Diary 8/21 to 8/25/22: Character in fiction; “dithers”; Gide’s Journals; self-guidance; a binge; cutting myself slack; RepugliKKKan overload; The Snake; sexual satisfaction through home organization.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved
Polygraph test today put me through a wringer, though I came out more or less unscathed.
A bit more than a year ago I posted diary entries of 6/8 through 6/10/21 under the title “Breakthrough.” It’s an extended consideration of character in fiction, and it makes fascinating reading…but a breakthrough? No, and I’m not quite sure what I was referring to with that title—most likely it was about the story that continued to go nowhere. [Alternative link below to edited diary.]
“Dithers”—a useful word, but so what? As a character name it’s already been taken, by Blondie—the old comic strip, not the (singer? band? whatever)—Blondie’s husband’s boss in comic strips and movies was “Mr. Dithers.”
Feeling very frustrated right now. Perhaps because I was reading [Andre] Gide’s Journals, which I checked out from the library. Made me recognize how little I am doing with my days, other than keeping myself “entertained” and otherwise killing time. Beyond that, also, how little I understand myself, why I am so “resistant to doing what I ‘want’ to do.” I am not the first to puzzle over this. In fact, I know many ways, many tricks, to increase my self-guidance, but these things are just more of “what I want to do that I don’t do.” What I did today that I didn’t want to do, aside from the time-killing: I ate too many graham crackers. I said “two”; then I said “four”; then I said “it doesn’t matter” and “there’s only two left” and finished off the package.
I lead myself down the garden path, then look back and see that I’ve led myself astray. Instead of “self-guidance” I have “self-misguidance.”
I recognize that I had a difficult time around noon [i.e., to excuse the binge]: the walk from Union Ave. to the library takes about fifteen minutes, in heat and sun, and I was carrying my tote full of DVDs and CDs and one book. I had little energy for looking at DVDs to take, though I looked at most of the CDs and bought two (Scriabin’s three symphonies, and some Prokofiev). I bought three books, including Will Eisner: Life in Pictures, which I thought a treasure, though when I started reading I was disappointed. Autobiographies, even in graphics, generally start slow. Another book was In Hitler’s Germany, which I almost didn’t take, just because “so many books, so little time,” but I do want to read it. A third was supposed to be puzzles for lateral thinking, but I found them basically trick questions, such as, a character sees two men climb in the window and start taking things, yet does nothing, why? The character is a baby. What’s this got to do with lateral thinking? It would make more sense, even, to say that the character was an alien, or even a foreigner, who had no conception of personal property. The book is already on the donate pile.
I intend to donate the old, huge, John K. Terres: The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, which I once bought for $50, when it first came out—1980. I was thirty-three. This time I bought it for $0.50, and have not used it at all. Maybe when I want to take it to the library I’ll use the cart. I think the library is finding what I found some twenty years ago: it’s easier to acquire books than to give them away.
But I digress: I did have a physically demanding day, so I suppose I could cut myself some slack about this evening. Alas, most of what I do is cut myself slack.
By rights I should be rereading my “self-guidance quotes.” I’m not motivated to do even that.
Rearranged my CDs by the composer’s country of birth, mostly. I have a lot of CDs.
My DirecTV service continues to be intermittent. I caught a few minutes of Randi Rhodes, and she informed me that a 90-year-old billionaire has contributed over a billion dollars to the vile RepugliKKKan cause, I think to the people who gave us the current Supreme Court. Depressing news, but eh.
Posted to my blog, “Thoughts About Story Characters,” original stuff from me.
Couldn’t solve (i.e., gave up trying to solve) “The Snake,” a wooden puzzle that forms into a cube. Nobody who tried (Neil and Buckley) at Panera Bread last Saturday was able to solve it. I tried rather persistently this morning, gained some insights, but never got there. Found a solution via the Internet, printed it out.
No TV yesterday, which did not result in my being more productive—I didn’t even write in my diary, which I do routinely almost every day. How did I spend all that extra time? Two things: Wittgenstein’s diaries, and cheesy horror films.
Somebody in the United States is spending a lot of time with my blog, but not leaving any likes or comments. I dare to hope that it’s Sam and that she will show up next Saturday at the Hemlock Club meeting.
Ludwig Wittgenstein: Private Notebooks 1914-1916, Marjorie Perloff (ed. & tr.), Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2022, is rather short book that is shorter than it looks: almost half the pages are in Austrian German. So, in the two hours I spent reading it yesterday, I finished about 40%. It’s less than enthralling, but it is interesting—a word I consider almost totally useless, because if it weren’t interesting I wouldn’t be reading it. To give a quick taste of the almost-daily entries, here’s a quote:
Every night I stand watch on the navigation bridge until around 3:30 am. I have not quite managed to carry out my resolution to practice complete passivity. The mendacity of these ‘comrades’ is still awful for me to bear. One must just be true to oneself! Work every day a little but not with any tangible success. Although a little light is beginning to dawn. p. 39.
The “work” referred to is his writing of the Tractatus. The paragraph is quite typical of the entries I’ve read so far. The book is one of four that arrived yesterday from Hamilton Booksellers, plus the DVD package of the cheesy horror movies I watched yesterday. Two of the books are about the mind, one is a history of the world since 1971 and weighs in at 800+ pages. These three were about $6 each, all hardcovers. So, four more books that I’ll need to get rid of—not these four, of course, but to reduce the clutter.
Speaking of reducing clutter, I watched a few items on YouTube, including one from Caroline Winkler titled This is Why Your Home is a Mess: You’re doing home organization WRONG. Ms. Winkler is funny and attractive, even beautiful in a mature sort of way. She had me right from the start with, “Okay, don’t get me wrong, I find this brand of medical grade pantry organization to be just as sexually satisfying as the next guy…” and an inset picture pops up of closely-packed white, floor-to-ceiling shelves to show her meaning. I was so taken with Ms. Winkler that I even tolerated her in-show two-minute testimonial about an irrelevant product or service, watched the whole twenty-minute presentation, and became her latest subscriber (of 191K). Did I learn anything that will actually help me with my MESS of a home? Not really—more like confirmation that I’m mostly doing things right.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved