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Will I forever be a teenager, each night behind the curtain of privacy imagining a new character for the next day? I somehow think that if I can hit upon the right character, the world will flow smoothly and all benefit will accrue to me. Dance through havoc, pet the little dogs, kiss the little babies—hey! Be a politician! Hmmm. Will that be it for tomorrow? What will it entail? Being kind and friendly, all the time working on strategy to win votes. What for? For my election. As what? Invisible man. Yes, that’s what I want to be.
I sometimes think that the general population of the world are retarded kindergartners. Then there are schoolteacher types. Then there are holy mystics. Then there is-- And I feel, sadly, that I am ambling about in the morass that is the lowest. But then I think—hey! Roll with it. You ain’t here to not get dirty. I read through crime reports from the last month. Idiocy plus alcohol—leads to many violent deaths. Stupidity plus opportunity—leads to many failed scams. Power plus mental inferiority—leads to police "entering the apartment of [his] ex-girlfriend and threatening…" Jails are full.
I’ve been studying alternative journalism. It’s good that it exists—don’t get me wrong—but I wish the alternative journalists would realize they’re often not so much better than the plodding mainstream guys. They just operate with a different template. Can be just as boring. Insensitive. Part of the pack. But still something an individual with a desperate conscience would want to break away from. What I admire most is a personal journalism that takes all the time in the world to relate a wonderful story. It takes a good ear, real interest, and an ability to use words well.
I have to talk about something that happened tomorrow, as it is tomorrow when I’m writing this—just catching up. I watched what—after many many years in journalism—I’d have to say is the worst display of horrible technique and bad taste I’ve ever seen. Diane Sawyer interviewing a pathetically strung out Whitney Houston. She was disoriented, odd, quite bewildered. And she had her on for the full hour, making a sick embarrassing point over and over again. I mean Diane Sawyer would look at her, scrunch up her face and say something like, "Are you over it now?"
Whitney’s interview should not have been put on television. The producers, ABC, Diane Sawyer made a terribly wrong decision. And Whitney Houston? She clearly has NO PEOPLE. She was railroad thin, raspy as hell, smiled for long periods and then would lean towards the camera, spread her lips, pause, then give some cliched non-answer. Then Diane Sawyer would respond as if in the midst of a credible conversation, asking follow-ups. I yearned for the commercial. It was a train wreck, I tell you. A train wreck. The clip of "Children are our Future" it made you want to cry—cry!
The stupid Christmas decorations are going up all over the city. I watched a worker (among many) standing by a ladder as evening broke, the skies dark and cold, working with some wire, about to string more lights around a building with annually lavish Christmas displays. The yawning tiredness of this display—the Rockefeller lights went up this week—marks a culture on its last legs. This stuff should be happening Dec. 23—that’s what I say! But what a tired culture—no? Or, if they’re coming up early, why is there no dancing and festivity? (Other than the Rockettes.)
I lied to my Betsy today. I held another woman in my arms. We looked in silence, our eyes inches from each other’s faces. Great desire filled me. I could only smile, confess I was speechless. Betty laughed. She first denied—then admitted—that this was the one power she had over men: she could render them speechless. (But this said in jest.) As for Betsy, I act so doting and committed with her—yet there is no passion! All my passion is in my dreams. My duty is even higher! Yet with those brown eyes so near me today—
There is a cavern of intense darkness—a void—out of which has come brilliant light, then form, our planet, its populace, its buildings, its interfaces, and I—in my consciousness—am that void, and allow each thing to hit me, to give me its light, its form, its planetary, everyday persona: standing on a streetcorner I caught the young boy, with Wonderbread eyes, walk in the cavalcade of his family, his eyes open, being taken; the Chinese woman enters with a slight wiggle as twitch penultimate to orgasm; a bus pounding down the street; my alightment. On to
Was engraven in depression. It colored my every move. Sapped my will. I sat imprisoned in a tarantula of loneliness. I was weighed down, and could go no where. People around me just assumed I was busy as I quietly sat in front of my computer and did not engage in the usual high-spirited repartee. I looked out of the dark lonely room in the early hours and understood the lure of drinking, of sex, of power—anything! Anything to remove the sickening relentless grip of death. Ah, but at least it was short-lived. By evening fall I was relieved.
I agree with someone who said you can break out of depression, but it may cost you—hey! Even death. But it can be broken out of. Then again, some things take time. And when you’re in the midst and know some time will have to pass—even if you are on a course to "break out of it"—it’s the pits. Your soul, suddenly it’s something you know—and it’s laden. And like a plane that shakes before it goes down, you have intimations of how deep the malaise can go. And, again: you understand all sorts of depravity!
Unbelievable that America could do such a thing.
So was my unsolicited reaction to the imminence of American bombing in Baghdad—on Jan. 13, 1991, as depicted in the fine HBO drama about newsmen from CNN in Baghdad on the eve of that war. On the way home, in the elevator with bags going up to the 24th floor:
We should be taking the stairs, if we want to bomb Iraq, would we do so only if we are willing to walk up all these stairs? Would killing Saddam be as important then? Shouldn’t it be?
Wool over our eyes.
Wonderful day in the rain. Leaving work, in the dark cold rainy (soak-through-the-shitty-shoes) downpour, I made the impossible trip uptown across town to get to the Central Park Arsenal building to see a wreath exhibit. Thought it would be a bunch of pretty, nice-smelling green normal-looking wreaths, but instead was met by op art, pop art, creative pasted together collages of striking (alleged) wreaths. Was visiting an artist friend. She doesn’t drink, but she went to get me one. Told her I’d had wine and coke (my two previous drinks). She brought me, of all things, a "wine and coke."
Why does 100 words succeed? How is it that this is the rare site where people express their thoughts and feelings and the writing is not sophomoric but at a level one would hope for from a community of human beings: there is considered thought, honest revelation—the presentation of real lives? I figured it out. It is the discipline the proprietor imposes. What airhead is going to meticulously count out 100 words? But count them out you must. And not miss a day. Therefore one is "published" only after exhibiting diligence and reliability—traits difficult to find at Diaryland.com.
From O. Henry collection,
, by Jonathan Nolan:
People, even regular people, are never just any one person with one set of attributes…It’s a daily pantomime, one man yielding control to the next: a backstage crowded with old hacks clamoring for their turn in the spotlight…The angry man hands the baton to the sulking man, and in turn to the sex addict, the introvert, the conversationalist. Every man is a mob, a chain gang of idiots…for a few minutes of every day, every man becomes a genius…insight [is then] entrusted to a moron or a hedonist or a narcoleptic.
It’s early Sunday morning. Tim Slowinski says he never uses real objects for models because "every technique and style of painting has already been perfected, the only remaining frontier to be explored is the one inside the mind." The same is true of writing. I looked in my mind. I saw a yelping bulldog, representing Desire. Within is also a diaphanously dressed matronly female, Temperance, who knows the formula for deciding when the dog is to be fed. She feeds on a vista of clarity. There is a slick rationalizer, too. Card Shark. He seeks to change the ground rules.
A friend of mine recently complained about being nice. Or, rather, lamented the fact he was that way. He said it made him feel "societally superficial," in that the niceness masked "real" expression. But—I didn’t get a chance to tell him then—I’d like to say, No. Being nice—acting an ideal—is nothing you should have animosity towards. The fact some aspects of your personality don’t support that behavior does not negate its worth. You may think you’re phony but what you’re doing actually is compensating for darker—inherited—tendencies. Keep it up. You’ll grow into it. Really.
Let’s get a little liberated here, hear what I mean? Don’t forget to pull out the rug, listen for a spell, can’t do what you can’t do. Really, now. I know when you look back on things, there isn’t much there. On the other hand, if you look ahead, you may not be able to see much, either. Therefore, hey! What I gotta do, what I gotta say, is stay the course. Get out, tell your mother and father you’re leaving, and walk out the metaphorical door. I mean, rack it up! Tell the piper what tune to play! Yeah!
Hair-raisingly busy day, reminiscent of life at the cosmodemonic telegraph agency in Tropic of…? As I remember the situation, it's best described as a workplace so busy that there's hardly—if at all—time to go to the bathroom, and that, in the flotsam and jetsam of activity, when all is said and done, not an iota had been accomplished—except another day of survival with the best medicine available: humankindness, patchwork solutions, situational ethics, and a pat on the back at the end of the day that you didn't—deservedly—take someone's head off. I had no Mona to fuck.
I hate David Balance, I really really do. If you could see him as I do, sitting there as if he deserves it in that fabulous easy chair, trying his best not to explode, it's pathetic. The way—earlier in the day—he attended so dutifully to his electric razoring before the mirror, the way he preened and without the slightest true justification concluded he was actually handsome, why it's a wonder he can even tie his shoelaces properly! (And one time, even when he managed to, he tripped miserably all over himself anyway!) The way he buttoned his shirt!
I'm sitting up here late at night wondering if anyone has any clue what I am up to. I mean perhaps someone does. Otherwise, the world is full of darkness. Not in Iraq. They're getting ready—it's daytime there—for new enlightenment, courtesy of US (accurate?) bombers. We're helping to stop terrorism. Hey! If we get lucky, we'll knock out that bastard, not touch another soul, have people dancing in the streets and carefully work to make sure stability and good government prevail. Then? The Philippines, Indonesia, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, China and other places.
Mariah Carey on the laptop, Saturday night, near Christmas, possibly watching
later, having a lot to read and edit. Greatness is in direct proportion to the permanence of the stain it leaves. The stain of writing: Shakespeare's for example, is indelible, in that it is as permanent as existence itself, as it, as a whole, is a trope for our entire being. Is that the right use of the word? I've never used it before. I've always hated it. Most troubling quote of the year: the thing you're most attached to is the easiest to give up. Say what?
I want to make passionate love to you again and again
. She said,
I'll flirt with you a tad, but doubt seriously anything further.
That is sufficient, absolutely
. To which she'll respond,
Excellent. That is the way I feel it should be
. When we meet, I will regard her as if seeing a nymph on the shore. She will regard me as a guy in her list of friends. Meanwhile, I was reading a story about Ma Barker, the brains of some old time outlaw gang. The strength and benefits of power were intoxicating—but temporary.
Which environment do you spend time in? Lately I've been concentrating my mental peregrinations amongst a smarter set—those who write with a virtuosity I fall short of. On the one hand, I'm a rabid fan and drink up the magic; on the other I see my own efforts in stark relief. I'm not Mozart, that's easy to say. But in my own chosen field—writing—it's downright painful to say, I'm not xxx. I'm not saying I've not had moments—but moments are not volumes. But maybe I false aspire. Are not some of us plodders for great purpose?
Christmas Eve. A time once drenched in magic, and for some—probably the very young—it still is. For me, it's absolutely another day. This year, we've had no Christmas tree, for the first time in memory. That has helped reduce the inundation of the city's oppressive Christmas "cheer." Did anyone in high government see
, that George Clooney movie about the (first) Gulf War that, with technological wizardry, was able to dramatically illustrate the effect bullets have when they go through the human body? We're going to do it again? Can't we just get more intelligent at home?
Ensconced in a luxury shelter, I look out on the milky yellow night, almost opaque, in the slush and cold and wet, lightning and thunder, of our New York Christmas weather. We're all inside, as our comrades in squalid conditions half a world away prepare for war—on both sides. My friendly brother Afghans, my Iraqi lovers, my Palestinian fallen brothers, all prepare—idiotically—to face the American juggernaut, brazen and brash and blonde and young and about to die, some of them, for a purpose none of them knows for sure. British comedies on TV. They're droll, intelligent, different.
Coincidence or telling? After writing about two people—aspects of the same mind?—I took a break from my short story in progress and went to the kitchen to make a bagel and pour some coffee. But all of a sudden I craved bologna and cheese, which I made, mostly ate and quickly discarded (with some distaste) so that I wouldn't put to waste the bagel which was about to pop from the toaster. I then buttered it, poured the coffee, and came back out to the keyboard. It made me frightened about writing about two people. (Unless a coincidence?)
Mike McGoon walked slowly down the path towards Mars. He saw a little buttercup trying to break through the pavement. He reached down—bent down—and picked it up, tore it out of the ground. It smelled sweet. He stuck it in his lapel and kept walking at his normal stride. He passed a fire hydrant and lifted his leg and peed. He bent down and sniffed. Another dog walked by and poked his nose in his ass. Mike turned around and growled. They playfully licked each other. Their masters pulled on their chains. Mike walked dutifully off with his.
Is it never vanquished?--this proclivity to happily agree with conventional wisdom, despite the number of times I've been disabused of same by revelation? Which each time teaches that conventional wisdom, which may now and again intersect with the truth, generally is a safe generalization which always misses the point? One case twenty years ago: bowery bums are drunks, not individuals, men with personalities. Case until today: Eminem's a marginally talented dirty-minded rapper. But he wrote this:
I could snap/ I'm the equivalent of what would happen if bush rapped/ I'm Rollin with a swollen bowlin' ball in my bag.
As the new year draws to a close, looking back, have we taken serious steps to combat terrorism? Well, apparently new regulations are about to go into effect at all US airports to scan each and every piece of baggage going onto the planes. Presumably people are more vigilant. The government is gearing up for a plenitude of additional spying. Some plots will be foiled. More murders, of course, are in the offing. It's a dangerous world. There's no avoiding some trouble. As individuals we can at least go out strong. Be creative, loving. We'll meet and recap in heaven.
Long good day. Beginning of short week. Money troubles, both at home and at the office. Nothing new there. Nothing. But the rent always gets paid, somehow. Except for the homeless.
There are two genders. Imagine if there were three—or four? What would be normal then? The Raelians have announced the cloning of a girl, named Eve. She—they mean to prove—will have the exact same DNA as her mother. Which would mean, presumably she'd look the same in twenty years? But she could act totally differently. So it's just a vanity thing, no? Hey, we're harvesting humans!
Police in Times Square tonight have been given printouts of the latest most wanted guys, five illegals smuggled into the country recently—perhaps from Pakistan—who paid a lot of money, all men 20-30. The smuggler said he usually helped families but that this group was "odd." Well, even in a downpour of war, the odds of survival are always with you, so buck up everybody and enjoy life to the fullest! I will. And if I see any scary-looking potential terrorists, I'll-- What will I do? I guess eavesdrop. And if I hear anything suspicious, call the fucking police.
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