Diary, 2/16 to 2/22/20

N came to the Hemlock Club today and we talked for four hours.  I told him about “the friendly voice” idea and that I thought I might give it a try.  The idea is that you publish an ad saying “A friendly voice” and your phone number, hoping to encourage lost souls to call you to talk, hopefully thus relieving some suffering in the world.  I used to worry that this would become a burden, and that indeed could happen; but I am not required to answer every call, necessarily, and I can limit calls to fifteen minutes.  I originally wanted to have a separate phone number for this, and perhaps I’ll do that, though it would be some expense.  Possibly Craigslist...

Diary, 2/9 to 2/15/20

Copyright 2020 by Alan Carl Nicoll All Rights Reserved {2/9/20}  Weight 211.8. {2/10/20}  Weight 212.2. {2/11/20}  Weight 211.2.  Cherry pie diet. I dreamt that I was telling my cousin Barbara that I was having a difficult time coping after prison.  I was riding uphill on a motor scooter, which I’ve never done, and I think … Continue reading Diary, 2/9 to 2/15/20

Diary, 1/22 to 1/31/20

Yesterday was unforgettable.  In the morning I ate at Lorene’s, not wanting to take the time to go to Macdonald’s, and not wanting to get that much sodium after yesterday’s high dose.  Then, walking towards Dagny’s for Shut Up and Write, I saw a well-built black man running along 20th Street in my direction.  I paused to let him pass, but he didn’t run past—instead, he punched me in the face while speaking loudly to me, words that made little impression.  I turned away...

Diary, 1/5 to 1/15/2020

I see here “Lisa Simpson observing the conjunction of the moon and Venus.”  I have subsequently realized that the moon is facing the wrong direction; that is, instead of “C” it should be “Ɔ”.  This “spooky” coincidence is the most surprising and remarkable I’ve ever experienced, I believe.  I see or assign no particular meaning to this “synchronicity.”

Diary, 12/1 to 12/11/19

A bleak morning, thinking of the role the United States has taken in the world throughout my lifetime and before.  Thinking of the role the greedy rich have taken in the United States throughout my lifetime.  Thinking of the ineffectual Democratic Presidents, the hope-betrayers...

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, 11/1 to 11/6/19

910 words so far this morning on The New Book. So far it is a “book” of “thinking on paper,” and so far it is thinking about weight loss. Obviously, I don’t intend and could not think about weight loss every day to the tune of a thousand words; it would be nice, but I don’t expect this, if I could “think on paper” each day, thinking about self-mastery, and so get my book written.

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, 9/1 to 9/8/19

I ended up finally getting moderately hooked on Gotham, so I watched sixteen or seventeen episodes of Season 1 yesterday to finish it, since it has to go back today. The future Catwoman—Camren Bicondova is the actress—was for me almost the main attraction, her face is so compellingly beautiful. I wasn’t happy with the changes to her role in the last couple of episodes. Bruce Wayne got more interesting as well. As the shows...

Diary, 8/5 to 8/10/19

Last night I started reading Mark Epstein, M.D.: Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective. I was unpersuaded by the author’s delving into “the wheel of life” for insights into human psychology; what I saw was obscure metaphor after obscure metaphor, nothing I could use or even understand. Buddhism offers a way to escape the otherwise endless cycle of reincarnation...

Diary, 7/31 to 8/4/19

Colin McGinn: The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy is regrettably tedious because it labors over some pragmatically useless, thus very dull, points of analytic philosophy (via Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations and Kripke’s interpretation thereof). There’s only ninety pages to go, but I’m thinking that I’ll skim the rest, to see if it gets into anything I’ll find useful to my own thoughts. I was thinking early on that this would be a great introduction to philosophy for beginners...

Diary, 7/24 to 7/31/19

I’ve been reading Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, which I think of as “my next step in philosophy.” I read this once before with the feeling that it was rather over my head, and have occasionally reviewed my typed quotes. But the “Introduction” by Michael Williams seems very comprehensible and persuasive—if I can keep its lessons in mind, probably by periodic reviews, I can pretty much let the sticky parts go.

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.