Friday, January 31, 2003

Writing a character in my novel now that I created in Junior High. He was the main character in the first novella I completed in High School--I should say my first real concerted work of fiction I completed all on my own, for myself.

That novella's got a lot of flaws. I certainly wouldn't try to sell it, and I'd probably only let someone I really trust read it, but I've never stopped liking the character, and for all of that novella's flaws, I never felt like he did anything wrong, as a character.

The problem I have with that novella has mainly to do with its other characters, who I felt were a bit flat, and the story's frenetic--in a bad way--pace.

I've improved, I'm happy to say. Some might disagree. But I pretty strongly feel that I've a more natural narrative voice and that my characters seem more complex . . .

Anyway. This character.

It's weird writing him again, mostly because it feels so easy. Like putting on an old outfit and finding it fits perfectly. I wonder if a part of our brain is hardwired with a character, once we've spent enough time with him or her?

Tim bought Glamdring.

When I dropped by his house this evening, Tim, positively glowing, showed me his recent acquisition--an exact replica of Gandalf's sword, Glamdring, as seen in the movies.

Tim's purchased a number of swords but Glamdring is by far the finest of his collection, and not merely for its aesthetic and legendary value--the thing's expertly made, and full tang. The blade and hilt--all the way to the pommel--are all one piece of solid steel, wrapped in a leather grip at the handle. When he let me hold it, I felt like I was holding Gandalf's sword. I mean, it's it. I was awed.

So what was I doing at Tim's anyway, when I was supposed to be in class?

Well, at about an hour and a half through the English Composition class I'd just started to-day, I decided to drop it.

There're a couple reasons for this decision, but the primary one is this:

The teacher was the sort of teacher who fervently believes that the students are better off working together in groups.

Gods I hate that. Why can't I get more teachers who'll just blessedly lecture? What is this fixation with, "Okay, class, now get into groups of four and discuss," or, "cooperate,"

I don't wanna discuss! Most of my fellow students are clueless about what the teacher's saying--that's why they're students for the gods' sakes.

And I certainly don't wanna cooperate. I am not a team player. There is no "I" in "team", which is why "I" am not part of a "team".

All I want to do in class is to fucking listen and learn. Of course, it's probably due to the average student's inability to do either in a non-obnoxious, gossipy, feral format that has given rise to the average teacher's tendency to employ these irritating methods.

I've gotten to the point where I can kinna tolerate it. I'll work in a group now and then, fine.

But this teacher actually wanted to assign everyone a partner for the whole semester with whom we're required to work with on the final project.

No thank you. I can take this class just as easily next semester. With a different teacher.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

I feel soggy.

Too much to eat I suspect . . .

I haven't done much of anything in the past forty-eight hours. Disgraceful, huh?

I went with Trisa to a Starbucks last night that I've never been to and that head the old machine! That's right--real espresso!

I guess part of the reason I've been so unproductive is I actually got caught up in a computer game. But Gods, you'll have to forgive me because it's been so long!

All right. I will get down to business to-night!

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I went to see my friend Marty to-day--Marty is an English teacher at Santana High School.

Marty wasn't there, but I overheard an interesting conversation while I was waiting for him.

Near the school's entrance, a hall monitor/security type person was talking to a teenage boy on a small bicycle.

"Yeah, I was expelled from Rio Seco [another high school]," said the bicyclist.

"Why?" asked the Hall Monitor.

"Ah . . . I threw a desk at a teacher," the kid laughed, then explained, "Well this teacher was always sitting on people and getting away with it--she was like 400 pounds. All the faculty knew and didn't care. Anyway, she was sayin' she was gonna sit on me, and I got kind of pissed off. So I picked up a desk and threw it at her,"

Possibly the strangest conversation I've ever overheard.


Got going again on my novel on Monday. I wrote an outline for part seven and finished chapter 60.

I kinna re-organised the whole game plan, but not by much. It occurred to me that I'm prolly gonna wanna edit part 3 down to a much smaller size as it's disproportionately huge . . .

I started class to-day too--The Acorn Review. The class is basically the editorial staff of a school publication of student short stories, plays, artwork, and poetry. I thought it would be a useful experience. And I do enjoy being a critic.

After class, Trisa bought me dinner at Denny's, which was terribly nice of her.

The day was just plain good.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Dinna manage to sleep through the fucking Super Bowl.

Gods I hate football. I hate it so much. Maybe too much.

I've been feeling pretty ucky for the past week. I think I need to realign myself. I sense the best way to do this would just be to get back to work on my novel. It's been a couple days . . .

I'm having one of those phases where everything I say or write feels to me like exactly the wrong thing.

Now what kind of attitude is that? I need to relax and I need to above all stop being so fucking self-conscious . . . I need to just immerse myself in what I'm trying to make.

I've gotta stop worrying about worth and think more about . . . trivial things.
Just uploaded a new page for Doll Merchant.

Saturday gave me a lot of reasons to be pissed off.

Yet for some reason I was pretty cool all day.

One thing I'm really sorry about, though, is I've not gotten much writing done in the past couple days . . . I gotta stop goofing off . . .

I finished reading Dirty Hands by Jean-Paul Sartre. Really, really good. After finishing it, I ate dinner, thinking about it a bit. I decided it was a very existential tale, and then a moment later I said to myself, "Well duh, it's Sartre!"

Now, if you will excuse me, I think I am about to happily sleep through the Super Bowl.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

My heart hurts a great deal, and it's been hurting a great deal for several hours now.

I have only one theory as to why.

About two hours after I woke up, I went to the mall. I went to one of the pretzel places because I had a craving for the Cin-ful Cinnamon pretzel I'd been given a bite off from the Sample Girl standing in front of the store a few days earlier.

To-day, I threaded my way through a conglomeration of strollers and their ponderous parents to the counter where I was asked by a pretty young woman, "Hello sir, how're you to-day?"

"Good. How're you?"

Her default smile faltered and her eyebrows creased a little, "Wh . . . what did you say?" she sounded like I'd called her something really vile.

"I said, 'I'm good. How're you?',"

"Oh . . ." the smile returned.

Now, this pretzel she gave me had . . . I would say just enough cinnamon sprinkled on it to, if scraped off, fill a large thermos. I say that in jest but . . . thinking back now, I'm pretty sure that's actually a rather literal estimation.

I still have cinnamon under my fingernails. Honestly, it was worse than sand on a beach.

I think it's the cause of my headache.

The headache's the cause of me feeling pretty crappy right now.


On the bright side of things, the new episode of Farscape was really good.

And I did a new page for Doll Merchant

Friday, January 24, 2003

So . . . tired . . .

Calculating in my head . . . I believe I can have gotten no more than three hours of sleep in the past fifty or so hours.

I hate that.

Because I really, really like sleep. Contrary to some beliefs, I am not an insomniac. Merely a fellow who doesn't sleep during the night. But during the day--ha! Look out Morpheus because the Dreaming is my oyster!

I was granted very little sleep on Thursday. Meaning I'm hitting the sack now, as early as 4am.

It's worse because I've felt very unproductive all day. In fact, it's even worse than that because I was actually rather, in truth, productive. I just dinna feel like I was being productive.

I got two more sections of web site up to-day--looking over to your right, you might notice the new Doll Merchant and Links sections.

Doll Merchant is a goofy little sort of serial doodle I've been doing for a few months. I created it mainly for those times when I was feeling like I couldn't possibly do anything with the night requiring me to do more than lay on my ass. I put out only one page of Doll Merchant at a time, and each page is only six panels.

So when I'm feeling all useless, I can almost always con myself into working by saying, "Oh come on. It's just six measly panels . . ." and since the artwork in Doll Merchant is kinna willfully rough, it's easy work. But it often acts as a springboard into getting some more serious work done.

And really, I'm rather happy with Doll Merchant so far . . . although I have no idea where the story's going.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I'm gonna see Ziggy Stardust at the cinema on Saturday! Yay!!!

I think I've contracted a bit too much energy this evening. Maybe it's just for having gotten some real espresso at a Starbucks I didn't even know until this evening uses the old (better) machine. And it happens to be one of my favourite Starbucks to write at.

Didn't get as much done to-night thanks to Hershey the dog, whom we've barricaded in the kitchen so's he won't throw up on the carpet anymore. He gets pretty lonely I guess because he kept crying whenever I left him alone. I finally sat out there with him for awhile, reading Sartre until he went to sleep . . . and I quietly slipped back into here.

I have to get up horrendously early (11am!) so I'd better cut this off here . . .


Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Hm. My latest post appears now . . . only it appears multiple times. Oh well. I should just be happy this thing's working again . . .
At around 6:30pm on Tuesday night, I decided to pop over to Starbucks before it was time for Buffy the Vampire Slayer to start.

While I was getting out of my car, I received a voice mail. It was Ted, my biological father, informing me that there had been a death in the family.

I had listened to this voice mail through the nearest pay phone to the Starbucks, which had been on the other side of the trolley tracks. Dodging an oncoming trolley on my way back, I tried to analyse the situation.

What could it mean, that he refrained from telling me who had died? I decided that it probably meant my grandmother Ruby Dean, who’s Ted’s mother, and who sends me money to help pay for my school and basic needs, had passed away.

She’s always been very generous to me and as I got back in my car, I thought to myself how horrible it would be if she was dead. But, I also reminded myself, I didn’t actually know if it was her. Any relative Ted would have mentioned would most likely be one of my relatives in Tennessee, of which there are roughly a thousand.

I didn’t have Ted’s number with me—unable to call him back, I elected to simply drive to his house to find out who had died.

As I went along, I slowly grew more anxious, and became more filled with dread. I thought about how I had just registered for classes a few hours earlier, and about how I would probably need to drop them so that I would be able to attend the funeral in Tennessee. I thought, I admit, about how I wouldn’t be able to pay for classes, or nearly anything anymore, if my grandmother was dead. I wondered if I had ever properly expressed to her how grateful I was that she has effectively enabled me to go to school and work on my novel without also being forced to carry a job to financially support myself—that she did this even though I’ve only seen her on rare, sporadic occasions throughout my life.

I kind of clung to the Smiths album I was listening to as I began contemplating how horrible it is that people die so visibly unfulfilled.

As Death of a Disco Dancer was reaching its somewhat oppressive instrumental climax, I pulled up to the curb outside Ted’s house.

As it turned out, the message was about an aunt I barely knew who had actually been dead for four or five months, and I had already known about it.

I left there at around 7:30pm, very agreeably listening to Girlfriend in a Coma.

I reached home at 7:56pm, in time for Buffy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I got too many things for free on Monday--this sews suspicion in a heart like mine.

First I got batteries from Tim for free when I went into his RadioShack. He says they write them off, but it still felt strange. Not to mention he paid me back for lending him eight dollars the other day--so I essentially walked into RadioShack, grabbed some batteries, took money from the cashier, and left.

Sure, I'm grateful. But I'm so psychologically peculiar that it had me quaking in my shoes.

Later in the evening, the girl at Starbucks refused to take money for the grande latte I ordered. And, no exaggeration, I practically begged her to take my money.

The only thing I ended up paying for on Monday was that stomach ache inducing veggie tempura. Perhaps that was my penance.


I'm also currently feeling slightly guilty for offering on Poppy Z Brite's message board some biting criticism of Anne Rice. I looked at Rice's site afterwards and learned that her husband died last month.

I still stand by what I said. But I felt bad--I prolly wouldn't if it weren't for the fact that I really do like some of Rice's older stuff.

Oh well. "That's the way the teeth gnashes" as William Burroughs once wrote.

Monday, January 20, 2003

I dreamt that Trisa and I were Somewhere staying in the same hotel room. For some reason, the room did not have any lamps and this really upset both of us.

So after Trisa had gone to sleep, I decided to make one. I did this by opening an invisible door to another dimension and simply pulling a lamp through. I set it on the little table between mine and Trisa's beds. I turned it on, and began to write for a little while--I wrote in what appeared to be the exact same little black journal book I've been using lately for my novel. I'm pretty sure I was working on my novel too, and am kinna sorry I can't remember what I wrote. Wouldn't that be cool if I could say that about my novel when it's finished? "Parts of this were written in the land of dreams!"

To-day I've so far gotten a bad stomach ache from some veggie tempura I got at the mall.

Now I'm feeling productive! So now I shall write!

Sunday, January 19, 2003

I saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to-day with Trisa and I ruled that it was almost as good as Clash of the Titans.

Seriously, it wasn't bad. Chris Columbus made a bunch of miscalculations of course, but the fact that he's so timid with any sort of "identifiable style" as my friend Marty put it, at least made it so that the screenplay pretty much stood out from it.

The biggest miscalculation, I feel, was the need to make the ending feel Super Completely Grandiose. The most enjoyable part of the story was just this idea of the kids having a cool little series of adventures in their school. It's as if Chris Columbus was trying to take something that was like a fun detective or Uncle Scrooge serial and turn it into an opera.

I am extremely tired now for having gotten up early again so I think I shall now sleep.

Good night.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

My good deed for the day--cooling a serious conflict between a cat and a dog, allowing the cat to reach the water he had apparently been wanting for quite some time.

Didn't do very much else. I talked to Cryptess on ICQ for a very long time, and in the evening, I finally got a game to work on this computer. Ah, it's been so long! That instinct in me has not died--I still sit back from whatever I'm working on, now and then, filled with the instinctive urge to cool my jets in some fetching game.

The game I installed is Fallout 2, which I got in a package with its predecessor (Fallout) for merely ten dollars. And I've heard good things about it.

Still . . . it'll never be Morrowind . . .


Friday, January 17, 2003

Once again, I saw the sun--an hour earlier too.

I was made to remember what a bright and annoyingly warm thing the sun is. I gained a new appreciation for my customary sleeping schedule.

I went to see The Two Towers for the forth time, and greatly enjoyed it, despite feeling like I was probably going to fall asleep at any moment.

When I got home, I found that my aunt had gotten me some old books at an estate sale. Books by Ogden Nash, Nathaniel Hawthorne, W. Somerset Maugham, and Alexander Dumas. I haven't read any of these authors, but it's neat having books this old--the Nash was printed in 1944 and the Maugham in 1915. Unfortunately, there's no year listed in the Dumas or Hawthorne, but both look extremely old and I can easily picture this copy of Dumas's The Black Tulip on a shelf in an average Victorian home.

Also when I got in, I found my aunt reading some of my novel. She seems generally to be enjoying it. The closest thing to a criticism she gave me was, "It's kind of wordy,"

I asked if she meant that in a bad way. Her reply was kind of incoherent.

"Are you saying there's something wrong with my language?" I asked--bear in mind here that my aunt's a former high school English teacher.

"No," she said, "It's just . . . wordy,"

I frowned and thought hard about that. Finally I was forced to say, "I don't understand . . ."

Here my grandmother, who's never read any of my writing, interjected, "She means you use a lot more words than you need to, that you could say the same thing with a lot less,"

"So it is my language,"

"Oh!" said my aunt, "I thought you meant language like 'foul language'. I can tell you what I like--I like your characterisation very much . . ."

But I was still kind of bothered. I explained that I try to be as succinct as possible. I have a lot of exposition that simply has to be there since my novel takes place entirely in another universe.

"If there's anything extraneous in the exposition," I said, "it's there because I'm trying to make the information flow better with everything else . . ."

They didn't respond to this. I find that people are usually only willing to go so far with criticisms, generally they prefer being polite to me to being useful to me.

I guess I was comforted a bit by the thought that J.R.R. Tolkien's works are full of exposition, and no one seems to seriously hold it against him.

But then I read over the part of my novel that my aunt had just read and decided that she was just plain utterly wrong. So phooey!

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I actually saw daylight on Wednesday, thanks to my pager waking me up, vibrating across my desk, making noises at me like a killer whale giving a raspberry.

So I arose at the bright and early hour of 12pm. I soon discovered that Hershey the Dog was indeed sick and had puked a couple of times whilst we slept.

In fact, he's more than sick. My aunt took him to the emergency room whereupon she learned that Hershey has about two weeks to live. I believe it, too, listening to his high pitched hacking coughs even now.

I feel pretty bad--I've only known him for a few months but he seems really sweet. And my aunt's certainly attached to him.

All day I drove about as if I was seeing life through dusty cellophane. Was not feeling particularly motivated, feeling more along the lines of bleak and gloomy. Thinking about how afraid people are of meaning, and how I can't much blame them as the truth behind things seems like it's mostly pretty negative, whether it's what the leader of North Korea can actually pull off or the ultimately small pale nature of the goals towards which we're all moving towards.

One of those days, I guess, where everything feels really phoney. I didn't find solace from that pervasive gloom until I got to watching Blue Velvet again. And even though it made me feel guileless and a bit naive, Sandy's Robin Dream scene did something towards cheering me up a bit.

I also watched Eat Drink Man Woman with my aunt and wished China wasn't guilty of a number of human rights violations so I could go and live in that beautiful scenery.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Well I've just stepped in a big puddle of dog piss.

I felt a little oddly dispirited all day and I suppose this was the perfect capper. I think Hershey the Dog is sick--he's usually so good about keeping himself under control.

He now lays, head down, near the front door, looking distinctly ashamed.

To-day I did, as planned, go to a coffee place with the intention of writing but the place was so fucking crowded. Absolutely no seats. So I took my writing and my coffee home.

Oh, and as you might have noticed, some of my writing is now available for perusal--click on the link marked Fiction in the little box on the right.

Comments would be appreciated if any of you have the time . . .


I've decided to read H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream Quest of the Unknown Kadath, and I'm about eight pages into it.

Although it is full of ominous, disturbing, and classically alien imagery word crafting, I'm finding it oddly comforting this evening. That, and Tori Amos's From the Choirgirl Hotel are very peculiarly lifting my spirits.

Choirgirl is perhaps my favourite Tori album (although I wouldn't stake my life on it as very often Pele and Under the Pink are my favourites). I was a little dismayed that Tori mysteriously chose not to play a single song off the album on either of the last two occasions she played here in San Diego.

I guess she probably has her reasons though . . .

Now I'd better go make myself feel useful.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

I was watching Trigger Happy TV and not laughing, which is odd as that show normally makes me laugh, when I saw Jennifer Polinsky.

This is the girl I mentioned seeing in a dream a few nights ago, incarcerated in a Buick.

Well, now I've just seen her in a commercial for Girls Show 'N Low.

Show 'N Low, it seems, is a sort of travelling car show, and Girls Show 'N Low is a combination of a Girls Gone Wild and video of cars at the show. If you should happen to see the commercial, Jennifer--or the girl I believe to be Jennifer (perhaps it's merely someone who looks exactly like her)--is the dark haired one happily slapping her bare thigh.

She looked happy so I suppose I needn't worry.

To-day I also finally got to see the first episode of Farscape. What an incredible show. How have I not noticed it for four years?

I purchased the Best of the First Season DVD collection to-day and I'm very happy I did.

I got it at the mall where I realised that I haven't really been going out very much lately. And when I do, it's to travel to distant malls for distinctly vacation-ish excursions.

I've decided that to-morrow I shall go to some non-regular coffee place and write.

Monday, January 13, 2003

I'm feeling a little melancholy right now for just having watched the Siskel and Ebert episode of The Critic.

I miss Siskel so much. He was the only movie critic I liked.

I was pleased that the special edition of Blue Velvet I purchased a copy of recently included the original Siskel and Ebert review of the film. Siskel liked it, Ebert didn't.

Gene Siskel, you're still a hero.

I've so far only watched the first half of my new copy of Blue Velvet (I'm vaguely ashamed of this as for some reason I get the feeling that David Lynch is the sort of director who prefers his movies to be seen in their entirety in just one go. I'm not sure what gives me that impression--maybe it's that there're no chapter selections on the Mulholland Drive DVD).

It was the first time in a while I've really been able to enjoy Blue Velvet. Having watched it 300 billion times since high school, I've gotten to the point where I will watch the movie only under very specific circumstances--that is, when there is little or (preferably) no noise coming from anywhere but the TV. I will watch it only when there are absolutely no distractions.

This is why I only watched half the film, even though I was really very into it.

My sensitivity to extraneous noise whilst I'm trying to watch a movie is nothing short of fanatical. I'm of the belief that the entire experience of certain movies can be altered just by the sound of a door closing somewhere else in the house.

Aren't you glad you don't live with me?


There're about . . . fifty things I planned to do this evening. But I'm feeling so tired that I'm wondering what, if any of it, I'll end up doing.

I only wrote three pages so far to-day so maybe I'll just concentrate on bringing myself up to my requisite ten.

Then I'll decide what book to read next, having just finished Caitlín R Kiernan's Silk--which was, by the way, an incredible book.

It puts you right in the midst of a bunch of interesting people you fall in love with. The wonderful sort of emersion in a group of captivating creatures that puts me in the mind of Jack Kerouac (although I see most reviews of the book tend to describe this feeling as being more Ernest Hemmingway-ish). And it's also a horror novel of the supernatural. The best sort of supernatural horror, where the horrible thing isn't horrible because it's got claws and slime, but because it's something having to do with us at disturbingly intimate levels. Manifestations of how we can be hurt.

Brilliant stuff.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

I've got cat saliva all over my sleeve!

This is what comes of having a cat nibbling and licking at it.

Beyond that, nothing much interesting happened to-day. I really ought to have gotten a lot more work done but I felt very sluggish all day. I watched Tim putting his computer back together whilst he was watching that thing most people in this country call football but what I think of as High Idiocy.

It's disgustingly expensive and it's boring. It needs to be gotten rid of.

I spent the time, waiting for Tim to reconstruct his machine, to think of ways in which football can be improved.

For one thing, the players should have medieval weapons. The game should be played on ice, and everyone should wear hazardous, spike covered armour. The coaches should have complete rights over the players' bodies, enabling them to carry out any torture they like upon the players who've been a disappointment.

The jerseys the players wear should have remote controlled pigmentations--so that someone up in a control booth can switch any players team, right in the middle of the game. There'd be a couple safe zones that would block the radio signal.

Occasionally, the lights will begin to strobe and music shall begin to play. Any player that does not instantly drop whatever he or she is doing to begin dancing shall instantly be called "out", no matter how injured he or she is.

And of course, there'd be obstacles, to make it hard.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

I've just eaten breakfast food . . . for breakfast!

It's quite a concept for me, and yes I do know it's after 5pm.

I was incredibly, overpoweringly hungry when I found the raison bagels in the kitchen. Looking at them, I realised that they would go terrifically well with coffee, so I started a pot.

Bagel and coffee. Breakfast!

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any cream cheese and substituted American cheese, so even though I started out powerfully hungry, by the time I'd eaten half the bagel, I was utterly full.

Coffee's good though.
I've been spending the past several hours going through some of my older short stories, trying to decide which ones, if any, I want to include on my new web site.

I'm noticing a lot of things in them that're really pissing me off and making me question my abilities. I mean, sure, most of what I'm going through was written a very long time ago. Much of it comes from when I was in high school, so naturally I should expect my skills to be a bit rougher. But I was having this weird moment where I was wondering if I have gotten better at writing or if I've simply gotten different opinions about writing. Maybe I'm actually not as good as I used to be.

I know for a fact that I'm a guy who is quite susceptible to delusion. Am I really doing what I am "meant" to be doing?

That question resounds in my head, even though there's a large rational part of me that says it's a silly question. I know that writing seems to fulfil me in ways greater, and in ways more generally permeating of my me, than anything else. Why the fuck should I care if I'm "meant" for it if being "meant" for it means anything other than that feeling?

I guess it's all I have to go on in any case . . .

In his blog recently, Neil Gaiman quoted Kate Bush as saying, "Be kind to your mistakes," which seemed like a very good philosophy to me. So as I'm looking at my old works, I'm trying to just see whether I think the ideas are good.

I suppose, in the end, I think some of them are fun reads. Which, if it's not merely the due to the distortion of my perspective, is quite good, all things considered.

So I think I shall now officially stop entertaining self-doubt, at least for half a moment.


Also in Neil Gaiman's journal was a link to an essay by Ursula K. LeGuin addressing a lot of things about writing, one of which was the classic idea that a writer needs to write about what he or she knows. This rule, says LeGuin, after mentioning a number of the fantastical things she's written about, is fine, except that it wants a better definition of "know".

For some reason, I started thinking about scenes in her books where characters have to deal with the death of a comrade. Like each and every other droplet of LeGuin's writing, these scenes are always brilliant, and always affect me with genuine and appropriate feeling.

Although I know very little of LeGuin's life, she's lived long enough that one can assume that she has, at one time or another, had to deal with the death of a loved one, or at the very least, someone she's personally acquainted with.

I started to wonder if I, having never actually had the experience of someone close to me dying, can truly justify writing about death as much as I do (see, I told you the self-doubt'd only be gone half a moment).

Am I guilty of escapism, dwelling on subject matter that I couldn't possibly know about--in effect, creating pure delusion from the barest abstract concept of something real?

I know I'm always very emotional when I'm writing such scenes. I generally concentrate on . . . the idea that the world's irrevocably changed . . . the helplessness one feels about it . . . the frighteningly imposing reality of so suddenly being utterly severed from contact with someone . . . and the horrible feeling that comes with knowing that a loved one is experiencing great pain, or has experienced great pain, and it's too late to do anything about it.

I guess these are concepts that I may have been made familiar with through my life experiences in different ways. Perhaps I use death as a device to explore these concepts, rather than using the concepts as devices to explore death? Maybe I'm just stirring the big soup of related human experience, and the relevance of which end the stick's grabbed at is arbitrary . . .

Friday, January 10, 2003

Sometimes I'm frustrated by Microsoft Word and the mysteries of my own actions. These two things can make it quite difficult for me to follow my own trail when I need to, especially when they are working in tandem.

I wanted a certain picture for a web site I was working on. A picture I'd made for a certain Word document.

The problem is that the picture does not seem to be showing itself on the hard drive, even though it still loads up on the Word document. But Word will not tell me where the picture's coming from.

I can see what I want, right in front of me. But I can't have it.

I am the human struggle.


I did not get to sleep early. I finally shut off the light at 6am and stared wide eyed up at the ceiling, feeling frustratingly giddy (I've been too giddy lately, I don't know why).

I did wake up early, at around 10:30am. And now it's just past 4am, and I think I might actually be able to go to sleep in merely a few moments.

I got my desired amount of writing done to-day, so I feel basically good.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Okay! I've decided that to-night, I shall go to bed earlier! Earlier--as in soon!

Wrote something like six and a half pages to-day before I was interrupted. I plan to make it up to my self by writing twice as many pages to-morrow.

I know, I know. Yes, there is that little voice inside me saying, You've already failed, Sets. This is not gonna work.

To this voice I say . . . I say . . . "Oh, walk away you silly thing,"

A big part of keeping your inner daemons and/or ghostly functionaries of practicality under control, in my opinion, is a good, commanding tone with harsh, uncompromising words. Yah.

I was cut short to-day simply because life does not approve of any particularly tight plans I make. I had planned to awaken at 3pm or so, go to my mother's house for "dinner" (read "breakfast"), go to Starbucks or someplace else serving good coffee, write, and then meet up with Magious to go to an electronics store called Fry's (a place I used to like a lot more back when its massive, warehouse interior was but sparsely lit by a smattering of little white bulbs, turning the aisles of bright boxed software and the mysterious tiny complicated and dusty textures of hardware into a crazy dream-like labyrinth, hiding somewhere in its depths a little cafeteria selling forty year-old doughnuts and smoothies like something Harold Ramis would want Bill Murray to get a sample of. The place was great back then, but oh no. Average computer consumer apparently needs things well lit).

Instead, although I thought I was gonna be late because my grandmother stopped me to eat a pumpkin bagel, I managed to get to my mother's early, and I got the above mentioned six and a half pages finished before being summoned to the dinner table.

From there, I did go to Starbucks where I did fully intend to write some more. I would have, only I inadvertently wandered into the Wandering Realm of Hyper Friendliness and I got spooked.

First, the girl behind the register greeted me by name, turning the name into an exclamation. Then the guy behind the register chatted with me happily and incoherently as he rung me up and I nodded and smiled where I thought it was probably appropriate.

As I was going out the door, a teenage-looking boy with his arm in a sling stopped me and said, "Hey, where'd you get that fedora?"

I always have my automated-reply-to-questions-about-my-hat ready, so I said, "At a place in Horton Plaza that closed down, but I believe it actually moved to--"

"The Village Hat Shop?" he interrupted.

I blinked, "Y-yeah!"

"I collect fedoras," he explained as we were walking away from each other, "Yours is beautiful, like Cagney or something,"

"Well, thanks," I said, flattered to the tips of my ears.

I know. It's prolly not normal to be intimidated by eerily friendly people. But I just didn't feel like I was gonna be able to concentrate.

So I left.

You know . . . I don't suppose there's really any reason not get some writing done now. It's not like I really meant to go to sleep so early . . .

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

7 am and I still can't sleep.

Last night it wasn't until 6am, and before that 5am. I suppose I can take comfort in the fact the I shall inevitably come all the way back around to my "regular" hours, like some kind of Magellan of the slumber seas.

I meant to get a lot of writing done to-day (Tuesday I mean). And I didn't.

Damnit, to-morrow. To-morrow!

In Caitlín Kiernan's journal, she mentions keeping herself to a 1000 words a day regimen. I think that's a very good idea. Only, I write everything in notebooks before typing up so . . . er . . . I think I'll try for at least . . . ten pages. Yeah, that should do.

I may see the end of my novel yet!

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Fuck, is it ever windy outside! I don't think I've ever seen it so windy around here.

It's making the whole house creak and moan like an old sea vessel and the motion sensors on the front porch keep turning the light on as a big plant keeps swing in front of it erratically. I got up to take a look at what was making all the noise and I almost thought the big silly plant was Swamp Thing or a very sinister burglar.

It's sinister to rob a house dressed as Swamp Thing, okay?

I suppose I ought to go eat some apple pie and ice cream now. I can hear Hershey the dog coughing upstairs . . .

Currently finishing a black cherry root beer . . . and it was very good.

Monday, January 06, 2003

I dreamt last night that a girl I used to know named Jennifer Polinsky was arrested for something or other, and sentenced to solitary confinement in an old rusty Buick in someone's garage.

I came by to visit her one day and she said a lot of very silly things to me that I don't remember. Some guy was calling her from the kitchen.

The night before, I dreamt that I met Hugo Weaving and that I kept calling him Elrond, until finally I sportingly smiled and said, "No worries. I know your name is really Peter--er, I mean Hugo!"

I felt really, really embarrassed.
To-day I finished the first draft Part five or six of my novel, and I feel very good about it, even though I don't know whether it is, in fact, Part five or six.

All this confusion comes from the fact that I originally wanted Part five to be two separate, not physically related story lines. I was to alternate from chapter to chapter between the two.

However, the other day I read through my would be Part 5 for the first time and found this format to be a little offputtingly schizophrenic as I found myself, as a reader, becoming too involved with what was going on in the previous chapter to allow myself to be re-submerged in the other storyline. So I divided this 5 into two parts, and I’ve not really decided which shall be which. In any case, I’ve now finished the first draft of both, so once typed up, it should be presumably easier to decide. I hope.

On Saturday night, Trisa and I went to see Gangs of New York. An incredible movie, and I was mystified, awed, and generally bowled over by Daniel Day-Lewis, who just was Billy the Butcher. I was thinking about how the guy’s just a vessel for these characters or something. Spooky and just great. For me, he has all the mystery and majesty of an elusive forest sprite from ancient mythology.

Before going to the movies, before meeting up with Trisa, I did something fairly unwise.

The bank was closed, and all I had in my wallet was a hundred dollar bill and a check for a hundred fifty. I figured I prolly couldn’t pay for movie tickets with either.

So I stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way to Trisa’s and bought fifty-four dollars worth of books. Unwise, not only considering that I’ve a billion books to read already, but also because when Trisa and I were in another Barnes and Noble later in the evening, just before the movie, I found her dreaming over a seventy dollar anatomy book she’d wanted for Xmas but dinna get.

Rats I thought, Rats,.

I can hardly even recall what I bought . . . let’s see . . .

I got exterminator! by William S. Burroughs, Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite, and a great big weird twenty dollar Jack Kerouac book.

. . . yes. Just four books amounted to fifty-four dollars. The prices of books are fucking ridiculous.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

I’m pretty tired. And I haven’t gotten nearly as much work done as I had intended for the day.

Certainly not as much work as I got done on Thursday night/Friday morning, when I went five hours straight, Getting Things Done whilst listening to the eighty dollars worth of Tom Waits albums I’d purchased on Thursday. That was money quite well spent.

Uck. It’s not even 4am yet and already I’m tired. What on earth is wrong with me anyway? I guess I’ll go to bed and read awhile--something else I dinna do to-day that I’ve a lot of to do. I’m currently about a third of the way through Caitlín R Kiernan’s Silk, which is wonderfully involving for the naturalness of the vision Kiernan puts on. Not to mention the fact that most of the main attractive characters share my taste in music almost identically.

Aside from Silk I also have three or four seductive stacks comprised of Edgar Allan Poe, Ursula K. LeGuin, Raymond Chandler, Arther Conan Doyle, Poppy Z Brite, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Marquis de Sade, H.P. Lovecraft, Angela Carter, and Jean Paul Sartre, just to name a few.

What I need is another day like the one where a cat jumped on me and prevented me from moving for twelve or so hours and I managed to read Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle in it’s entirety.

So. If I wasn’t working to-day . . . and I wasn’t reading . . . what was I doing?

Well I watched Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures for one thing. What an incredible movie. A fantastic movie. (I love how Pauline said, “fantastic”).

Hm. Just had a strange moment there where I utterly forgot where the left parenthesis was on the keyboard . . . er . . . too much root beer . . .

Anyway, ‘twas my first time seeing the movie in two or three years, ever since I donated my tape copy to an abstract and hopeless cause. And my first time ever seeing it in widescreen, which improved the thing tremendously.

I also bought coffee to-day . . .

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Well. Looks like I may or may not have this thing how I want it. Time will tell on it I suppose . . . and anyway, I'm feeling pessimistic.
This thing's really very confusing. Or maybe I just want too much from it. Anyway . . . this is my journal, whatever it says. . . . Halloa.