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, 10/7 to 10/19/19, biggest post ever

Lay in bed this morning half asleep, turning over in my mind several words: acicular, acuminate, corm, carom, and maybe some others. Oh, yeah, crom, which comes from Conan the Barbarian. I looked it up; under cromlech, I found that crom is Welsh for bent or crooked. On looking in the Scrabble dictionary, I found, to my surprise, many words beginning with bh…; the only one I’d seen before was bhakti. I think there’s a book by Joseph Campbell titled Bhakti and Baksheesh, about his time in India. I think I owned a copy for a while, started reading it, and gave it up...

Diary, 9/23 to 9/29/19

... neuroses are essentially psychic bandages—how we unconsciously respond to hurt in order to prevent more hurt. But of course it is necessary eventually to get beyond that stage. This is a commonplace. Another valuable lesson is how to respond to verbal aggressions like criticism...

Diary, 8/18 to 8/25/19

Well, I started a Pathfinder Meetup and acquired a group member within the first hour. I doubt that J or Pablo will be interested. If I can get just two enthusiastic members, well, that’s two potential friends. I’ve also discovered just a ton of stuff on the Internet, no surprise. I haven’t found any online play yet, but surely it’s out there. I’m not sure that I want that, because I’d then want home Internet…well, I wouldn’t necessarily fall into the same black hole that I discovered previously, i.e., something like “all Twitter, all the time.” But the real point of Pathfinder is, as always, new potential friends. I wonder ...

Diary, 8/11 to 8/17/19

Morita Therapy advises, “do what needs doing.” In my case, that would be housework. Is housework self-actualizing? Is housework flying high? Do I have any excuse for not doing housework? Yes, it’s called “housework be damned.” Housework is not my goal, it’s other people’s goal. It’s society’s goal for me. I say this even though I value accomplished ...

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.

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, 6/15 to 6/18/19

I read some of Georges Bataille: Visions of Excess last night. As I expected, it’s quite weird, but much of it was also dull and obscure. I most enjoyed the selection “Sacrificial Mutilation and the Severed Ear of Vincent Van Gogh.” It tells not only of the famous Van Gogh incident, but also of a man who chewed off his own index finger, persons who put out their own eyes, and of human and animal sacrifice generally. The stories...

Diary, 5/30 to 6/3/19

Because Chris Hayes tonight is all about yet another mass shooting, I’m listening to a CD of selections from Liadov, Tcherepnin, and Rimsky-Korsakov (“Le Coq d’or” suite). Liadov is quite low-key, which I knew going in, from an LP many decades ago, but I still had hopes…. I passed on a Delius disk because “Dull, duller, Delius.” Actually, I like at least one of his, don’t recall which.

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, 5/1 to 5/5/19

My grandmother (father’s mother) once bought me an LP record of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, which came as a surprise and puzzlement, since I had never heard of the composer or the work. I think that I had just “gotten into” classical music, and maybe didn’t even have another record of same.

Diary, 4/20 to 4/23/19

If the last chapter is “pungent,” which I doubt, the Prologue is something else—astonishing and touching. It tells of Emerson disinterring the corpse of his late wife, who had been seventeen at their engagement and twenty at her death, disinterring her after a year and two months of deep grief, in some Poe-esque kind of exorcism-gesture. I don’t know what to call it, but it was striking and weird.