REPORT A PROBLEM
My writing today has not been productive. Picked up a second book by Amy Hempel. Our holiday BBQ consisted of my parents and myself; I had already eaten lunch late and too close to dinner. Tonight in my car, I was moved by a piano concerto. I couldn’t be certain of the composer. I spent most of the night trying to respond to L.M. by letter. I began to fall asleep early, out of depression, only to go to my desk and stay up until it became light outside. Eyes too tired to read. Daydream, daydream, daydream through the night.
Tonight I opened and watched the DVD of Cinema Paradiso April Fischer got me. I became uncomfortable viewing it with members of my family. My father especially; he rarely watches films, and I half feel he sat down when he learned it was my favorite. Amongst them, I realized what a personal film it is for me, and by announcing it as my favorite, I felt revealed. My father eventually got sleepy and went upstairs. I sent my letter to L.M. tonight. Though it felt incomplete, sending it was all I could do to fulfill my need to reach her.
I feel like smoking today. I still haven’t smoked since March 12. L.M. told me by phone that it’s over, we’re broken up, and fuck you. Maybe that’s why the cigarettes—stress and I don’t have to worry now about how I look in her eyes. It’s hard to conceptualize forever when we always last so briefly. I must let go. Already sad and then more emails from L.M. Cruelty can always carve out more of an emptied heart. Forced myself to write more of my script, and did well with it. A friend later distracted me throughout the night.
Woke this morning feeling as though I had dreamt of a former lover. L.M. sent no word today. Ideas came but it was difficult to motivate myself to write. My niece was telling her twin a secret, when he exclaimed, “Stop telling me! I have spit in my ear!”. It was my first laugh of the day. My old work asked me to come in again to do some work for them. I haven’t answered. I wonder if L.M. has looked for me in any way. Or if she will ever again. Borderline. We will always be doomed like that.
I dreamed of L.M. last night. Woke with a dry cough and missing her. I still have had no sign or communication from her. My writing went well today. Went to sushi at night. We had to carpool using multiple cars, as there were so many people. My oldest sister rode with me. She's having relationship problems. My family continues to be guarded in their personal lives. The slight illness I felt this morning became a lot worse by evening. My niece got her first ballet slippers today. Writing and illness—today feels like it has made me a bystander.
Illness persists, and I am exhausted. I won't be attending open studios tonight as planned. I have a party to go to after but that's still up for debate. The party will keep me out too late, but I told Rachel I would see her there tonight, and there is the distinct chance that Claire will be there as well. Made a pact to make myself have sex. But tonight, I don't even know if I'll get out the door. Let go. Let go. My licorice mush is never really going to be mine. Anyway, medicine put me to sleep.
Low morale and depression is feeding my flu and is keeping me ill. Immobility has made my body ache. Haven't written for days. Late tonight, my phone rang three times from a number that felt familiar, but I couldn't identify. I couldn't pick up, and never got the voicemail I was hoping for. Was it you? The calls made me hopeful. Like you still loved me. But with the late hour and the phone prefix, I believe it was someone else. Continuing to not answer disallowed concrete disappointment. It couldn't be you. I can feel that you are over me.
I was mistaken. Or at least part of me certainly was mistaken. This morning you called again from the same mysterious number, and the third time you left a message. It was beautiful; I found it comforting, but historically it's part of the pattern. I'm still very ill today, but I will try to write you a letter. My head hurts from all the coughing. My upper back now tingles from the same thing. I raised my two-teaspoon cup of cough medicine and said, "cheers". As if following a command, my niece raised her hands in the air and cheered.
I began dating Janeane Garofalo. She wasn't with me when I went to see Paul Burt who was waiting for me at The Colony Pool that was stocked with College Park Pool pool furniture. In the crosswalk, a car hit me before I ever made it to the other curb. The senior citizen driving didn't yield to my abrasiveness when he got out. He was better at being bellicose than I, as were the other senior citizens who drove up to shout at me and run me over until I died. Together, they felt like the STAGESwritersBLOC personified. Fever dream.
My cough finally became productive today. I noticed a voicemail that I didn't realize was received the night before. I thought it was you, responding to the letter I mailed yesterday. The number was unidentified. It wasn't you. It was Vera. Looks like I missed out on her spontaneity again. I could've used it. For even if the conversation was short, it would give me something new to reflect on with all this sitting around in recovery. The fevers continue to come and go. Too exhausted to read, I'm stuck with watching more than a healthy dose of daytime television.
Little Michelle found me on friendster.com today. Unless I say otherwise, L.M. will still stand for licorice mush here on 100words.net. I didn't watch much of the news coverage on the memorials today. I kept changing past the channels. Because when I didn't, I became consumed. I don't want to watch today. I'm not criticizing anyone for the broadcasts or the memorials—it's the anniversary after all. But for myself, remembrances today would've felt induced. I've grieved over this date repeatedly throughout the days of these two years that have already passed. Telecasts would've felt like suggestions toward borrowed feelings.
The job I was holding out for, called me today and offered me the position. The scant contact I have had with the company thus far makes me lose more respect for them at every interval. Still, having secured a position that will allow me to continue writing has lifted my spirits enough to make my illness less cumbersome. I must get well by tomorrow. I haven't seen Gaudette in two weeks, and he is anxious to attend a street festival celebrating Mexican Independence. Though I imagine the celebrating will be carried out most significantly by eye-fucking all the Latinas.
The sunlight reflected on water being drawn from a jug with a ladle caught my eye up on the fourth floor. Beautifully archaic—I felt I was looking at human history. Woke out of a dream startled, how people in movies wake from a nightmare. My sister said my father was home, I felt him nearing, yet opening the door revealed strangers with wild dogs. Some dogs got past the slammed door. Last night, chasing dogs ran me to my father. Dogs to father, father to dogs. L.M. left a message that made me conclude she hadn't received my letter.
Woke next to L.M. this morning. Last night, staying out with Gaudette was taxing to my health. After he had gone, I had stayed up hoping L.M. would phone. I needed to be held by her. An hour wait and the phone rang. I drove over, and by the time we went to sleep, it was very late. When I woke, I began to read Turgenev's Spring Torrents. L.M. gave me herbal pills. I don't have to cross my fingers with her remedies. Had breakfast together. Supposed to meet my parents today, but never made it. The day was ours.
Fevers made it difficult to read again, and I had to do so in between bursts of burning up. All these ill days have made me so tired of television. Between the turnings of pages, my time was spent watching the clock. Had to wait till 9:30 for L.M. to be out of school. I surprised her with dinner but the foccacia sucked. I learned that Karen Poznansky, the person who introduced me to this website, has been able to read ahead in my entries, seeing my current month before the entire month is posted. More pills, water, then sleep.
This morning I finished Turgenev. Went to coffee with L.M.; salads for lunch, added the soup of the day—eggplant. Later I went to a different coffee house while L.M. was in class. Read Dennis Cooper's latest book. Experimental dialogue format, but aside from a strangely rewarding ending, the interest level was as lackluster as his previous two novels. I continue to read him based on my previous regard. But how long should one remain committed when bored? The coffee house finally kicked me out through bad music. Left before the back up vocals of "Eh-Jambo-Jambo". What to read next?
The answer to my ending question yesterday turned out to be James Joyce. Dubliners, a favored re-read. Tried to run errands in between dropping off and picking up L.M. from an hour-long class, but ended up mostly sitting in traffic, thereby getting little of my intended done. But bumper-to-bumper, I developed the concept to a short-story I believe I will be able to complete and feel accomplished with. I am finally getting over my illness, but I hope recovered health doesn't jinx the loving and amiable euphoria L.M. and I have been immersed in while I've been clinging to malaise.
Finished yesterday's errands today, before going over to my parent's house to read, while waiting for L.M. This included visiting my old work to discuss some contract work they want me for. I let it remain inconclusive. My commitment to seriously reading has made me very happy in these past days. I was particularly taken with A Little Cloud. I didn't remember it from when I read Dubliners years ago. Thinking about how the collection is segmented into stages of human development, I'm certain it means more to me now that I am within the stage of the story's character.
I’m having a problem with identity today. Pen-name or no pen-name. Some of the things I’ve been writing, I’m not as proud of. Mostly with my filmscript, which I have devoted the most time to. It pales beside the fiction I’ve begun writing again, and even beside my recent plays. Blame lessons in audience. Widening equals dilution and compromise. I feel less terrible about it knowing that there was once a pen name of Stephen Dedalus, while he published in a rag he wasn’t proud of. L.M. would tell me to pick a better audience or no audience at all.
Went to a film that sucked with L.M. tonight. But going out and dinner was really good. Sleeping next to her was even better. These blissful days melt together and are expiring. I wish they wouldn’t end. Our dinners, our walks with the dogs, our nights and mornings together. It’s been better than a vacation. Even difficult moments have been handled better. But these days of her housesitting are almost over. We’ll have to move to keep things growing like this. I hope for Santa Fe. Finished “Dubliners” in the park this afternoon, while L.M. was at a study group.
Woke up late, and later took a nap. I had to separate from L.M. in order to help my father with yardwork again. I thought I would have time to write afterwards, before seeing L.M. later that night, but the yardwork took longer than expected. Missing L.M. kept me from caring. We were supposed to go to dinner; I knew what she wanted from mentioning it the night before. I picked her up and began to drive, until she smelled our dinner already in the backseat. Thought I was so clever. But I got her the wrong salad all together.
Began my new job today. What a bunch of crap. Conversations with my colleagues remind me of the conversations I had during a warehouse temp-job right after college. I don’t know how I will last. For as much as I hated my previous job and wanted a nothing job like this so I could write, it’s discouraging, having to report somewhere to earn so little. Earning about a fifth of what I was earning before makes me feel worthless. Worse, eight months of unemployment has pampered me into having exactly all the time available I wanted to read and write.
L.M. was very ill this morning. She has been on my mind all day. I’m having a lot of difficulty with being away from her. My new job isn’t helping. Eight months when I could’ve stayed with her, and she gets this sick once I become employed yet without the ability to call-in and stay with her like when I was management and salaried. And with the paychecks I’m going to receive, I can’t give her much either. I feel very incompetent. She loves me so much. And I can’t help her. And I wasn’t there for her today either.
Day three of training, while bored and staring at the ceiling, I yelled out “goddammit!”. Offended the woman next to me with the prayer-book in her purse. Still, we get along—PROJECT: ME ATTENDING HER CHURCH. L.M. took me to Thai food tonight. Feel bad for her. She’s recovering quickly and rarely gets sick. Yet at her low she had a major test in a long awaited anatomy class. She can’t re-take it, and must drop the class to maintain her grades. I got her sick. Had the test been scheduled a day later, the tragedy wouldn’t feel so Shakespearean.
Day four of training and pocket-purse-prayer-book-lady tells me she and her church believe she should quit because our phone operators have the ability to provide horoscope information. The monotony of training this week has surprisingly released some writing ideas. I’m working on three stories now, on top of my filmscript. I hope to finish them all before the commitment to each of them is replaced by newer ideas. My new job makes me lose my appetite, and my not eating seems to bother my co-workers. It being a new job for everyone, I believe they think I can’t afford food.
Last day of training. Hands-on. Did mine at night. During the day I read some of the latest issue of “Salt Hill” that L.M. gave to me in a fondue pot, while she had coffee ice-cream in a cone. A woman who dialed 411 tonight, needed to hear that she wasn’t a bad person. She had twelve years of marriage to a mentally and verbally abusive traffic cop, and then divorced. Now people going places together on a Friday night depressed her as she sat watching at a gas-station. Four minutes and twenty-nine seconds later she took a PetsMart listing.
A film worth hating, then an original play that didn’t say much. L.M. and I had afternoon ice-cream. Late at night, L.M. must have fallen asleep; she didn’t answer her phone after the play let out. At Denny’s, through Paul’s intentional accident, we encountered Sheena. Hadn’t seen her since Paul was in love and she was sent off to re-hab. Observing their conversation made me as uncomfortable as she appeared while speaking to him, and as he was in speaking to her in front of me. She mentioned suffering from anxiety like it wasn’t noticeable. She had great hair though.
Morning felt slow, and the day was tiresome. Got in late, and for the first time in a while, I stayed the night at The Spurgeon. Past 3am, cops were outside with some loud drunk. Soon, five cops and even more paramedics. Then a drunk in my building started yelling “whore!” and “you piece of shit!” out the window at the drunk below as the cops released him/her and drove away. Later he threw a fire-extinguisher out his third-story window, and then a bunch of other shit I could only hear. So loud, that I saw the sun come up.
L.M. and I are on a bad streak again. Four films in a row. “The Order”, “Lost in Translation”, “Demonlover”, and before going to work today, “Matchstick Men”. After work I stood on a bridge, looking at the traffic below, as I waited for L.M. to get out of Flamenco. By the suspicious looks of the passers-by, I realized this bridge wasn’t spectacular enough for standing. I spent all the money I made today on dinner with L.M.. The dinner was nothing much, and in that way it complemented my wages. Later we spotted a stray kitten we couldn’t catch.
Going to have to nap soon. Today I didn’t work, but tomorrow, I’ll have to be on the phones at three-thirty in the morning. This schedule hasn’t allowed me the opportunity to see L.M. at all today. Not much else happened—read some, had a vanilla latte, and wrote this entry. I haven’t used my day off wisely toward the goals I’ve made and have been making all these sacrifices for. True, I had to go to my old work, to agree on a price for some contract work, but that was an anomaly. What will next Tuesday’s day-off bring?
The Tip Jar