Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, 29 September 1997

On the Train - Minnesota

Two short trains leave each Portland and Seattle at about the same time and meet up in Spokane in the middle of the night to form one long train. The dining car is on the Seattle train, so I guess they might get dinner while the Portland train gets the snack bar/observation car. It used to be that you could smoke in the observation car (though not in your coach seat—even though most trains are old enough to still have ashtrays built into the arm rests—but it's really hard to imagine people smoking in a coach car, in their seats!) Now smoking is completely forbidden on most trains—though on overnight ones, I guess they have provided "smoking lounges." I'm not sure on how many trains, or what they're all like—maybe on some of the fancy Eastern trains that have bars and VIP lounges they now have "cigar bars" with fine cigars, cognac, regional wines, single malt scotch, whatever other once decent things are ruined by idiotic trends.

But not on this western train—no—here our smoking lounge is functional, clinical, even, with absolutely no effort to be nice. Actually, the smoking car wasn't on the Portland section, but on the Seattle section—so between Portland and Spokane they made several "smoking stops"—about five minutes in each place—just about enough time to hot-box  a GPC. The peckerwoods behind me, for awhile, discussed nothing but smoking. "They better have a smoking car on this train," the man said, "because I will smoke." After they exhausted their smoking line of conversation, I didn't hear them talk the whole trip, but for a while it was a hot topic. Smoking has become so unpopular in some circles, yet if you're at certain places like outside a courthouse while the jury take a break, or in the break areas of certain workplaces, you'd think that everyone smokes still. Probably not that many people actually quit—it's just that everyone is supposed to feel  bad about it. And then there are the people who are defiantly proud, who make smoking too much a badge of honor, like alcoholics—people who wear their scarred lungs on the outside of their Hard Rock Cafe sweatshirts.

I checked out the smoking car once they got it hooked on—it was in the downstairs part of a coach car (these are double-decker cars) a rectangular room opposite the bathrooms, and it was very sparse indeed. It looks like the decision making person in charge of designing this smoking lounge was definitely not a smoker and in fact probably despises smoking and smokers. No doubt an ex-smoker. This room has an industrial strength air-conditioner/blower and eight hard plastic seats on each side with nothing else adorning the room except for a big trash can and many, many ash trays. Seeing how the rest of the train is lit very pleasantly, the bright fluorescent lights in the smoking lounge seems to be an extra slap in the face of the smokers. You can imagine what a "smoking lounge" must have looked like in the ancient days of the railroad of yore—a wood lined den with ornate standing ashtrays, marble and brass, plush red comfortable seating, warm lamps and cocktails sipped from crystal. People would be smoking pipes and cigars mostly—it might be smoky—maybe someone would have to crack a window occasionally, or open a rooftop vent—but it would be a fine aroma.

The smoking lounge has a few rules—no standing, you must limit your stay to 15 minutes at a time, and no cigars or pipes. As if the smell of cigars and pipes are going to offend the people who are sucking down the stale fumes of burning shit rolled in paper! No—you want to smoke—you must treat it as the addiction it is—smoke the sanctioned, segmented portion, sitting in the hard seats, directly facing the other smokers, in a room that could be an emergency waiting room or a police station—a prison—a holding area where you sit just prior to interrogation, torture, or execution.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sunday, 28 September 1997

On The Train - Montana

Saying goodbye to Heather on Saturday at the train station, I'm about as sad as I ever was, at least it seems like—I haven't got enough sleep in a long time, and the mounting stress of trying to get everything done I wanted to do before leaving has finally overwhelmed me and left me defeated. I'm starting to think about wanting a normal life again—something that pops into my mind every so often—you know, just work and have a decent place to live and a person you love that you are happy to dedicate yourself to, and maybe kids that are central to your existence. To hell with all this art crap—at the very center of your participation in any kind of "art life" is the realization that it's all an illusion, a lie. You want to trick yourself, saying it's a necessary part of your existence, but as time goes on you see that it's  not—and all the promises it held out like a carrot turn out to be rotten, and whatever solace it has provided in the past can't be repeated as you move forward into the future where you have to reinvent yourself continually anyway—so why not without art as a crutch, a diversion, an empty promise?

Maybe it's because a month seems so long that makes it so sad to leave—even though one knows a month is such a short time. Take the month of September for instance—it's like it was not existent—I got only a fraction of the things done I wanted to get done, and now it's too late. But unlike a short period such as a weekend, when you stand at one end of a month you can't see the other end. Nothing is more scary than the unknown. It seems somehow final, even though we know there is no reason to believe that. There's really very little difference in a month's time, relative to eternity, than the five minutes it takes to go down to the corner store for a pack of cigarettes. You can be hit by the phantom bus, or run into a person who changes your life, anytime, anyplace.

I guess it's so sad because Heather and I always have unresolved issues, and day to day they are easy to push aside, but at the point you aren't going to see each other for a month, these issues loom larger. I feel bad about rushing around for days, totally self-obsessed—and worse that I failed to get done a fraction of what I wanted to get done—and at the same time was not someone nice to be around. I feel guilty because Heather has to go to work today, and nothing seems more depressing than working on a Sunday, in a windowless room, while the person closest to you glides through the Rocky Mountains of Montana. And I feel sad, especially, knowing how much I miss the cats when Heather and I leave for just a couple of days—and missing a person makes you even forget about the cats, but then you don't forget, and it all becomes a lot of missing, and sadness—and I feel like I'm going off to summer camp—away from home for the first time—I haven't felt like this for awhile.

Stupidly, I brought all sad music. I brought ten tapes and a walkman, but I brought almost all unbearably sad music—melancholy, slow, beautiful, and sentimental. The only thing I can bear to listen to is Public Enemy, so I listen to nothing but Public Enemy, and Chuck D. is my friend. The movement of the train always cheers me up, or something. It is certainly therapeutic, this movement. It makes me feel content, while the train is moving, but every time it stops it's unbearable. The endless plants growing in Montana, and the rocks strewn about—and branches, debris—if this was clutter and mess, it would be some job to clean it up. No nation or generation could ever do it. "Your job is to clean up Montana, cut all the weeds and wildly grown vegetation, pick up all the rocks and branches strewn around. The pay is $6.00 an hour, the dress casual, and this job may go on indefinitely."

You can't argue with Montana, and the train moving, and Public Enemy, so I'm starting to feel better—but also because I'm writing, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip, is to write—because I needed to change my relationship to writing. Relationships will always change, whether you do anything about them or not, so it's up to you to take control of things and change them for the better if you want them to be better, because they will necessarily deteriorate if you don't.

My relationship to time has been really sucking lately—as there became more and more things I had to do before leaving and less and less time to do them, time seemed to accelerate, and one could almost imagine it spinning out of control, like falling out of an airplane—as you get close to the ground it approaches increasingly faster, even though you fall at a constant speed. One good thing about the train—maybe the best thing about the train—is how it changes your relationship to time. It slows time down like nothing else. People think about three days on the train as torture—but it's hard to explain to them that three days on the train does not equal three days anywhere else. It's not like the time goes fast or slow—it's like it doesn't exist—even though you're always aware of the time and your location—it becomes meaningless in that it's not connected to time in the world outside the train.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Monday, 11 August 1997 - Thai Deli

Last night I had the weirdest dreams I've ever had EVER, no doubt, no exception! (It's the last time I'll consume, on a single day: artificial Irish cream and white chocolate ice cream, meat and cheese platter leftover from work, beans with chipotle pepper and artichoke, two yerba mate colas, one Golly guarana soda—no wonder!) Actually, the first dreams were totally disturbing and bad, scary and insane—and I can't remember them, and I'm glad. The later dreams were classic sick dreams with unsolvable mathematical-like problems repeating endlessly. It's also the hottest day and night of the year—wonderful weather—but leading to sleep problems, all the same. Anyway, if I never remember these fucking dreams I'll be glad. But knowing they're somewhere in there—in my brain—is disturbing enough. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 July 1997 - Thai Deli

Today I'm forced to admit defeat—the realization that I have total writer's block, or whatever you want to call it. I have no inspiration, and no ideas. No motivation, no anything, just a happy life that will end too soon. All the usual subjects are used up or uninteresting.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

17 July 1997 - The Hurst

Don't forget how significant a day can be when you call in sick in the middle of the week and do out of the ordinary things. I worked in this job over a year without calling in sick. Hurt my toe two days ago—so I'm trying to spend the whole day today in bed with my foot elevated. But I got hungry and thought it might be easier to go to The Hurst than to cook lunch. Don't want to have to wear shoes for too long though. I had my audition for J's movie yesterday. Another brief experience for the annals. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I had any idea what I was doing. The weather is nice and things are growing. Getting all phone calls done today with lying in bed with portable phone. A man and woman are here sitting on the same side of a booth with a whole bottle of wine and wine glasses like this is an elegant French restaurant on Friday night!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

16 July 1997 - Portland, Oregon

The New Crystal Cafe

I woke up in a coma at the beginning of a movie—missed the first scene, but I believe that's all—which I later came to find was the movie Three Lives and Only One Death, a title that means —what the hell?—probably out of whack in translation. A Raul Ruiz film, the first of his I've ever seen, even though he's made like a hundred, it explained to me possibly what happened to me recently. Time has passed, and you turn up somewhere else. It doesn't explain it, actually, but it acknowledges it, and that is helpful, to know that you're not alone. I've come to realize that staying in one place and in one time takes constant, heavy maintenance. You virtually have to remind yourself who you are each day, and this gets worse and worse as you get older. You start to spend all your time reviewing aspects of the past you want to remember. If you don't, you forget—and it gets worse—you have to spend entire days just remembering who you are and where you are and what the date is.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

1 June 1997, Salem, Oregon

It’s now the next morning and I’m at Denny’s for my free breakfast—which comes with the room at the Best Western. It’s a piddly-small eggs and hashbrowns, but I’m not too hungry, and it’s free! Denny’s is its usual busy self. A good counter to sit at. I don’t feel as weird today. I saw on the news that there were tornados in our area—Portland, Vancouver—which is really rare—so perhaps it’s partly the weather that’s making me feel strange. We’ll see.

Friday, August 17, 2012

31 May 1997 - Salem, Oregon

I’m at Burt Lee’s Tahiti Restaurant & Lounge, a classic, if still pretty incredibly weird, place. It’s very old, and worn to the point of point of bordering on dive-y, but incredibly expensive in menu—like the most expensive place I’ve been to in Oregon. It is, however, more or less perfect, from the old carpeting (at least 30 years old), and muffled ukulele ballads, to the thatched ceiling—making a we’re-in-a-hut appearance. But the major exception being overhead TV screens at the bar, which are lottery games, Keno, I think. Also, at each table, along with sugar and salt, is a plastic rack of lottery game shit—some kind of computer-like card—I guess you fill out info, put it in the machine, and pay money, then watch the screen. I’m just guessing, but I don’t care—because it’s so fucked up and ugly, anyway, I don’t want anything to do with it. It’s definitely a crisis—but let’s just say it’s not a social, human, political, economic crisis—we can argue—but one thing I know for sure is that it’s an aesthetic crisis—no arguing about that. But here I am complaining already on the first page of  my new life (well, at least new notebook).

It’s been the incredibly weirdest day ever, really, and I’m almost in a panic, though starting to recover. Starting with a thunderstorm a 5:30 AM (it never thunders and lightings in Portland). Then I drove to Salem in the rain, and it took forever and I was flipping out (too much coffee?)—and I stopped at 2 (two) McDonalds to pee before I got to the hotel—a Best Western by the airport. Overpriced, but nice, and at least a place that looks a little lively—unlike other places on the interstate. There’s 108 rooms and a pool, a spa pool, and two private saunas that you can use, as long as no one else is. So no one was at the pool or spa or saunas, so I went in the sauna, on and off for about an hour, and it was a real nice one, temperature up to 220 degrees (it says) and clean and new (probably unused for the most part) with a shower, too. Pretty unusual facility, I think.

Well, then I watched TV a little, and the first thing I turn on is a movie taking place at a McDonalds. It’s amazing. But I’ve been in McDonalds (two today, in fact) and this is like an idealized, cleaned up version, with human beings as managers, and an old guy being trained by a young guy. Three divorced men are eating Mickey D’s cuisine, talking that movie talk, and it’s that _____________, (horrible TV guy), and Randy Quaid, and… can it be? Mathew Modine. The movie was dated 1995 (called Bye Bye Love) and it’s HORRIBLE and MM is horrible and I think about these actors shooting this horrible stuff, what they must think, must have shot this a couple of years after we shot American Job, and MM was at that American Job screening, he didn’t talk to me, I wonder if it ran through his mind that I might say to him, flat, sarcastic, “I loved Bye Bye Love. Oh my god, this movie…

I’m still at the Tahiti and feeling totally comfortable in spite of flipping out earlier in downtown Salem—which may be the weirdest town I’ve ever been in (or is it just me, today?). I got the feeling I came into the first all space alien settlement—and it may be the case. Anyway, I’m glad I’m in the very muted ukulele mellow dark Burt Lee’s Tahiti—maybe the closest place I’ve seen to the Chinese restaurant in The Apartment—which I’ve wanted to look for in Portland (I mean a place that looks like it) but haven’t found yet. I picked my spot/booth with skill—dark, facing down the length of the bar, but obscuring the Keno monitors. The profile of the bartender, who might be ______________, is amazing, the best thing in Salem yet.  A woman sits at the bar. (Did I hear her say, “I’m forgetting tonight.”?) Totally dressed up, and a giant fishbowl red drink in front of her—with the umbrella, of course. Behind me is a couple, the woman sounds just like the woman who runs the parking garage where I work. She talks all the time. The man, who might be Mexican, doesn’t, but he does ask questions. Finally they leave, and it’s the first time I see them. They look exactly like they sound. My waitress is really nice. The other waitress is extremely weird. Every word that comes out of her mouth sounds badly scripted, like a person with English as a second language, writing from a textbook.

It crosses my mind that at least half of the population (anywhere) is alcoholic—perhaps much more—maybe 90 percent—under the spell of alcoholism in some way. Not drinking is like being an atheist or communist in the All-American, Christian era of Past (which never was, but you know—that mythic time and place). I’ve got to find out some way to live, and not feel like I’m being hunted down at every minute. Now the woman at the bar has a tall orange drink. People at booths disappear from time to time (including George the bartender). Where do they go? To lottery games. Help, we don’t help. TV and parking lots, that was my day so far. May I take a nice swim and watch more TV (something inspiring). Read Faulkner.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, 17 July 1996

I'm at the Stepping Stone diner for breakfast on a rainy, cold day in the middle of summer. I guess reviving this Mauve Decade project has once again failed. I've been working, working, etc., temp job, then off to a film festival, then more working, waiting to hear about American Job's progress and then more working. Waiting, nothing, working, paying off credit cards, a little anyway, only about $15,000 debt left. Only? Anyway, living in Portland, that's the best thing. Got hired at my near permanent temp job. Another law firm. The summer is definitely welcome. Today feels like fall, and that's welcome, too, since it doesn't feel enough like fall here in the fall. Middle of July, 1996. This is a nice diner, too bad it's not in our neighborhood. It's old, and L-shaped, on a corner in a residential neighborhood. Circular fluorescent lights in the ceiling, L-shaped counter. Booths. Good coffee cups—though I've quit drinking coffee, at least for now. Bad music on the bad radio. Why? Why is there so much bad music? Oh, my.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thursday, 1 February 1996

Whoops—here it is Thursday already and I'm in the middle of my account of Sundance week, and I'm hopelessly lost, behind and forgetting everything. I'm an idiot for not writing each day as it went along—I, as much as anyone should know better. I figure I can redeem myself by writing a coherent and artful account of the entire experience—but I'd better include notes here so that I remember a good portion of it. I'll do that…

But first—time for my pen to run out. Does that signify anything, I wonder? Though I do have a fine array of pens—actually, this one sucks too—yeah fuck it—oh no—this one won’t write either—a lot of these pens, they look nice, but when it comes down to writing, forget it!

Maybe it's the cold—nothing will write—its insane—I'm sick of it—maybe it's me—anyway. (Doug just called from Legal NW—my temp agency. I got a job for tomorrow, ending, at least, in my short-term mind, my $ problems. Time problems are ongoing—so what the hell!)

Anyway, I was going to say—that I'm concerned with the very nature of this project—and I have to find a way to make it work, to make it worthwhile for me to write—and for people to read.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday, 28 January 1996

Today is the actual last day here—getting a ride to the airport at 3:30 and flying back tonight. It's kind of sad with everyone gone now and everything all over pretty much. I wish I would have got an earlier flight back, actually. But it's okay—the whole week was hectic and now I'm able to relax a little. Went to two movies yesterday—The White Balloon at 7 pm, and The Bloody Child at 10 am. It was fun going to a movie like The Bloody Child in the morning, since it was somewhat experimental, very disturbing, and the kind of movie that's impossible to see (anywhere but a festival). And it was pretty much nonlinear, but generally ran in reverse chronological order, much like this journal I'm writing.

Okay—the last thing yesterday was going to the closing night party, which was at some racket club in the suburbs—and was really hard to get into. We had like eight people in our group by that time, but only two tickets—so it was another iffy thing, like going to parties all week. We never were sure if we could get in, but we always did. Last night was the worst. There were tons of cops and a very organized system of entry. Tom Wheeler and Doug, who arrived earlier, managed to get in—Tom by ducking behind a curtain which totally surrounded the space. It was like an indoor football field sized space (actually tennis courts) and there was a curtain around the edge. Total chaos, but enough force at the door to keep us from getting in until we got the attention of Trevor, one of the programmers who was really nice to us all week, and he got us in.

Lots of people were exceptionally nice all week, and it was odd contrasted with the inconsiderate and rude behavior you would also see. It was kind of like local rednecks verses the rude Hollywood and New York types. You could see it. But amidst this you'd also see evidence of being nice actually mean something. Being considerate actually meaning something. It was kind of reaffirming all in all.

I saw a waiter at a restaurant YELL at a group of people yesterday. Amazing. The older woman working at the Vietnamese restaurant I'm eating lunch at right now just came up with my check and touched my arm and said, "Take your time." Since I'm sitting here along writing, very nice.

Where was I, though? At the party last night, incredibly crowded, we saw a lot of the people we met who were totally nice and supportive of us. You really kind of got the feeling that people were so happy we made a movie everyone wants to be made but no one has the courage to make. Totally un-commercial and not very happy.

We saw Matt W. again who was from Iowa City, etc. And Steve Bognar, who is from Dayton (and we saw all week), and did a documentary called Personal Belongings. He knows Ed Pittman (from Dayton).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Saturday, 27 January 1996

It's our last full day here, kinda sad, but I'll be glad to go back to Portland tomorrow. Last night was our second and last screening, and it was kind of disappointing in that it wasn’t very crowded—though there were enough people there to make it seem like an audience—but nothing like the first one—but on the other hand, it was a good audience—and I had the best time watching it I had yet. I sat by this guy, Matt, who we met up with earlier in the week, who was a film student in Iowa and now works for acquisitions at Universal or somewhere. I sat in the back, and it looked a little fuzzy to me with my bad eyes, but the color was great and really rich, and the sound was good too. I even noticed things I've never noticed before.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Friday, 26 January 1996

(Rewrite this anemic Sundance crap—even if it’s not true—and add stuff I wouldn’t have known at the time, i.e. Tokyo Fist by director of Tetsuo movies/Iron Man or whatever—a great antidote to the overdose on cream filled pastry horns that was Renee Zellweger.)

It's Friday morning, and I'm drinking coffee in our hotel room at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah. I'll try to go backwards with the bizarre things I can remember over the last few days—at least until I'm interrupted again with some bizarre thing, which I'll perhaps recount at the time. Anyway, I'm becoming afraid I won't get to remember everything, but then I already don't already remember names—I mean I forget them five minutes later. In the movie The Player everyone introduced themselves with first and last names all the time, but very few people have done that to me here. People are all going around with nametags, but I feel stupid squinting and bending to read their nametags. Anyway, that's not the most interesting thing, anyway. The overall feeling I've had is the most striking thing—which I'll try to describe in mere words and no doubt fail miserably.

Last of all, last night we all went to a midnight screening of Tokyo Fist, a new movie by the Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto (whose name I'll look up right now). We went right after The Whole Wide World, which I didn't like very much. At some point in the evening, I realized I forgot to drink my afternoon or evening coffee—which is usually tragic. Not to mention, I've never been able to stay awake for a midnight screening. But this movie was so completely insane, it was impossible to fall asleep. It was easily the most violent movie I've ever seen, but it kind of transcended everything that it was—really fast editing, violence—moving camera, lots of symbolic urban landscape shots, alienating lighting, body piercings—which all, on paper, seem to be lame, but of course there's no way to reproduce the impact of the movie in writing, so why the fuck am I trying? Anyway, I didn't fall asleep.

On our way out to the movies, we discovered that DEVO were in the room off the lobby of the hotel where they were doing on-line interviews (we did one earlier). We started talking to a woman who was watching the kids. It turned out she was the wife of one of the DEVO guys—I think Gerald Casale. Doug and Igor watched her kid (Alex 2) outside while he threw snowballs at cars. She had Chris give her a backrub and told us how she saw a guy from Blue Oyster Cult in the lobby of their hotel who she used to know, and he said something about "bronzing the key" after being with her. Something like that—I'm not sure—anyway, something complimentary and sexist, but she was flattered more than disgusted, I think.

Finally the DEVO guys came out, and Scott had them sign the DEVO video Chris had happened to bring. Finally we went down to the movie, but Alex 2 was still out in the snow, so I played in the snow with him a little until Mark Mothersbaugh came out and took over. Oh, and the other funny thing, this woman, never found out her name, said they had a pet bird, a parrot or something, named Derbis. They had named it when they saw someone on the news talking about debris, but couldn't pronounce it, and pronounced it "Derbis."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thursday, 25 January 1996

I'm really sorry about going 20 days without writing anything, and I will probably regret it later.  It has made me think that this project may be hopeless. It all started with a job I got at a law firm (temp job) soon after I had written the previous entry. Then, I was working full time up to the date of my birthday (January 19). It used to be, when I first started this project in 1989, that I could write entries at work, but now, doing temp work, as I am, I don't think it is as easy. So I don't know. Maybe I'll figure something out. Anyway, it's near the end of January, but then, every year starts out much the same way. January is kind of hectic and goes fast. I'll see if I can't straighten things out here in the next couple of days. Maybe. I have a lot to write about, but right now it's three in the morning or so, and I'm tired.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thursday Night, 4 January 1996

I have to say I feel a little better tonight—or a lot better, really. My job at the law firm went on today—not good, but not bad. I was glad when I got home anyway, and then I had a lot of energy tonight and got a lot done. Writing and mundane things. It's the best I feel, when I get stuff done.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wednesday Night, 3 January 1996

I don't know what is wrong with me—I feel so terrible. Depressed and doomed. I feel suicidal, even, but too lame and tired to really be. It's just what I imagine depression being, if one were to describe it.

Partly it's that I have a temp job tomorrow and so I know I won't be able to do anything for myself from the time I get up until six p.m. or so. But it's a job at a law firm, which are usually the best jobs I get, plus it's supposed to last through next week, so that's really helpful, job-wise. I guess I feel bad because I can't focus on anything, or get anything done—like answering mail or writing. And this job won't help—not at all. The only positive thing about it is if you're already feeling miserable, you may as well be at work.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

2 January 1996

We—Heather, Kathryn, and I—came back to Portland today after visiting Heather's grandmother Louise yesterday. We went to the hot spring at Cougar Reservoir this morning, one of my favorite places in Oregon so far. Tomorrow kind of marks the two year point of Heather and I living in the Northwest—though I guess we got out here a little before Christmas 1993. We moved to Seattle in January 1994, and then to Portland in July '94. I've spent the years of 1994 and 1995 doing office temp work. I feel like I've worked a lot, worked very hard, had some of the worst jobs I've ever had, and had way too little time to work on my own stuff. But money-wise we're worse off than ever, even though we don't spend money extravagantly. But still we have to put most expenses on the credit cards—groceries and car repairs mostly, and now I'm about $14,000 in debt. It's really depressing, all in all, like a real downward spiral. And that's really kind of confusing, as everything else is more or less improving. It's something I just can't figure out, but I don't blame myself, totally. I don't set the wages, and I don't set the prices of things. But then I guess I could be doing something differently, couldn't I?

At any rate, tomorrow I get up and call the temp agencies. I have five now. Then they maybe or maybe not call me back with a job. Where, doing what, I don't know. In the meantime, do I get started working on anything? Do I go out running—something which I'd really like to start doing again? It's hard—I kind of have to stick around for the phone to ring, and it's always to my benefit to have taken a shower, gotten dressed, and eaten breakfast before they call with a job. It's really a horrible way of living, but if I could figure out something else, I would. I feel like the thing that would benefit me the most is to have a schedule I have some control over, or at least somewhat of a set schedule. I look for a regular job from time to time, but I've barely been able to find anything to apply to, let alone get hired. I guess getting up earlier to accomplish a few of these things I've resolved to do for the new year—like exercise, and read, and write—would help—the temp agencies don't call until eight—but I'm too tired in the morning anymore. And then once I do get a job, forget it. It's just the worst—but now I'm really tired, and going to sleep.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Year's Day 1996

Like I was saying before I was interrupted, if there really was a God, wouldn't s/he tell us exactly what art is rather than leaving us to flounder around like a trout? This being, as it were, a way of saying, excuse me, I was just cleaning up after dinner—you know, pulling the bones from between my teeth. I'd like to ease into this, welcome myself back, and let myself off the hook by never saying, "What took you so long?" For someone who can't keep up with the world, I sure harbor a secret belief that I'm running so far ahead. I already have showered and am relaxing by the fire. But really, if I'm going to be silly, I'd like to stick to food issues, since my many agendas seem to be central to the kitchen, which I'll get to later, but just to remind myself ahead of time: things like my solidarity with fish, the international wheat conspiracy, and the religion of alcohol.

Okay. I don't believe in introductions, but to the extent that one may be necessary here, here it goes, as quickly as possible. This is the beginning of the new project; and the continuation of an old one, the old one being called  "The Mauve Decade" which I started in 1990—or 1989, actually—the idea being to write one page a day, and by the end of the century I'd have a 3000 page novel that says, more or less, everything about the state of human existence up to this point. Or maybe it would be just a mildly intriguing diary of a mundane but interesting life. Anyway, it was a journal—and while a page a day turned out to be ambitious, I did have some fairly prolific periods, and hopefully some developing insights—an ongoing learning process, etc. etc. —and a lot of typed pages.

Well, somewhere along the line, I got sidetracked, or disinterested, or just tired, and I stopped writing. Sure I wrote some other stuff—but short stories mostly—for the last several years. Something occurred to me toward the end of 1995—told me I should start this up again. But as I was going along before, I was considering it a work of fiction—changing names  and some of the places as I went along—now, I figured—why bother? I'll just consider it a straight diary—and use real names, and the hell with it. It's more for me than for anyone else anyway.

And as for the time in between? Well, I'm not sure if I'll get around to typing or even locating the first part (it's mostly scribbled on scraps of paper). If I do, and I type it—well, by that time maybe I'll have enough distance on the years between the time I stopped writing and the time I resumed, to write an account of that time. Maybe, maybe not.

Anyway—happy new year.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Welcome to Notebook Journals

This online journal is part of The Sweet Ride magazine (online version-- which is currently the only version). This particular journal is essentially writing from my notebooks, beginning on this date (see date of first entry) and continuing on chronologically, indefinitely. In that sense I guess it's an open-ended memoir, or autobiography. It's all true-- though I can't necessarily vouch for the accuracy and truthfulness of anything in my notebooks!