Quotes from Albert Camus, and “A Sign”

Diary 8/6 to 8/7/22: Hemlock Club; Minority Report; whining about buses; efficiency and time; better DVDs; Dr. Suglia’s blog; Highsmith at HC; and so on.

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

{8/6/22} continued.

Hemlock Club meeting was okay, nothing to get excited about.  For about four hours it was just me and Neil.  Eric and Tim arrived around 1:00 pm (not together).

From Neuroscience News today:  “‘Brain Fingerprinting’ of Adolescents Might Be Able to Predict Mental Health Problems Down the Line.”  How far are we from the world of Minority Report?


I need to go to Wal-Mart today to get a cable, but I want to get started on writing, but the “writing” I want to do requires the cable to allow efficient transcription of an audio file which forms part of the existing writing.  But if I go to Wal-Mart to get the cable, then by the time I get home (after four bus rides) will I want to do this “writing”?  So, get the cable today, but do the writing tomorrow?  Tomorrow I need to do the much-delayed laundering of my pee-soaked bedding.  Needing to take the bus ruins everything.

In some ways I’m obsessed with efficiency.  That is, I eat pizza and burritos, which I buy frozen, because they are quick and easy to make, but I think they are not great for my health because of “too much” sodium.  So, by eating this crap, I “save time” which allows me to watch more Family Guy?!  Which I disparage because it’s mean-spirited and offensive, though funny.

So, briefly, I eat in a way that perhaps damages my health, so I have more time to do things that I despise?

Salvador Dali: The Persistence of Memory

If I don’t value my time, who will?  If there is a way out of this self-defeating behavior, it is to stop doing things that I despise, right?

What this superficial analysis ignores is that this “despicable behavior” (watching junk TV and junk DVDs) is sometimes exactly what I want to do, because when it comes to the end of the day, I can’t read the kind of books I want to read (e.g., philosophy, literature, science) because this will simply have me nodding over the book, not reading at all.  When I’m nodding over a book, is there something I could do that would A) keep me awake until bedtime, and B) not be a despicable waste of time?  The top-of-the-head answer is, watch better DVDs or programs.

“Better” DVDsThe Little Foxes starring Bette Davis; The Defector starring Montgomery Clift; Run, Lola, Run, and about thirty others—“good” (not obvious crap) movies that I either haven’t seen, or have seen only in part or not recently enough to remember them.

Why do I buy “crap” DVDs?  Don’t ask.

One of the few blogs I “follow” (i.e., glance at occasionally) is from Dr. Joseph Suglia; I followed the link in my “Reader” to his website, where I found this (which I note without comment):

If I am known at all, I am known as the author of the cult-classic novel Watch Out.  It is a book that I have been writing over the past eighteen years.

No one under the age of twenty-eight (28) should read this book, which contains three EXTREMELY EXPLICIT passages.  In fact, these are the most viscerally intense passages in the history of literature.

This site has 14,353 followers.

“Lebians” Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

The HC meeting yesterday was more interesting than I at first remembered.  It turns out that Eric is a fan of Patricia Highsmith.  I told him about the recent publication of her Diaries and Notebooks, which I finished reading recently, and of course he was keen to read it.  When I said that I had been calling it “lesbian love stories,” he said that it was no surprise, or that that was what he wanted or expected…I can’t recall exactly what it was.  I mentioned Isabel Miller, but he didn’t respond to that, so I assume he doesn’t know of her novels.  I might ask him about Dorothy Allison.  I don’t recall any others, offhand or on.

On the way to the Hemlock Club I saw this sign near the sidewalk as I walked to Panera Bread from the bus stop—a short story here, at least:

“It’s a sign!”

Went to Wal-Mart and spent $64.19.  The only thing I needed was an “aux” cable, which, when the sales person asked if that’s what I wanted, I thought she was saying “ox,” and responded, “I don’t know what that is.”  Got a wastebasket, some DVDs, sixteen frozen burritos, green tea extract (capsules), and a three-ream box of printer paper.  One of the DVDs is Demonic (2021) which rates a dismal 15% and 20% at RT.  If it’s that bad, I probably won’t review it here ’cause I won’t watch it through.

Green tea extract came to my attention via Neuroscience News, probably this study:  “Green Tea Extract Promotes Gut Health and Lowers Blood Sugar.”  An earlier study that came up on my search at the website headlines that it might help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Albert Camus (1913-1960)

Reading Camus today was good; some quotes from Notebooks, 1942-1951, Justin O’Brien (tr.), Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1965:

Do what one doesn’t want, want what one doesn’t do.  “Saint” Augustine says something similar, and I’m constantly whining about it, too.  p. 240.

Quoting Delacroix (Diary, probably):  It requires great daring to dare to be oneself.  p. 241.

Also:  The satisfaction of the man who has worked and suitably employed his day is tremendous.  When I am in that state I enjoy delightfully the slightest distractions.  I can even, without the least regret, find myself surrounded by the most boring people.  p. 241-242.

And:  …not so much cling to the pursuit of things which are empty wind but enjoy work itself and the delightful hours that follow it… p. 242 ellipses in original.

Finally:  Russian novels ‘have an amazing smell of reality.’ p. 242.

And Camus himself again:

Memory slipping more and more.  Ought to make up my mind to keep a diary.  Delacroix is right: all these days that are not noted down for like days that didn’t exist. Perhaps in April, when I shall recover my freedom. p. 242.

The descriptions Camus comes up with are sometimes astonishing:

The mistral has scraped the sky down to a new skin, blue and shiny like the sea. From everywhere birds burst into song, with an exuberance, a jubilation, a joyful discord, and infinite delight. The day brims over and is aglow. p. 243.

I guess I’ve noted about fifty other things to copy out from this library book.  I should buy a copy, it seems.  Unfortunately, they’re not as cheap as one would like.  Even worse are Gide’s Journals, which I’ve never read, but I owned two volumes like fifty years ago.  Of course, my library doesn’t have this—I really need to look into interlibrary loan; I managed to get the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon that way while  I was in prison (it was dull, or I made a dull reader for it).

There is a third volume of the Camus; I might as well go ahead and buy it today, eh?

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

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