Diary, 12/12 to 12/20/19

Everywhere I turn today, it’s horrifying.  I mean the news, Twitter, and Z Magazine.  I’m finding it difficult to be specific, but the sense of dread regarding the 2020 election is pretty overwhelming, and the recent new projections of global warming are devastating.  The ignorance and befuddlement of the American people, fueled by religion, Russia, Trump repuglikkkans, corporate media...

Diary, 11/20 to 12/1/19

A week of HBO and Cinemax and stuff.  Watched maybe the first half of Aquaman, and turned it off at that point because it was so awful.  The man himself is good, but the story just sucks.  I expect it will have its fans among the younger set, like thirteen-year-old boys.  But, seriously, drinking and driving?  Heavy drinking for amusement value?  No and No.  The CGI is overblown; Atlantis would have looked better if...

Diary, 10/20 to 10/31/19

Watched Big Fish last night and fell in love with it a second time, perhaps again especially because of Alison Lohman. But it is a magical movie done absolutely right. There are too few such movies; The Wizard of Oz comes to mind as a comparison, though Fish is more about relationships and communication than Oz’s outright fantasy. One thing I absolutely hated about Big Fish that would not occur to many people, I think: the hero “falls in love at first sight” and spends three years laboring to find out who she is. This is pathological, yet a commonplace of “romance,” truly terrible behavior made to look supremely attractive, a complete mischaracterization of “true love”...

Diary, 9/9 to 9/17/19

Watched Rashomon and Throne of Blood yesterday evening. Toshiro Mifune, who stars in both, seemed to me a pretty terrible actor: he false-laughs his way through the former, and yells all through the latter. Granted, his facial expressions are remarkable. Rashomon is very effective and seldom drags, even though I’ve seen it three or four times previously; the actress was good, though her crying was no more convincing than...

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, 6/23 to 6/27/19

Even as I think of saying, “The world doesn’t need more contenders,” etc., another voice pipes up: “So you’re content to waste your gifts.” No, I guess I’m not content, it’s probably accurate to say that I’ve never been content, with the possible exception of the time after I had decided that I wanted to be a novelist. I quickly discovered that what I really wanted was to have the perks without doing the work.

Diary, 6/19 to 6/22/19

So, am I going to commit to writing, or not? Turning Pro? I think that I must—I think I’m at a “make or break” point in my life, and must make something lest I break something. It seems most natural to start each day with diary writing, unless some day I wake with an urgent need to work on another project. Of course, it would be a mistake to allow myself to be distracted by the diary to the point that I never work on anything else.

Diary: 5/26 to 5/29/19

Two dreams last night: First, four invisible men attempting to track a woman in a large building. Eventually the woman goes outside and somehow acquires a man in a wheelchair, which she is pushing along the street. Two invisible men are following, trying to separate the woman from the wheelchair by tripping her or causing her to bump into one of the men.

Diary, 5/19 to 5/21/19

I’ve been depressed, I have to admit it. Around 6 pm I was ready to go to bed. But I got into Korzybski, finally, and now it’s 9:00. I stuffed myself with chocolate chip cookies instead of eating dinner. It’s been a long time since I’ve binged like that. How many cookies? About eight. Breakfast was also a mess—I felt kind of sick when I got up, so I started with two cookies and a banana. Then a diet Dr. Pepper...

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, 4/7 to 4/11/19

Pablo had brought a book on synchronicity at my request. I read the first two or three pages. The author described an incident in which he was driving on a turnpike on an ordinary day, etc., and the thought “Rushdie” occurred to him. He knew of the author of that name, but could not imagine why the word should pop up at that time. Then a car raced by on his right, and the license plate said, “Rushdie.” He then recognized this to be a “warning” by a “sympathetic intelligence,” to wit, “Rush-die.” Something would “rush,” with a danger of death.

Diary, 4/3 to 4/6/2019

On a whim I went to see the movie Shazam! yesterday. It was terrible because they tried to make it funny and it wasn't funny on the whole (though I did laugh out loud a couple or three times). The action scenes generally involved Shazam running away, which got really old really fast. Other elements of the movie were competent but uninspired. The real problem was with the script, notably the dialogue. Marvel movies have led me to expect funny banter, alas.

Diary: 3/24 to 4/1/19

After listening to twenty minutes of discussion on Thom Hartmann’s program about Joe Biden’s behavior towards the woman who has come forward to complain, here’s the point that I haven’t heard made: Where has this fool been, that he is so out of touch with feminist opinion? If he had any sensitivity toward the man-woman issue, he would have stopped that hands-on business decades ago. That he needs to be educated now, after a lifetime in the Democratic Party, speaks volumes to me. Patriarchy runs in his veins, it seems, and so he is the last candidate we need now.

Diary, 2/9/19 to 3/7/19

A most pleasant surprise: Black Book, a WWII thriller with a stunning, charming, gutsy performance by 30-year-old beauty Carice van Houten. Very tense at times, with lots of twists and turns, lots of death, lots of bare bosoms. Good recreation of ’44 Holland. Happily, no concentration camps. Directed by Paul Voerhoeven of Starship Troopers … fame? I picked up this DVD somewhere cheap, perhaps the last library book sale. This one really got under my skin, well, she did, especially.

Diary, 1/24 to 1/25/19

I had asked Pablo to read a chapter in Kick Me (“I Survived the Worst Day of My Life”) and let me know what he thought: was it worth keeping in the book? Well, he read it and mostly didn’t like it, though he waffled around and later praised it, ridiculously. But mostly he just wanted to give me advice on how to write, and how to make it funny, and how to “improve it,” and so on. I wanted his reaction to it as a reader, but he wouldn’t let it rest...

Diary, 1/14 to 1/18/2019

Okay. It’s good that I have expressed these thoughts, because let’s face it: Leo Tolstoy was no great philosopher, perhaps not even a great religious thinker and writer, yet he persuaded. The combination of specific writer and specific reader can work miracles, even if neither is “of the first rank.” Because books are, at bottom, communication, and it isn’t necessarily the most perfect book that changes someone’s life. We pursue our dreams because they are ours, not because they are guaranteed of success and high praise.

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).

Diary, 12/30/18 to 1/1/19 & Free Book Offer

Reading Janet Malcolm: The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1994, hc. This is a book that I had taken to Dagny’s as a donation, never having read it (though I might have started it), then, on a later day, I retrieved it. It’s peculiar, as much about the writing of the book as it is about Plath & Hughes. Correction: about the researching, nothing about writing. Now, halfway through, I quite like it, and last night I even read three of Plath’s poems, the first three of Ariel. Her poems are like tea leaves...