Diary, 7/15 to 7/23/19

I’m thinking that the reading I do, which I called “sifting” a while back, mostly doesn’t stick except in the form of externalized memory. That is, I highlight in books and/or type out quotes in my Collected Quotations book, but I don’t often review these products. So I sift out the gems, but don’t make much use of them. I need to make more use of them. Then I won’t be feeling like I’m just wasting time. In fact, the process, which grew by itself, seems efficient...

Diary, 5/22 to 5/23/19

3:50 am and a dream I wanted to write down. I was in a hospital and I was asking a friend to take the syringe I had in my hand, to insert the needle into my right elbow and draw off some talinn. I told him that I had done this earlier—I remembered doing this earlier, though then I began to worry that I had only dreamt doing so—and given it to the T Rex “out there” (I think meaning in the adjacent or another room). I intended that he should draw this fluid out of the other elbow...

Diary, 5/6 to 5/12/19

At the last Hemlock Club, J said he doesn’t want to play board games, though he made an exception for Scrabble, “because it’s educational.” He was distinctly lukewarm about spending more time together. Also, when I brought out the puzzle box, and talked about it, neither of the “Hems” were the least bit curious about it. Clearly, I have mistaken my friends.

Diary 4/24 to 4/25/19

At 3:00, as I returned to bed, I saw the light from a fire illuminating my bedroom curtains. It was a queen-sized mattress and box spring that had been lying by the dumpster for a couple of weeks, fully ablaze. This was less dangerous than it probably sounds because there was nothing close to the fire except a shopping cart. I thought about calling 911...

Diary, 4/12 to 4/13/19

A dream this morning: A prison inmate opens his mouth, revealing a large snake coming forward. The snake’s head looked like a rattlesnake’s. The thought comes in the dream, “He was ever afterward known as the Crunky Snake guy.” I thought of changing “guy” to “inmate.” Whenever I start considering alternatives in a dream, that seems to lead to immediate awakening. The only other things remaining are: we were on a bus, and one guy smelled like juniper.

Diary, 1/3 to 1/7/19

The Hemlock Club was good today, though a bit shorter than usual. Four attended. I ate too much at Dagny’s. We talked about Poe’s poem, “Alone,” which Pablo had prepared for us, I took some notes (hence these details), D sang (from his phone) “Silent Night,” a very creditable performance, I talked about how I was a lousy employee and got fired from virtually every job I ever held, Salomé worked on a watercolored bookmark which she presented to me, I asked Salomé to marry me (a joke), I talked about Norman Cousins: Anatomy of an Illness (but had the title completely wrong), D mentioned The Biology of Hope by Bruce Lipton (which sounds really interesting), and we all went for a walk around downtown Bakersfield (it was fun).

My New Diary, 11/30 to 12/4/2018

Nearing the end of Goldberg’s book. It’s very interesting, and I’ve had the thought that “the best books about writing aren’t about writing, but about writing and something.” What Goldberg offers to the aspiring writer mostly isn’t practical advice about methods or anything, but heart. And perhaps sincerity and courage.

A Discussion of To Kill A Mockingbird

Scout seems so enlightened the whole way through, although she's never quite right on the mark, she always has profound and insightful observations but they're never exactly right and I think one of the things is that kids are always wanting to understand the world in black-and- white, consistent terms where they could have a rule that would apply to everybody, and what they consistently learn is that it just never works that way.

#NaNoWriMo: Shall I? (Diary, 11/1 to 11/2/18)

Pablo has been urging me, for months, to participate in NaNoWriMo, a nationwide challenge to write 1,700 words a day on a novel, thus completing a first draft of 50,000 words in one month. It started yesterday. We talked about it yesterday, around 10:00 pm, and I held out a slight possibility that I would give it a try. I also told him

More Book Thoughts from My Prison Diary

{8/16/08} Finished Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, a fine but ultimately disappointing ghost story. The disappointment is with the overdrawn villains and some illogical plot points. Of the latter: a ghost assaults our hero with a 400 pound desk, but fails to make use of the many knives in the kitchen or the knitting needles … Continue reading More Book Thoughts from My Prison Diary