movie with almost nothing to recommend it. Forest Whitaker fans, if any exist, might want to see it. They probably won’t like it. Gets 4 splats from critics at Rotten Tomatoes, 32% from audiences. At 92 minutes, it seems long. Enough.


A dream: I saw a teenage boy and a baby together. The boy picked up a pillow to smother the baby, then changed his mind and dropped the pillow. He picked up the baby and threw him across the room. Before the baby could be injured, however, he was miraculously saved in dream-fashion by some kind of restraint. I think there was more, but I’ve forgotten the rest. I suppose this would count as a nightmare or anxiety dream.

Reviewed a couple of pages of my old version of TLC and was dismayed to find it more interesting and creative than the version I’ve been writing over the past week or two.  I’m trying not to panic; I suppose there is no reason that I can’t cherry pick whatever is best from the old version. And so far, this time I haven’t been swept away, and my impression is that writing while swept away is my most effective writing.

This discovery discouraged me enough that I’ve been awake for several hours and not done any writing.

Children, don’t look… Photo by Anna Shvets on

I read some in Masters and Johnson, but I don’t recall doing anything else. It seems that my nearly lifelong habit of daily masturbation is at the extreme end, statistically. Apparently, the average for adult men, at least later in life, is more like twice a month. Well, as I say these days, masturbation ruined my life and made it worth living.

Who dreams up these things?

A new optical illusion is reported by Neuroscience News:  “The highly dynamic, new ‘expanding hole’ optical illusion can be perceived by 86% of people. The illusion is so good at deceiving the brain, it causes pupillary dilation as though we are walking into a darkened room.”  I get the strongest effect by staring at the center and keeping my attention on the surrounding area.

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

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